Here I include news about my musical life and special events related to music. 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.
Updated on 03/17/2021
Happy Saint Patrick's Day to everyone! Although I'm no drinker I love to where green for this special day and appreciate Irish/Celtic culture which is similar to my own Scottish heritage (especially in the music area with Celtic music). I've been learning several tunes of my own guitar arrangements in honor of Saint Patrick's Day. It's a nice Irish jig style type song called "Planting the Fields" which is from the "Robin Hood" movie (the one with Russell Crowe). It's a hard one with a lot of notes but I look forward to playing it for the first time on Friday and Saturday at Cap's. I also learned two other tunes that have a bit of a Celtic sound ("May It Be" from The Lord of the Rings and also "The Bride of Khazad Dum" which is also from the same movie). The latter tune I mentioned is actually at the very end of that scene when Gandalf falls and says, "Fly You Fools". Two very beautiful tunes from an epic movie.
Apart from that I learned a great tune from my childhood. It's from Roger Miller and the Disney cartoon Robin Hood. The tune is called "Oo-De-Lally". I haven't arranged for solo guitar yet but hope to do that soon. I finally have been regularly playing at Cap's "The Coloring Song" from Petra so that's a great rendition with a bit of a different sound from the jazz I typically do. I also hope to add to memorized repertoire my solo guitar arrangements of Toby Keith's "Don't Let the Old Man In" as well as Michael Card's gorgeous tune "Why". The latter one will be special for the Easter weekend. It's a solemn tune for sure but very beautiful. That's about it for me right now. I've still been doing a lot of work on different of my arrangement projects and I hope to have two new guitar videos recorded in the next couple weeks (likely the two songs from The Lord of the Rings). Richard out for now.
Created on 02/25/2021
Here's my first blog on guitar arrangements. For the year 2021 I decided to focus mainly on my own guitar arrangements. For those who have heard me play at Cap's or have watched my videos, you know that I love to play my transcriptions from the great Joe Pass or great arrangements I've learned of tunes I love from other great guitarists. I've always played my own arrangements (mainly of Disney tunes and some other type tunes like Blackbird (from The Beatles) and Moondance (from Van Morrison). However, a lot of my attention went into my Joe Pass transcription projects. For this year I'm spending most of my time on creating my own guitar arrangements. One of the interesting things is that I've been making a lot of arrangements of Christian songs, hymns and African-American spirituals. I've already made a cool video of "Jesus Loves Me" utilizing tons of jazz harmony and a lot of reharmonization (which makes it hip and something you likely never heard before). I'm in the process of recording my new arrangement of "Amazing Grace" where I play two choruses like the bagpipe and two choruses with rich jazz harmonies and reharmonization. After that I hope to complete my arrangement of a beautiful African-American spiritual called "Give Me Jesus" which I based my arrangement on the super beautiful version from Fernando Ortega. I hope to have that completed by Easter Sunday and play it at my restaurant gig then. Apart from that, I'm also arranging a cool version of "Let It Go" from Frozen. I've gotten a handful of requests for that tune and I do like the tune and look forward to completing it possibly in March but definitely in April. Basically, I have lots of arrangement projects going on of very diverse type music.
I think for my first blog it'd be good to define what a guitar arrangement is and what it entails. A guitar arrangement is when you take a tune and arrange it for just the guitar. The tune can originally consist of a rock band, jazz big band, orchestra or symphony, choir, just voice and piano or voice and guitar, etc. It doesn't matter what the original instrumentation is but you take the tune and make it sound as if it were made for the guitar. The challenge with this is that you have to simultaneously include the melody, harmony and rhythm. When you're taking a tune that has several instruments it's a big puzzle to determine what to include or what to keep out. The arranger has to decide what key to play in, how to play the melody and how to accompany the melody and what groove to set. Things can get complicated and the arranger has to problem solve how to take the tune and make it sound natural for the guitar and sound good as a guitar stand alone tune. If you watch my videos or hear me at Cap's I hope you can appreciate this creative process in taking great songs from wherever they come from and making them sound as if they were just made for the guitar. I definitely enjoy the process and look forward to sharing more of my own arrangements this year.