April 8th, 2013Happy New Year!

Welcome back!

2012 was one of the busy years (that didn't require any extensive traveling) that I've ever had and 2013 is already trying to keep up the same pace!

January basically kept things going with my regular gigs and a few other sessions and one-off gigs (including up-and-comers guitarist Sasha Kashperko and saxophonist Rafael Statin AND I did a rare DJ-ing gig with a local legend!).

February bumped things up a notch with 2 great shows at the DIA (with Trio Nomadian and Pam Wise), a performance with Talib Kweli at Dilla Day, a Valentine's Day performance with singer/songwriter Gordon Chambers and a show with one of my oldest rhythm section buddies, Keith "Bubby" Webb.

March brought more of my regular gigs and a few special events, including a wrapping up a "Winter Tour" with my buddy and amazing guitarist Kris Kurzawa's Trio. Also of note was a GREAT show at the La Fille Gallery in Lansing with the B. Williams Experiment. MAN!

Regular gigs include:
Tuesdays w/ Dennis Coffey at Northern Lights Lounge
(most) Thursdays w/ bWx at Baker's Keyboard Lounge
1st & 2nd Fridays w/ Trio Nomadian & bWx (respectively) at Motor City Wine

Lots more in the works for the summer and beyond. Stay tuned!

Be Good,

December 21st, 2012Happy Birfday!!!

Wow! It's hard to believe that it's been 7 years since I started this site! Time flies! But when I think about the tours, gigs, friends, life changes and everything else that has taken place since 2005, it all gains perspective...

That said, I won't make this a true update. I'll just say "Thank You" for hanging with me and occasionally visiting this site.

Until next time...

Be Good,

October 24th, 2012Happy New Year!

And now, my first up-to-date update in a few years!

First off, sorry for my delay in getting this LATEST NEWS section up and running again (it's become quite the apropos title for this part of my website). I've been expanding my social media empire (as it were) and I've pretty much been busy getting that set up and trying to keep the GIGS, LISTEN & BIO sections current here. I also started a blog that you can check out in the LINKS section. Oh, and gigging. Lots and LOTS of gigging.

Because of all this, I'm gonna try to deal with less detail than I've been doing the past few years in order to keep this post short and/or sweet. Here goes:

I recorded new CDs with Inohs Sivad, Wendell Harrison and La Shaun phoenix Moore. We wrote and recorded these projects in pretty short order and I stretched myself in songwriting techniques (phoenix) and returning to writing string arrangements (Inohs). Nothing like having an impending deadline staring you in the face to bring out the best in your subconscious. Thanks to John Shetler for getting behind Wendell's project in a huge way. I think it's his best work in years!

Played a few songs for Demetrius "Krayon" Nabors' debut CD AND his senior recital at the University of Michigan.

Was nominated for 2 2011 Detroit Music Awards

Subbed with some great bands, including Bugs Beddow, Big Will & 360 and Zap Toro amongst others.

Also had a blast playing with the Globabl Jazz Project and Brad McNett for the first time.

Lost Friends: Johnnie Bassett, Greg Dokes, Quintin Baxter

CDs Released in 2011: Inohs Sivad: No Goodbyes, La Shaun phoenix Moore: Space Between The Rain, Kelvin Sholar: Between Worlds, Dennis Coffey: s/t, Wendell Harrison: It's About Damn Time!, Demetrius Krayon Nabors: A Journey Within Pt. 1

Was nominated for 2 individual and 2 group Detroit Music Awards. Managed to actually WIN the 2012 DMA for Outstanding Jazz Instrumentalist (tied with my friend and amazing keyboardist Phil(harmonic) Hale)!

Regular gigs include Tuesdays at Northern Lights Lounge with Dennis Coffey (good to be back!), Wednesdays at MotorCity Wine with The FunHouse, Thursdays at Baker's Keyboard Lounge with the B. Williams Experiment (You Already Know What It Is!), 1st Fridays at MCW with Trio Nomadian (or a band of my choosing) and 2nd Fridays at MCW with the BWExp (YAKWII).

Reading: Decoded- Jay-Z
America The Edible- Adam Richman

Re-reading: American Gods - Neil Gaiman
The Deathly Hallows - JK Rowling

Listening to: Tons of Tom-Tom 84 (Thomas Washington), Charles Stepney, Claire Fischer, Gil Evans, Jerry Hey, Dave Grusin, Jeremy Lubbock, George DelBarrio, David Foster, Jerry Peters, Quincy Jones, Johnny Mandel, Charles Fox, Benjamin Wright, Paul Riser and lots of other arrangers i grew up hearing...

Watching: Thor
X-Men: First Class
Super 8
Fame (1980)
Batman Begins
The Dark Knight
Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol
The Adventures Of TinTin
The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo
The Five Year Engagement
The Cabin In The Woods
The Avengers
The Amazing Spider-Man
The Dark Knight Rises

That's pretty much it up until now. I'll probably check in again after the (hopefully busy) autumn season. Until then...

Be Good,

December 21st, 2011Happy Birfday!!!

Welcome one and all to my birthday, the 6th anniversary of this website and the 20th anniversary of me picking up the bass guitar! I truly wanted to have some more content updated for you guys but I've had a bunch of Birfday gigs and gatherings this week and not a lot of time to work on the site. Check back around the beginning of the year for a more up-to-date update! As always, thanks for visiting and don't forget to visit the SURVEY section and vote for the interlude you'd like you hear as a full length tune!

Be Good,

December 14th, 2011Update! (V 1.4)

Welcome back, all! I'm still playing catch up with the updates but I'm almost there now! In the meantime:

I now have LINKS to my Facebook, Twitter and SoundCloud accounts so you can find some different things there. There are lots of links to YouTube clips of me playing in the SHOWCASE section of the website. I've also added/rotated some new(ish) clips of songs that I'd like your feedback on. Check out the SURVEY section of the website and vote to your heart's content!

On with the update...

Summer/Autumn 2010

Summer with DHB: Did a TON of playing with the Dave Hamilton Band over the summer and autumn, mostly at the Hamlin Pubs and in a duo format (with me on bass and keys) at Partridge Creek Mall. Too much fun to recount here... =)

Arts Beats & Eats with Pam Wise and Inohs Sivad: I pulled a double bill (for the second year in a row, no less) I was fortunate enough to play with these ladies, both of whom I've had a long and fruitful musical relationship (about 5 or 6 CD between both of them). Both sets were great but it took a while to get used to the new digs in Royal Oak (the parking situation alone is headache-inducing). Maybe we'll be back next year... =)

Return engagement at the Heritage Festival in Lexington, KY with Brian O'Neal: Two years after our unceremonious "performance" at this festival (we were rained out, remember?), Brian O'Neal and friends returned to Lexington to try it again. The weather held out and the crowd, who only really heard us at soundcheck the previous visit, were amazing. It was worth the wait to finally play there (though I was the only holdover from the band that was there in '08) and I'm looking forward to returning...

Recording with Dennis Coffey: I cut a song for Dennis coffee's first CD in years. We did a cover of Funkadelic's I Bet You (Dennis played on the original session) and my buddy Nate Winn played drums on the session. We had a blast at Rust Belt Studios and I'm glad to be able to continue my association with Dennis...

I also was lucky enough to sub in some amazing bands around this time. Thanks to Bobby Murray, The Groove Council and Mainstreet Soul for trusting me with their music. I learned a lot from the relative small amount of time I shared the bandstand with you cats!

Regular gigs around this time included Wednesdays and Thursday at Alvin's with Skeeto's FunHouse and the Kris Kurzawa Trio, respectively, and most weekends were tied up with the DHB. Trio Nomadian made occasional appearances on Tuesdays at the Cadieux Cafe and I hosted the Soul-Jazz Sundays jam at the Cadieux every once in a while. Unfortunately, Alvin's shut down around the beginning of September. The FunHouse found a new home (and new friends) at MotorCity Wine. Mark and Dave (and Melissa) have been ever so gracious with their time, space and efforts with our many events and we're glad to have taken up residency at MCW!

Cooking Confidential- Anthony Bourdain
Medium Raw- Anthony Bourdain
Broken Music- Sting
The Five People You Meat In Heaven- Mitch Albom
Q On Producing- Quincy Jones (easily the most inspirational book concerning making music that I've read in a LONG time)

Well, that's about it for this edition. I'm hoping to have another update next week in time for my birthday, even if it's just a short one. Until then, thanks again for visiting!

Be Good,

March 22nd, 2011Update! (V 1.3)


(The first two items in this update really belong in the last one but I think it was getting too wordy...)

Winter/Spring '10:

In mid-October ('09) I went out on a 1-and-a-half week European tour with accomplished pianist/composer/arranger/producer/label exec Bob James. Armed with a killer band (Dave McMurray on saxes & flute, Ken Scott on drums) and engineer/tour manager/doctor/nice guy Ken Freeman, we had a blast playing in Istanbul, Turkey (my first trip there), Munich, Cologne & Minden Germany (my first time in those cities) and Vienna, Austria (it does, indeed, wait for you). Bob was blazing on the gigs, belying all of the so-called "smooth jazz" connotations usually associated with him and his music. Thanks to Aytek Sermet for all of his help and to Guher and Suher Pekinel for the use of their yacht (yes, YACHT!) in Turkey. Thanks to Busy, Laura & Rupa for their help, hospitality and HEART in Koln und Minden. And thanks to Bob and the cats for making this one of the BEST tours I've ever been on. Great music, audiences, food, stories all around...

Following the trend for the past few years, I had the pleasure of sharing the stage with the lovely Ms. Jean Carne. This time, it was a mid-December ('09) evening in St Louis. I drove the guys in the band (Greg Dokes & Kevin Crosby on keys & newcomer to Jean's band Derrick Sorrell who was on loan from Ne-Yo's band) from Detroit to St. Louis. That was a long drive made easy by a) good music and b) great conversation. We played a decent soundcheck (which also served as our only rehearsal with Jean) and relaxed before the opening act/local band went up. We played a smashing set with Jean and I catch the first few songs of Najee's set before heading back to the hotel (I was WAY tired by then). We catch a quick bite at the Waffle House before turning in. My only regret is that I didn't really get a chance to check out St. Louie. Hopefully next time...

Detroit Music Award Nomination: I was honored (as well as shocked and surprised) to be nominated for a Detroit Music Award this year in the Outstanding Jazz Instrumentalist category. Though I didn't win (Congrats to saxophonist Keith Kaminski), I had a great time hanging with my Detroit-area peers (and heroes)!

While this season was slow concerning gigs, I spent a TON of time in the studio working on songs for/with Inohs Sivad and LaShaun phoenix Moore AND a few songs for my debut CD (more on that on a later update). Lots of great music, wine, laughs and conversations took place during these chilly months (and the warmer ones that followed) between us and the rest of the SoundThought fam (including Chris, Scott, Tony, Walt, Kesha, Alicia, Jeff, Andi, et al). More to come...

Around this time I was still playing Sundays in Pontiac with Back II Back and I began playing Wednesdays at the newly renovated (and short-lived. More on that later) Alvin's near Wayne State Uni's campus with drummer Skeeto Valdez and his FunHouse. What started out as a variation/continuation of the jam at the Cornerstone Tavern quickly took on a life and personality of it's own. I'll be posting some pictures from that gig (courtesy of photogs Ingo Rautenberg and Marty Ricard) soon.

Listening to: A lot of Hall & Oates (gasp!)
Watching: Big Night, Shutter Island, 500 Days Of Summer, Inglorious Basterds
Reading: Julie & Julia - Julie Powell
Sandman - Neil Gaimen

And NOW You're caught up on what I was doing about this time last year. Here's hoping I'll be totally caught up with everything by the beginning of the summer, including the web-based exclusive content I've been working on/talking about! Until then...

Be Good,

January 25th, 2011Happy Birthday!

Welcome back to the website, my birthday, a new year and the 5th anniversary of damonwarmack.com!

Now for another update...

Summer/Autumn '09:

Our band Trio Nomadian and our friend/co-defendant Pat Seymour were invited to play the annual Jazzin' On Jefferson festival on Detroit's Eastside. We were all set to do a crowd-pleasing mix of originals and a few standards before a bout of food poisoning took me out about halfway through out 75 minute set. I'm thankful we got the chance to redeem ourselves the following night at the Cadieux Cafe. Special thanks goes to RJ Spangler for setting up the gig(s), Nate/Demetrius/Pat for their show-must-go-on acumen and to the on-set Red Cross workers who took care of me!

JoVia Armstong, a talented percussionist/songwriter/producer I met many moons ago when she was under the tutulage of our mutual mentor Fransisco Mora at Michigan State University, asked me and a few other Detroit-based musicians to play for her CD release in her current home base of Chicago. The Chicago/Detroit mix of musicians, along with JoVia eclectic tunesmithing, made for a memorable night of music. Jo had been sick the whole time but the show elevated her to a great performance. Here's hoping she brings the show to Detroit...

I spent 2 weeks zigzagging across Italy in July 2009 with the Thornetta Davis Band (I referred to it as the "Lacing The Boot Tour"). The people and (Oh. My. God.) the food were unbelievable, the gigs (mostly in small but beautiful towns/islands) went really well and the band (including Ric Beamon, Mike Smith and Phil Hale) made some of those LONG road trips enjoyable. Many thanks to Massimo and Stefano for setting things up and keeping us rolling!

For the first time in a few years, I played the Detroit Jazz Festival with none other than Motown's own, Dennis Coffey. By this point, I'd been playing with Dennis off and on for about 3 or 4 years but he STILL managed to throw the band a few curve balls over the course of his hourlong set. He called a few Motown songs that I'd never, ever played with him before! Yikes! Good thing I knew all of them! We finished right at the 60 minute mark but we hadn't played "Scorpio", which is his signature song. The stage manager comes out and, on the microphone, actually requests the song for an encore (which almost NEVER happens at festivals). Dennis nods "yes" whilst I silently scream in my head "NO!!!" because I have to play at another festival and things were timed perfectly. I tell Dennis (in the middle of the bass solo, no less) that I have another gig to get to and he graciously cut the song short for my sake. After a quick bow, I pack up my gear, jump in my car...

... and I zoomed up I-75 (obeying the posted speed limit, of course)! I made really good time but, alas, the parking situation caused me to miss the first 10 minutes of Inhos Sivad's set (including one of our favorite songs, Never Known). In short order, I stepped up, plugged in and we killed the rest of the set (and they were doing great before I showed up!). While the rest of the band broke down (and we took a few pictures) I stayed put so I get ready to play with the Pamela Wise Trio. Though the style of music was different from the previous set, we still rocked the crowd and had a great time! I even had enough time to grab a bite before heading around the corner to my regular Sunday gig with Back 2 Back! Whew!!!

Around this time I was playing Sundays at the Mill Street Grille in Pontiac with Back II Back (featuring Gwen Foxx & Greg Dokes) and I ended my 3 1/2 year run with the John Douglas Quartet at Bert's Marketplace on Friday nights. I had great time playing with a LOT of great musicians and I wish the cats the best.

Some of the things I was reading around then:
Born Standing Up- Steve Martin
Shopgirl- Steve Martin
American Gods- Neil Gaiman
Stuff White People Like- Christian Lander
Oh, Me Of Little Faith- Lewis Black
Coraline- Neil Gaiman

I'm still working on some new content for the website, including the next update, so stay tuned!

Be Good,

November 24th, 2010Update! (V 1.1)

Once again recapping some recent events...

Winter/Spring '09:

In addition to the great regular gigs I had at the Cornerstone Tavern (Wednesdays with Jerome Clark) and Bert's Marketplace (Fridays with John Douglas) these were a few of the noteworthy events of the season.

I played a show in February at the CroFoot in Pontiac, MI with an artist named Brien Patrick that I'd spent the first part of the year recording with. This guy has some GREAT tunes! I really hope his stuff comes to light soon...

I was also fortunate enough to travel to Lyon, France to perform with the Sangoma Everette/Carl Craig/Corey Harris/Kelvin Sholar/Damon Warmack Project, En Panne De Scooter (see the April 2007 update). I had a great time that week in early March hanging, rehearsing, talking and (being that Lyon is the gastronomic capital of France) eating with these amazing artists (and friends). The show at the Charlie Chaplin Community Cultural Center was great and I'm looking forward to the eventual release of this project. By the by, you can watch a compilation of that night's show in the Showcase section of this site...

Things I was reading around this time:
Hitman- David Foster

As some of you can tell, I've been experimenting with a few different color/layout schemes for the website. I'm also going to add some exclusive web-based pictures, videos and music(!!!), including some sneak previews of songs from my upcoming debut CD. Stay tuned!

Be Good,

October 30th, 2010Update! (V 1.0)

Man! It's been a really busy few years (!!!) but now I'm ready to bring you all up to speed on what's been going on with me, musically speaking. In fact, so much has transpired, I'll have to break these updates into seasonal sections...

Summer/Autumn '08: The season started off with a bang! I played the JVC Jazz Festival with the TRIBE Collective feat. Wendell Harrison, Marcus Belgrave, Phil Ranelin and Carl Craig. Thanks to Kelvin Sholar, John Arnold and Jaimeo Brown for filling out the rhythm section and the rest of the guys for the GREAT stories (and to New York City for just being!).

I was also lucky enough to be invited back to the Winans Academy to be a part of the pit band for their rendition of West Side Story. And while it was rewarding to play Bernstein's score, it was the hardest book I've ever had to read. The kids did a great job (as did we few adults in the rhythm section) and I'm happy to have done it.

I also managed to do another great show with Shirley Jones (of the Jones Girls) here in Detroit. (The now late) Ali Woodson was also supposed to be on the bill with her but he took ill shortly after we started rehearsals. Shirley was in good voice and we had a fun show. By the by, also in the lineup that night were Slave and Heatwave amongst a few others.

Smooth jazz saxophonist Jimmy Sommers came a-calling that summer for the Smooth Jazz Fest in Southfield, MI. Thunderstorms and flight delays threatened to shut the show down that Father's Day afternoon but all went well once we hit the stage. Thanks to Demetrius Nabors (MD), Nate Winn and Kris Kurzawa for making it happen and Jimmy for bringing a carefree, positive vibe to the events.

I also had the pleasure of playing with Alicia Meyers, known for such hits as If You Play Your Cards Right & I Want To Thank You, for a show opening for Al Green. The band was super tight and the hometown crowd loved her (and the Rev. Al!).

I returned to Chicago for the second summer in a row to play the Heritage Jazz Fest with Ms. Jean Carne. Though traffic conspired against the Detroit-based band, we made it there on time and the audience loved Jean's tributes to Etta James and Phyllis Hyman (as well as her own hits).

I was set to do my first gig in the great state of Kentucky in September of this year with Brian O'Neal. Unfortunately, rain forced us to cancel the show that night. There were some real troopers that braved the inclement weather so we conceded to give them a truncated set in the hopes of returning one day to give the full set...

Whew! Brian and I woke up super early from the Lexington, Kentucky show to catch an early flight to San Francisco for a show with KEM. After a stunning ride through the city, across the Golden Gate Bridge and to Santa Rosa (in a limo, no less), there was just enough time to shower/change and head through Sonoma wine country to the Russian River in Guerneville, CA. The show went really well and I was honored to share the stage again with KEM and the band again.

The fabulous Ms. Jean Carne returned to Arturo's for Sweetest Day Week to wow the Detroit-area audience yet again. This time out, she came armed with some Dionne Warwick/Hal David/Burt Bacharach songs to switch things up a bit. Per usual, the shows were great and we dedicated the run to Dee Dee Warwick (Dionne's sister) and Levi Stubbs (who's grand daughter's singing group was featured two nights), both of whom passed away that week.

In the middle of November, I was fortunate enough to travel to Edmonton, Alberta Canada to perform with Motown legend Martha Reeves and the Vandellas. Of course, I gig that nice couldn't go off without a hitch. After arriving at Edmonton International Airport, we soon realized that one crucial piece of luggage was missing; The sheet music. Mind you, there was a 5-piece pick-up horn section that had never played with her before and didn't know the music. And I was in the same boat as them. Al McKenzie, the music director kept a cool head and repeated "don't worry". When the music didn't arrive the day of the show, Al calmly lead us through the intros and endings of all of the songs. We (especially the horn section and myself) then spent the next few hours going over Martha's songs, writing charts and cheat sheets for the show. Supernaturally, the show went of without a hitch! Mr. McKenzie's cool head and our last-minute cramming prevailed and Martha had a great time (and didn't yell at me once!). Edmonton is a beautiful (if frigid) city and I hope to return soon (in the summer).

That's it for now. Tune in soon for another update in 2 weeks (or sooner!)...

Be Good,

December 21st, 2009And We're Back!

Hello all!

It's been a LONG while but I'm finally back and ready to update things here. I just celebrated a birthday so allow me a few days sort through all that's been going on. Plenty of news, sights and sounds to add to the site, so hurry back!

Be Good,

April 7th, 2008Happy New Year!!!!

Happy 2008!

Welcome to the 2nd anniversary of the website and yet another birthday for me!

(And, whilst I'm at it, Happy Thanksgiving, Christmas, Chanukah, Kwanza, Passover, Ramadan and Easter.)

It's been a long time since my last update but, as you can see, I've been pretty busy. Let's begin, shall we?

Sessions with Corey Harris, Sangoma Everette and Carl Craig: November brought about a week of sessions teaming expat-drummer Sangoma Everette, MacArthur Grant winner and Rasta/bluesman Corey Harris and über-producer and pioneer Carl Craig. Due to a mix-up, keyboardist Kelvin Sholar wasn't able to attend these sessions but he's already co-written a few tunes in pre-production (he also laid down a ton of work months later in post-production). We spent a lot of days mashing up different concepts from our varied backgrounds (and a fair amount of time eating) and I'm excited about what we came up with. More to come...

Dennis Coffey @ the DIA: In December I had the pleasure of performing at the Detroit Institute of Arts with Motown session legend and solo artist Dennis Coffey. Both shows were very well attended and I look forward to a return visit to the DIA in the future.

Series of birthday gigs: I celebrated my birthday in December with a few performances. The first was at the Your Place Lounge on Detroit's east side with an expanded version of my band, Relativity. Thanks to Demetrius, Shinda, Nate, Pat and all that stopped by with a card, hug, drink and well-wishes.

I followed that show up with a date at Bert's Marketplace with the John Douglas Quartet. A fair amount of people stopped by that couldn't make the other show and we had a ball. Planning on doing it again this year so keep your eyes open!

UK tour with Jean Carne and Friends: On New Year's Day, I got up really (i.e. REALLY) early to catch a flight to Atlanta and rehearse with Jean Carne, Alyson Williams, Shirley Jones (from the Jones Girls) and Glenn Jones. 11 hours later, after many key changes and newly imposed segues (and a quick dinner break at the Waffle House) we were ready to hit the road. Unfortunately, Glenn was unable to make the trip due to an illness. After a flight to Manchester (and a layover in Frankfurt. Great beer and breakfast but terrible service...) we were picked up by Ian and shuttled to the resort town of Blackpool. The ladies stayed at the Hilton that we would be performing and the band stayed at a quaint Bed & Breakfast around the corner. We had free wi-fi so I was cool! We played 2 nights before packed, enthusiastic audiences for the Tenth Luxury Soul Weekend and these guys knew their soul music! People were selling and trading out-of-print LPs and they know how to party! We left there and headed to London to do 3 nights and the famous Jazz Cafe in Camden. It's a great venue and the staff went out of their way to take care of us. These 3 ladies were a joy to work with and I hope to be able to do so again.

Rome performance with Carl Craig and the Innerzone Orchestra: After a 4:30am wake-up call (Yikes!), I'm off to the airport to fly to Italy. Old friends (Carl, Kelvin, Colin and Francisco Mora) and new (Francesco Tristano and Rita) made this one of the most memorable gigs ever. There were many hours of rehearsal that followed my arrival in Rome, but there at least as many hours of jokes, stories and great Italian food and wine.

Jean Carne @ Arturo's Jazz Theater: As if we didn't have enough fun the first time, we brought Ms. Carne to Detroit! Ms. Carne brought her classy vocal stylings to Arturo's in Southfield Valentine's Day weekend and tore the house down 4 nights in a row! Special guests included bassist Ralphe Armstrong and vocalist Keith Washington. Thanks to Mr. Art Blackwell and his staff for hosting us and general good vibes.

Listening to/Watching/Reading:

Pat Metheny Trio-Day Ride
Lyle Mays-Street Dreams
All of the Chris Potter I can get my hands on(!!!)
All of the Gary Willis I can get my hands on(!!!)
Chick Corea- 5 Trios: an amazing Japanese box set
American Gangster: Unrated
Bars, Guitars And Motown Superstars by Dennis Coffey

October 22nd, 2007Summer '07

It's been a supremely busy summer. I'm not even gonna do a preamble for this:

Studio Project for Carl Craig- Using the Afrobeat concepts of Fela Kuti and Tony Allen, Kelvin Sholar (Rhodes and synths), Nate Winn (drums), Wild Bill Curry & Medicine Man Bruce Cobb (percussion) and myself convened at Carl Craig's studio and improvised some groove-minded tunes for an upcoming project. Special thanks to Carl for giving us so much freedom and to Colin Dupuis for his engineering skills and humor.

Relativity @ Campus Martius- My band, Relativity, played for it's largest audience so far in July in Detroit's Campus Martius park. Thanks to Pat Seymour (saxophones), Demetrius Nabors (keys), Larry Newson (drums) and the 200 or 300 people in attendance for making that such a fun show! You can check out pictures from that show by following the link in the NOTEPAD section (thanks to Fuzzytek!) .

Dennis Coffey on PBS- Also in July, Dennis Coffey (along with Nate Winn, Demetrus, myself and Larry Fratangelo on percussion) recorded a live set for the show American Black Journal. For those of you that missed it, you can watch it online by following the link in the NOTEPAD section of this website

Inohs Sivad CD release- I spent a chunk of the winter/spring season this year working on singer/songwriter Inohs Sivad's sophomore project "Changes". We hadn't really worked together since finishing the first CD and doing a handful of gigs but I had a great time playing and co-writing (and SINGING on!?!?) some of this new material. You can read a review of the CD in the Notepad section. Though I wasn't able to perform at the CD release/videotaping, I did attend one of the two shows. Looking forward to hearing where these songs go from here on out...

South Africa with KEM- I went to Africa for the first time in August with Motown/Universal recording artist Kem. We played a song of his (Heaven") two nights in a row and both nights the whole audience sang the WHOLE song lyric-for-lyric. I've never had that experience and it almost took me out of the gig like I wasn't a part of it and I was just witnessing it. Amazing....

Itechnorganika in NYC- Kelvin Sholar's brainchild for his US band, Itechnorganika fuses the works of 20th Century music masters Igor Stravinsky, Miles Davis, Q-Tip, Carl Craig and Earth, Wind & Fire with prose and visual art. Kelvin, Jaimeo Brown (drums), Brian Horton (saxophones) and myself comprised the core band along with Pat Hubik on improvised (!!!) visual art. Thanks to Gamall for his DJ skills at NuBlu and to Jana Harzen et al at the Hughes House for keeping the show going in spite of power outages.

10th World in Bahamas and in the studio- Bujo Kevin Jones' band 10th World made it's way back down to the Bahamas and this time the concert was indoors (avoiding the rainout of our last visit to Nassau). The show went well and I hope that we get to visit that beautiful island again soon. special thanks to Roscoe Dames (Nassau) and Brian Terry (New Jersey) for keeping everything running smoothly.

Brian O'Neal in Cali: I've made two trips in as many months out west with keyboardist Brian O'Neal. The trips to Fresno and Los Angeles were very successful and I'm looking forward to seeing the left coast again very soon.

Been Watching/Listening To:
I admit I've had my hands full travelling and learning songs for gigs but I've managed to check out the following things...

A lot of Paul Simon
A lot of James Taylor
Gary Willis' new CDs
The new Stanley Clarke
The latest Jeff Lorber
The two new Chris Potter Projects
Paul Mooney: Jesus Is Black and so was Cleopatra, Know Your History(!!!)
Knocked Up

More before the end of the year! Stay tuned...

Be Good,

June 17th, 2007Travels

Hello all!

I'm updating sooner than usual because quite a few things have happened since the last time I chimed in.

...On St. Patty's Day, my buddy Shelby and I did a gig at a comedy club in Waukegan, Il. The place was small but the audience was ready for a show! And we delivered!...

...The McKinney Zone just returned from another trip to Connecticut. We worked a lot and had a great time once again. We may be planning a return engagement (third time's the charm...). We also did a trio version of the band at Lola's in May with Chris Codish on keys that went over really well...

...I was in the pit band for a performance of Dreamgirls for the Marvin Winans Academy in May. It's been 14 years (almost to the day) since I've looked at the book of music for this play (I did it my senior year of high school) and I can't believe that I was playing a score this difficult after only a year of playing under my belt. I guess I was too young to know that I should have been frightened...

...My buddies from the band Good Brother invited me to hang with them in London for a week at the end of May/beginning of June. We met a lot of cool people our time there and I really look forward to heading back to the UK soon. Special thanks to Oscar (!!!), Alexei, Tams, Mario (Serge) and the flight staff at American Airlines...

...Last week I flew to New York to do some work with my friend Kevin Jones and his band 10th World. Although it's been over 4 years since I last played with these guys, it was as easy as ever finding my way back into these grooves. We played the Hughes House (Langston Hughes' former Harlem residence) and had a ball! We also went to the Bahamas over the weekend (my first trip). Even though we got rained out it was still a pretty fun trip. Mother Nature deemed Nassau unready for the aural barrage of 10th World!...

...I've been in the studio with the John Douglas Quartet the last few weeks and I'm looking forward to letting you all hear what we've been working on...

In the meantime, I've been writing for and/or co-producing quite a few projects that are still under wraps. More to come...

Been Watching/Listening to:

Chick Corea/The Ultimate Adventure: Live In Barcelona
A TON of smooth jazz (more on that later...)
Rocky Balboa (don't let the last 3 or 4 movies mislead you; this one's pretty good.)
Roland Vasquez feat. Anthony Jackson (it was great to see the master of the 6-string contrabass guitar in person)
Michael Brecker-Pilgramage
Brenda Russell-s/t
Frank Zappa (!!!!)

Be Good,

March 5th, 2007Up-to-the-date!

Happy new year!!!

Welcome back to the latest update. January and February started off kinda slow, but there were a few great moments worth speaking of.

My friend Kelvin Sholar was in town to do some recording for a project DJ/producer Carl Craig was working on. Here's a quote I found online (How they found out about all of this, I don't know...):

CARL CRAIG IN a "TRIBE" VIBE... Gill Scott Heron sang "We' ve Almost Lost Detroit". Fortunately Carl Craig - that one straightforwardly called the Mayor of Detroit after his judicious presidency of the DEMF/Detroit Electronic Music Festival -, Mister Craig is there to preserve the musical inheritance of Motown through the ages... Indeed Carl Craig (aka C2, Innerzone Orchestra, BFC, Paperclip People etc), boss of the pure label deep techno Planet E has just finished recording "Tribe Sessions"... a project live hallucinating devoted to the mythical label cosmic jazz-funk originating in its good town of Detroit, Tribe recordings (in a vibe near to the great hours of prestigious prints like Strata East, Impulse or fine Blue Note 60's grooves. Timeless gathering original members of formations signed on Tribe at the beautiful time 70's. Marcus Belgrave, Wendell Harrison, Phil Ranelin and Doug Hammond with the support of certain young hopes of Motor City such as Karrim Riggins, Sholar Kelvin, Amp Fiddler, John Arnold, Ralph Armstrong, Damon Warmack, Pathe or GayeLynn McKinney (of the super group funky Straight Ahead on the drums in a tribute with the memory of her father Harold McKinney). These sessions of anthology proceeded in White Room, the same studio where Carl and its assistants had given birth to them from now on legendary trans-generational meetings gathered on the disc Detroit Experiment...

I'll post a link to the original article (en français) in the NOTEPAD section of this site, for those whose French is better than mine.

Meanwhile, here's MY take on what happened:

Kelvin invited me to the sessions just to hang out ("bring your bass, though", he warned), only to find Phil Ranglin on trombone, Marcus Belgrave on trumpet, Wendell Harrison on tenor sax, John Arnold on guitar, Amp Fiddler on synths, Ralphe Armstrong & Pathe Jassi on bass and Kareem Riggins, Doug Hammond & Gayelynn McKinney on drums. I was actually content to hang out and witness history being made/played, but Ralphe wound up getting sick on the last day of the sessions (he's fine now). I got the call and had a great time playing with the masters. Hopefully, my input will wind up being a part of the finished product. Time will tell...

...I've also been in the studio working on a few other projects, but it's too soon to speak on those. More in the upcoming months.

...I'm still playing at Baker's, Bert's and Melange (and jamming at the Buzz Bar and the Your Place Lounge) pretty regularly, so come on out if you can.

Been listening to/watching/playing:

Anything with Micheal Brecker on it (RIP)
James Brown's Star Time box set (RIP)
Bassist Janek Gwizdala's podcasts (inspiring!)
John Mayer: Continuum
The Departed (I shouldn't like this film as much as I do)
Ultimate Marvel Alliance (Too much fun!)
30 Rock, Lost and 24 (!!!)
Chris Gaines Greatest Hits (don't ask...)
Pat Metheny Group: The Way Up (CD & DVD)

That's about it for now. More to come in the next month or two.

Be Good,

December 21st, 2006Happy Birthday!!!!

On this, the day of my birth and the one year anniversary of the official opening of this website, I want to thank the nearly 1000 visitors for stopping by with words of encouragement and advice. If you haven't been here in a while, browse around and enjoy the latest additions. The site has grown in the last year and I hope to make it even better in the upcoming years.

Thank you everyone for your support!

Be Good,

November 27th, 2006Update!

As promised, I'm back with more news! Where to start?

... In addition to doing an all-string version of the McKinney Zone (with Daniel Speights on bass, and Rydell Smith on guitar), I had the pleasure of traveling to Connecticut with drummer Gayelynn McKinney in October. The group (Gayelynn, Rydell, saxophonist Yancyy and myself) played mostly material from Gayelynn's debut CD during our weeklong stay. The audiences in the area were eager, enthusiastic and some of the nicest people I've encountered. I'm looking forward to returning to the area.

... The two gigs my band, Relativity, played at Baker's Keyboard Lounge were successful and loads of fun! As we move into the new year, I'm hoping to make the group (in it's various incarnations) a priority.

... The John Douglas Quartet played a show for The Chicago Jazz Institute at the Velvet Lounge. The gig went excedingly well and the Chicago patrons were a well educated and appreciative audience. I have a link to Brad Walseth's review of that concert posted in the NOTEPAD section of the website (amongst a few other things). Head over and check it out. Go ahead, I'll wait...

... Back already? Good! I'm still playing at the following venues with some regularity: Bert's Marketplace, Baker's Keyboard Lounge and the Grand City Grille in Detroit and the newly-opened Melange in Ann Arbor. Hope to see you out soon!

Be Good,

September 26th, 2006Work!


Sorry for the long gap between updates but I've been uber-busy with gigs and other projects. I have to keep a lid on some of them but I'll talk about what I can...

..Relativity's hosting a jam session Sunday, November 26th at Baker's Keyboard Lounge. Come one and/or all! Great food and staff and some great music!

...Finally got the trio recording off of the ground. I'll be posting some alternate takes on the site shortly so feel free to let me know what you think. We'll likely to head back into the studio well before year's end to finish it. Larry, Demetrius and myself have had our hands full but we can't wait for you guys to hear what we've been working on!

...I recorded a live CD at Baker's Keyboard Lounge over the summer with guitarist Dennis Coffey (of Motown and "Scorpio" fame). I'll let you know when that's ready for the world.

...I played at drummer Gayelynn McKinney's CD release party over the summer to a packed house and a few subsequent gigs. She's in the midst of booking some east coast dates. When they come to fruition, I'll post them in the Gigs section.

...Been playing pretty regularly with trumpeter John Douglas' group on Tuesday's (on keys at the Grand City Grille in Detroit) and on Friday's (on bass at Bert's Marketplace in Detroit). Those hits are always fun so come on out if you can.

...I just played a show with the legendary R&B/Soul group The Spinners last weekend. They are a class organization and treated me with nothing but respect. It was an honor to share the stage with them.

Been listening to:
Ed Simon-Unicity
A lot of Earth, Wind & Fire!

The new Patitucci CD
X-Men: Last Stand DVD
Pat Metheny Group-The Way Up DVD

Thanks to everyone that's stopped by. I plan on updating things a lot more often!

Be Good,

February 6th, 2006Coming Attractions!

Spent a good chunk of January preparing for the trio recording and booking gigs. I've also done a ton of writing for the trio, Relativity (coming soon!), a group called Musique Noire (the latest addition to the Links page) and for a few other future projects.

Been listening to:
A lot of Michael Brecker
A lot of Chris Potter, including his latest "Underground"
A lot of Pat Metheny

The new Chick Corea
Donald Fagen's new CD/Tour

Thanks to everyone that has left (mostly) positive feedback. Keep coming back and keep spreading the word!

Be Good,

January 1st, 2006Happy New Year!

Hello all!
I'm gonna be hitting the ground running this year. The group "Relativity" (Myself, Demetrius Nabors on keys and Larry Newson on drums) is going into the studio this month to record our trio album. And we're also doing pre-production on our more expansive Relativity CD. Plus work, work and more work! And I'd like to congratulate Bujo Kevin Jones on the positive review his Tenth World CD received in this months' (Jan '06) Downbeat magazine. I'm very proud of the work we did on this project. I'll keep you posted on all goings on here at the site, so keep dropping by!

December 25th, 2005Merry Christmas!!

And to all a good night!

December 21st, 2005Greetings!

Hello all! On this, the 30th anniversery of my life, I welcome you to the official opening of the website. The site's gonna be a work-in-progress, so come back soon for updates.