Album: Dedication

Download or stream at Bandcamp.com

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Released December 2010, my third album returns to the eclectic jazz roots of  the debut “Everlasting, Wonderful, Immanuel“, in contrast with the vocally-oriented “Elyon’s Worship Instrument“. The almost entirely instrumental “Dedication” features electric wind instrument (EWI) in many guises as well as recorders, harmonicas, and a myriad of software-based instrumentation to produce a rich and varied collection. Among the 15 tracks, you’ll find smooth jazz, funk, blues, ballads, latin, and more, for an eclectic mix of over 70 minutes of music.

This album has been two years in the making, with several of the songs among the first I produced on my own but passed over for the first two albums. Over half the album consists of songs dedicated to members of my family, hence the title. And even though this collection of instrumentals is not ‘church music’ like the last album, as with all my projects, it is dedicated to the Living God, Jesus Christ.

Liner Notes/Technical Details

  1. Robust Powerhouse
  2. You Are The Music
  3. Tough-n-Tender – to Lisa
  4. Like A Pearl – to Greta
  5. Hazelnut – to Evelyn
  6. Lullabye – to Vincent
  7. Ain’t no Woman – to Lisa
  8. Blues for Poppy – to Dad
  9. Song for Mimi – to Mom
  10. Unk’s Funk – to Craig
  11. Cristo Redentor
  12. He Is Here
  13. Y Oui
    Bonus Tracks:
  14. Native American Blues
  15. R.P.RC-2

Credits


Robust Powerhouse

Liner Notes:
I forget exactly where the title of this tune came from – probably a coffee commercial 🙂 – but I just like the sound of it. Thinking about what kind of song would match the title, I have to quote James Brown, “It’s got to be funky!”
 Technical Details:
Arrangement-wise, this is fairly standard funky fare, mostly ii-V7 alternating with I7#9-V7, but there are a lot extensions and substitutions thrown in. The structure is AABA, but the B is only 4 bars making for a 28-bar chorus. The bridge section leading to the key change sounds fairly different but mostly just has a lot of tritone substituions for the chords in the main progression. The writing on this was a little unusual in that it all kind of grew up together. Usually I’ll have a melody in mind and fit chords to it, but with this one, the harmony, melody, and chords pieced themselves together a little at a time.Instrumentation-wise, we’re also pretty close to funk territory with Rhodes piano, clavinet, and a couple of organs holding down the keyboard end of things while the guitars are understated electrics and an acoustic in one spot. The rhythm section consists of thumb and finger electric bass with a souped-up “disco” drum kit. The leads are muted trumpet and trombone from Patchman’s Nanosynth soundbank along with Bernie Kenerson’s OloSolo from his EWI Thor Refill Vol. 1.
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You Are The Music

Liner Notes:
This is the second Gerry Niewood song I’ve recorded (see Joy on my first album). This one is from his 1985 release Share My Dream. That expresses my desire as well so we’ll just dedicate this one to Gerry.
Technical Details:
This production involved some compromises from the original. First of all, I was unable to get Band-in-a-Box to get the right timing for the triplet chords connecting a lot of sections (C-C#-D) so I usually cut out either the C or the C#. I was able to get the intro “right” by doubling the tempo of a slow swing-8 style to get the swing-16 feel I was after there. Second, this is the first complete song I have transcribed on my own and I discovered that I simply couldn’t play some of the parts, especially the bass/keys in the intro. So I threw that out and did my own “EWI quartet” for the intro.Instrumentation-wise, I think I got some good sounds in this one. The “EWI quartet intro is all Patchman#52 “Arpy”. The main lead is Patchman #36 “EWV2000” making a passable substitute for Gerry’s soprano sax here. The solos are Patchman #54 “Funky Lead”, Patchman #89 Pillow Talk, and a breath-controlled marimba patch I worked up in Reason with the aid of Sonic Reality’s Ethnic Instruments refill. For the backing instruments, I kept electric piano as the backbone, but added some guitars, pads, and even marimba and steel drum in the middle “break down” section which is the same chord progression as the intro, just stretched out for a modal, mellow groove. I decided to stick the second intro section in the middle instead of fading out to it at the end. Just artistic license.
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Tough-n-Tender

Liner Notes:
This song is in honor of my wife Lisa. Being a home school mom and a special needs mom, she is tough as nails, but she also has a sweet, tender side. I have attempted to capture both in the interplay of tough and tender elements of this song.
Technical Details:
Of course the primary “tough” part is the punchy bass line and drums, but also the EWI guitars toward the end. “Tender” elements include EWI flute and muted trumpet and electric piano. The EWI parts are all from the internal synth, Patchman’s #6 Flute, #19 Cello, #86 Tigress, and #54 Funky Lead; also my own muted trumpet patch. The guitars are #86 and #54 passed through different incarnations of Line 6’s amp simulator in Propellerhead Record.
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Like A Pearl

Liner Notes:
This song is dedicated to my daughter Greta, whose name means “like a pearl”. A pearl is rare, precious, and in a sense is formed from adversity. Greta has had her share of medical adversity in recent years but is forming into a rare and precious young woman.
Technical Details:
I know ocean sounds are pretty cliched, and I usually try to avoid cliches like the plague (wait for it), but it just seemed appropriate when we’re talking about pearls. This ocean was done with Reason’s Subtractor synth with the “seagulls” part of the same patch. Overall, this tune has a lot more “electronica” elements than usual for me, using Maelstrom bass lines, several synth pads, and textural elements like vibes, marimba, and “boops” scattered here and there. The drums and guitar are acoustic and the piano is electric. The EWI sounds are all internal patches: Patchman’s #9 Ambient Recorder, Gary Zydek’s “soprano flute”, Patchman #2 Flugelhorn, and my own “Talkbox”.
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Hazelnut

Liner Notes:
This song is dedicated to my daughter Evelyn, whose name means “hazelnut” in all the baby books. Not sure why but you can look it up if you don’t believe me. Compared to regular old peanuts, hazelnuts are kind of surprising, exotic even, like the song and its namesake.
Technical Details:
This song has the same basic form (AABAC) as Joy Everlasting, Wonderful, Immanuel but I wrote it almost 6 months before discovering “Joy”. It’s a little unusual in that each section is 11 bars long, except for the ending “tag” section which is 20 bars. The Band-in-a-Box style is described as “latin funk” which describes the chords pretty well too. I had to edit the drum track a good bit to make it less overbearing (middle percussion solo notwithstanding 🙂 ). There are quite a few EWI tracks in this one. In order of appearance, they are muted trumpet (using Reason’s NN-XT), GZ’s “soprano flute”, Patchman #1 “Matt EVI4000s”, muted trumpet again, guitar courtesy of Patchman’s #86 “Tigress” (and judicious Reaper effects), more muted trumpet, trombone courtesy of Gary Zydek’s “Airy Tenor”, more guitar, Patchman’s #8 “Recorder” (in an extended role), and finally guitar and Patchman #1 together for the ending section. The backing features 3 different guitars, custom percussion programming, and a subdued Wurly piano.
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Lullabye

Liner Notes:
This song is dedicated to my son Vincent who contributed the “sleepy time sounds” in the intro and outro (he was 7 at the time). The melody is from a German music box my parents gave me as a child. I do not know the origin of this melody, but I would love to find out.
Technical Details:
I had not heard the music box for a number of years before rediscovering it at my parent’s house a few years ago. It was like that moment in Ratatouille where the man is instantly transported back across the years with a shocked looked on his face as he thinks “I can’t believe I forgot that.” This song was one of the first productions I did with Propellerhead Reason, going back to December 2008. For this version, I pulled everything into Propellerhead Record where all the tracks were completely remixed and mastered, but I kept the parts as originally recorded/programmed. The vocal recording was pretty poor but a moment you can’t recreate, so I’ve used the sounds despite the remaining noisiness.Instrumentation-wise, the intro is intended to invoke those kiddie xylophones, but is a Reason glockenspiel patch. All the lead instruments are Reason instruments played with the EWI, going from a clarinet-like Subtractor patch, a tenor sax-like patch also from Subtractor (and aided by Record’s EQ), muted trumpet then flute from NN-XT, back to muted trumpet, and finally flute and clarinet together with Vinnie for the outro. Also worth noting is that the drums, for good or ill, are completely pattern-based in Redrum and programmed from scratch.
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Ain’t no Woman

Liner Notes:
This song is also in honor of my wife Lisa. I presented this song and the previous three as a Valentine’s Day present to my family in 2009. (I think they liked the candy better. 🙂 )
Technical Details:
I was going for kind of a medieval feel with the recorder quartet (soprano, alto, tenor, and “fake bass” – alto pitch-shifted down an octave), harpsichord, and monk-ish vocal parts. The “bass” line is a bowed cello patch. The recorders were recorded and mixed down in Reaper before pulling into the Record project as “samples”. (This project was started long before Record came out, so I probably would approach it differently starting from scratch now.) More modern elements include the normal drum kit as well as three percussion loops. The EWI lead is Patchman #7 Oboe.
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Blues for Poppy

Liner Notes:
This one is in honor of my dad. Pop has had some blues in his life, but through it all, he has persevered and in the end, there is hope and peace, just as the song ends on a happier chord.
Technical Details:
This is a minor blues, but the head is not your typical 12-bar blues, focusing more on v7 and V7alt in addition to the i7 tonic – not a iv chord in sight. For the solos (after the first solo, which uses the head progression0, I reverted to more typical 12-bar minor blues progressions, with slightly different chords each time. Then back to the head to close out the song.The solo instruments are harmonica (low octave Eb chromatic at the start, low D diatonic at the end with EWItar), “EWItar” courtesy of Bernie Kenerson’s “EWI Bread Lead” from his 80 Combinators Refill for Reason, and my own EWI organ patch.
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Song for Mimi

Liner Notes:
This song is presented as a relaxing tune for my mom, who has had to persevere through many medical issues in recent years.
Technical Details:
The melody came to me driving home from a business trip. I sang it into my cell phone and then had to figure it out again a few days later. I had to play with the chords until I got a progression that fit well and provided the right mood. The chorus form is AABB with a 2-bar turnaround (34 bar total) and it is played through only 3 times before the ending section.Like several other of these “early” songs, I started the production in Reaper and moved to Record. Instrumentation was kept fairly light with drums, acoustic bass, and acoustic guitar forming the foundation with electric Rhodes piano, strings/pads, and clean electric guitar coming in later. There are two EWI parts, Gary Zydek’s “Airy Tenor” and Patchman #2 Flugelhorn. I really like the interplay between the two horns in the last chorus and ending.
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Unk’s Funk

Liner Notes:
This is a funky-bluesy little tune that (like the last one) came to me one afternoon during a long drive back from a business trip. It is named in honor of my brother Craig whom my girls used to call “Unk” when they were little.
Technical Details:
Structure-wise, this tune starts as a straight-up 12-bar blues for the first two choruses before later choruses start delving deeper and deeper into the chord substitution bag. But it stays 12-bar choruses right up to the ending. Instrumentation employs a punchy bass throughout and liberal use of extra percussion including guiro, clave, congas, and cabasa. The pianos are both electric (Wurly and Rhodes), the guitars understated (jazz electric), with a Hammond organ for one chorus. The “strings” patch is a General Midi ocarina patch that works well in the mix here even though it sounds pretty cheesy by itself.For solo instruments, the primary EWI patches are appropriately titled “Funk Lead” ( Patchman #49) and “Funky Lead” (Patchman #54). #54 gets the melody work while #49 gets more solo work. The middle chorusus are “Matt EVI4000s” (Patchman #1). The bass and organ solos are also EWI. The bass is Patchman “Pop Bass” patch for the Nanosynth, the organ was slightly adapted from Bernie Kenerson’s EWI Thor Refill Vol. 1.
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Cristo Redentor

Liner Notes:
This classic Duke Pearson tune has been done a zillion times probably most famously by Donald Byrd originally and more recently by Charlie Musselwhite. I can’t say that I’ve improved on the trumpet or harp work by those giants, but I’d be surprised if there’s another version using the theremin so that ought to count for something. 😉
Technical Details:
I ended up mostly following the Donald Byrd arrangement with the alternating C and G tonalities – very cool that the same melody fits so well over two fairly different chord sequences. I used a total of 6 Band-in-a-Box styles and a total of 10 instruments for the backing to go along with Eb chromatic harmonica (Hohner 270) and 4 EWI tracks providing the leads. The EWI patches include Gary Zydek’s “Airy Tenor” and Tigress ( Patchman #86) as well as two Reason patches: my own muted trumpet patch and Bernie Kenerson’s Theremin from his EWI Thor Refill Vol. 1.
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He Is Here

Liner Notes:
A special thanks to Kirk Talley who granted permission to use this song free of charge.

Lyrics:
He is here, hallelujah
He is here, amen
He is here, hallelujah
Hear Him calling out your name

He is here, hallelujah
He is here, amen
He is here, hallelujah
You will never be the same.

Technical Details:
This arrangement starts very slowly but gains speed as it goes, with the final somewhat funky chorus almost twice as fast as the “orchestral” intro. The intro uses 4 different string patches from Reason‘s Orkester soundbank in addition to the somewhat stringy Patchman #66 “Square Lead” melody. The second chorus uses Patchman#56 “Michael Lead” on top of bass/drum/pad backing. The third chorus uses the Akai factory “Edgy Pulse” lead on top of bass/drums/piano/clav backing; this chorus also uses one of Bob Norton’s Expanded Band-in-a-Box styles. The fourth section, more of a semi-modal section than a chorus, adds muted guitar and bell pad to the mix and uses Patchman#48 “Funky Balls” for the lead. The next section provides a little break with trumpet/flugelhorn (Patchman #3/#2) backing baritone/”alto” vocals. I put “alto” in quotes as it is really just me pitch-shifted with Record‘s new Neptune effect. I think it more-or-less works in the mix like this. Finally, the last chorus repeats the melody using Patchman#78 “Mintzer Lead” (two of them for the very last lick) and bringing back the clav from Reason’s ElectroMechanical Refill.
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Y Oui

Liner Notes:
I admit the concept of this one is a little “out there”. The concept is to combine Spanish/Latin and French influences. The title, simply a phonetic variation of “EWI”, combines the Spanish word “Y” and French word “Oui”, giving the literal translation “And Yes”. (Is that “Spanench” or “Frenish”?) French musical influences include the pervasive accordion and my take on the bombarde for the melody. The melody is a traditional French “sea shanty” called “Dans le Port Il Est Arrive” that I just liked the tune of. As the choruses progress, more and more “Spanish” (OK, more like “Latin”) influences are added in the form of styling, percussion, and instrumentation. The final style claims to come from the French West Indies – the perfect blend.
Technical Details:
The arrangement is 5 sets of 3 choruses each (it’s a very short tune) slowly building in complexity and intensity. The lead instruments transition from French to Latin, starting with my design on the bombarde. Since the bombarde is a buzzy double-reeded instrument, I started with a Reason oboe patch and sent it through distortion and reverb effects to get a semblance of the proper buzz. After that, the instruments are French recorder “flute a bec” (actually based on a fife patch in Reason), French horn from the Nanosynth (yes, I know it’s not exactly French but work with me here, eh?), and Nanosynth trumpet (Patchman #1) before returning with the bombarde for the very last chorus. As mentioned, various Latin percussion instruments are added along the way until the last chorus where it’s “everybody into the pool” with flexatone, clave, guiro, timbal, cowbell, and congas in addition to horn/trumpet/bombarde – bomba(rda)stic!
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Native American Blues

Liner Notes:
This song is mostly the melody to ‘Blues for Poppy’ but performed solo on a Native American flute. The blues are universal.
Technical Details:
Not many secrets here: simply NAF solo with added reverb.
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R.P.RC-2

Liner Notes:
No, this isn’t some obscure “Star Wars” droid extra. This is a live looped version of Robust Powerhouse done through the Boss RC-2 loop pedal. This was recorded live in a single take with a total of 9 EWI instruments; the drum loop comes from the RC-2.
Technical Details:
The entire track is a single 8-bar loop, although the first and last halves are almost identical so it’s practically a 4-bar loop. While the RC-2 provides for storage of multiple loop phrases, I couldn’t smoothly switch between them “on the fly”, so I opted for the single-loop format to see how far I could push the “live looping” concept. The drum is guide track “Funk 1” from the RC-2. The EWI patches are mostly from Patchman. In order of appearance, they are #100 Moog Bass 1001, #2 Flugelhorn (played low,more like a trombone), #3 Trumpet, #72 Arpy Lead, #89 Pillow Talk (as a “lead” so not added to the overdubbed loop), my own “Power Chords” patch (not well named as it’s really root+4th), #83 Fagen Lead (as a lead), #76 Take The Fifth (this really is a “power chord” being root+5th), and finally #86 Tigress (as a lead). At the end, 6 patches have been overdubbed before the final Tigress solo. The processing for the track was kept minimal with minor EQ tweaks, buss compression from Record’s main mix compressor, and some pseudo-stereo effect to add a little sparkle to the mono signal coming out of the RC-2. That’s it. No reverbs or delays except the ones in the EWI patches themselves. Probably just as well as by the end, the track is pretty darn busy without them. One other note: I broke one of my two cardinal rules with this track: no fadeouts. (Can you guess the other cardinal rule? I’ll give you a hint: it has to do with percussion.)
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Credits

A special thank you to the following individuals for allowing me to use their work:

CD Artwork

Songwriters

  • 2. You Are The Music – Gerry Niewood
  • 7. Ain’t No Woman – Dennis Lambert/Brian Potter
  • 11. Cristo Redentor – Duke Pearson
  • 12. He Is Here – Kirk Talley