Here I include news about my musical life and special events related to music (and sometimes regarding Kung Fu). I also will announce new tunes I just learned or am currently learning. I try to honor requests as much as possible so please contact me if you have a particular song request.
Brazil Trip, 11/04/15 - 11/16/15
My trip to Brazil was awesome! I was there for 12 days and roughly 4 days each in São Paulo, Foz de Iguaçu and Rio de Janeiro. The huge Kung Fu tournament, Iguaçu Falls and the Corcovado mountain with the Christ Redemeer statue and the Sugarloaf Mountain with the gondola ride up and down were the big highlights of the trip. Another big highlight for me was going to the Garota de Ipanema restaurant which is where Jobim and Gilberto saw the girl walking down to Ipanema beach. That was a great experience. After the Christmas season, I'm looking forward to greatly increasing my Bossa Nova repertoire. It was quite inspiring seeing different historic areas of Bossa Nova by walking all across Copacabana beach to Ipanema beach and seeing that historic area. Two of the pictures on this page shows me with the statue of Antonio Carlos Jobim (Tom Jobim for short) at Ipanema beach and the other is me right in front of "The Girl from Ipanema" restaurant which is the exact location where the famous song was inspired.
My repertoire adds up to four hours of solo guitar music. I'm always looking to keeping things fresh by adding new tunes. Recent new tunes I've added are Danny Boy, Moondance, Beyond the Sea, My Favorite Things, Edelweiss, & After a Dream (Apres un Rêve). Danny Boy is particularly neat in that I transcribed George Benson's awesome version in which the first chorus resembles the bagpipe and the 2nd chorus has these rich harmonies. Van Morrison's tune, "Moondance" I tried to stick as close to the original as possible by transcribing the bass line and how Van sang the melody then putting it all together (melody, harmony & rhythm) into an exciting solo guitar arrangement. The two Sound of Music numbers I also tried to stick as close to the original versions as possible. Beyond the Sea I modeled after Bobby Darin's famous version. For After a Dream, I turned Steve Erquiaga's beautiful guitar duo version (found on his album Café Paradiso) into a beautiful solo guitar rendition. That piece is so beautiful and delicate, I consider among the most beautiful pieces I've ever heard. It was originally recorded for piano and flute.
So far the most requested tunes seem to be The Eagles' "Hotel California" and something from Frank Sinatra and Carlos Santana. "Hotel California" is on my "To Do" list. For Frank Sinatra I think a version of "Fly Me to the Moon" inspired by his classic take on the standard will suffice for that as well as the tune "My Way". For Carlos Santana there's a great version of "Europa" by Tuck Andress I'd really like to transcribe by the beginning of next year. Apart from that I hope to include a few numbers from Michael Jackson for the 2016 new year (Tuck Andress' version of "Man in the Mirror" and the tune "Human Nature") and my teacher, Mimi Fox's version of "She's Out of My Life". I also plan on including several rock standards (like Sweet Child O' Mine, Nothing Else Matters, and Bohemian Rhapsody) in order to diversify my music and appeal to people more inclined to more mainstream musical styles. The goal is to have wide appeal and be diverse while maintaining my true passion of jazz music.
As always, more tunes to come. Please contact me for tune requests. I'd be happy to oblidge and further diversify my music.
Cool Story Concerning Danny Boy & Honoring Your Word
On Sunday, March 13th, I was playing at the Lone Tree Golf Course for their Sunday brunch, and something cool happened that day which makes a neat story. Two months prior (in January), I was playing at the Lone Tree Golf Course and a guy came up to me and asked me if I could play Danny Boy. I said that unfortunately I didn't know it but that there was a great solo guitar version from George Benson that I wanted to transcribe and learn. I told him that on the last Sunday before St. Patrick's Day I'll be back for that gig and have it learned for him. I followed through to my word two months later and played it (not knowing whether he'd be there or not). Sure enough, he was there and came up to me happy that I followed through and learned the song. He liked the arrangement, introduced himself and gave a nice tip. It turns out that he is the mayor of Antioch! That was wild and took me by surprise. You never know who you may be honoring when you follow through with your word. Great experience and the George Benson version is really cool. One thing I didn't know about the tune is that the melody of Danny Boy is also an African spiritual/hymn.