Archive for September, 2014

“Outlaw” – a new banjo composition

My Gold Tone banjo

My Gold Tone banjo

In some ways, my hometown of Rockland was bigger when I was a kid than it is now, even though it has fives times the population. For one thing, we had a movie theatre. With my brother and one of our cousins, I cleaned up the aisles of the theatre once a week. We weren’t paid but we could have some popcorn and coke while we cleaned up and we were each given a free pass to the movies. We couldn’t have been happier.

At that time (the mid to late 50s), I loved westerns and I still do. The movies were in black and white and everything in them was black and white. Sure, the “good guys” were great (my favourite was Randolph Scott) but the outlaws were larger than life, especially in the hands of artists like Lee Van Cleef and Jack Elam, to name but a few. They were great outlaws.

This new banjo composition also features a new instrument for me – a mandolin. This new virtual instrument, which I play with my MIDI guitar, was created by Dennis Burns of Bolder Sounds of Boulder, Colorado. For more information about their excellent line of products, visit

I hope to write more banjo pieces in the future since my Gold Tone banjo is aging so well. I put a towel in the resonator to make it sound more like the old timers! Enjoy.





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B3 Project – Bill Frisell’s “Throughout”

Bill Frisell’s composition “Throughout”, which he first recorded in 1983, has been revisited several times by its author in the last 30 years, both in the studio and in concert, accompanied by many fine musicians who have contributed to the song’s alluring character. It is, in my opinion, Frisell’s most soulful and spiritual composition. Its progression of diminished, major, minor and half-diminished chords is the perfect conduit for Frisell’s inspired playing which, over the years, has lifted “Throughout” to the status of a veritable jazz aria.

My version of the piece was recorded in the classic B3 trio set-up (guitar, B3 organ, drums) using my Fender Stratocaster 40th Anniversary Edition electric guitar and my Z6S MIDI guitar for the organ and percussion parts. Various influences inevitably surface in my playing and some of the organ makes me think of Procul Harum, one of my favourite bands of the 60s. I also winked at my brother Gabriel by changing Frisell’s tempo of 90 bpm (beats per minute) down to 88 bpm (Gabi played the piano, which has 88 keys).

All this music that is in me would never have been without Gabi, who took the time to teach me about

Stratocaster and Z6S

Stratocaster and Z6S

the marvelous music of the 50s, in spite of our age difference of 14 years. Thanks to him, music has defined my life and given me a sense of purpose – it is evident that I would not be who I am if Gabi had not intervened when I was 6 years old. He was a wonderful brother. This recording is dedicated to him – he has been with me “throughout.”

Like all the pieces in my B3 project, “Throughout” should be played LOUD.









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