Live in Concert
After we released 'Cool Smooth & Sassy' we decided to do a concert to promote both Joe and the CD. I wanted to get more material in a recordable format to produce another CD. I also had a chance to assemble a different group of players and technicians who hadn't worked with Joe or I, but were highly talented players and kept quite busy. Johnnie Ray Gomez was the pianist for the Platter's for quite some time but got married had a child and came home to Omaha, opened a studio and played gigs at local venues. Jeff Sheffler is an accomplished session musician and guitar teacher. He does some really nice work on 'Aw Right,' as does Johnnie Ray Gomez on keyboards. Sharon Saulnier has 4 cuts on this CD all torchy ballads. With her big, voice wide range and gorgeous lower register, she makes the hot songs hotter. Joe does some fantastic back up work behind Sharon which is another of Joe's great gifts, he knows how to make singers look good. Brett Holihan is another talented musician who has worked with Joe and was the engineer on Cool Smooth & Sassy as well as playing bass on several tunes on that CD and all the tunes on this CD. Some times you have to take a train over to left field to find Brett, but I love his creative playing he is never short on ideas. I especially wanted to get some up tempo songs in this show and 'Aw Right' and 'Road Less Traveled' give this CD a little bit of Contrast from Cool Smooth & Sassy. 2 of Sharon's 4 cuts are material that is available on a second release of Cool Smooth & Sassy to be coming out soon. It's a different mix with Sharon on 2 cuts instead of Brett. Let Me Pretend Sharon did for this show, and previously did Nice Young Man for me which Joe does as an instrumental on the both Versions of Cool Smooth & Sassy. So let's talk about the music a little. 10 of the cuts are not from Cool Smooth & Sassy. Cut #1 'Aw Right' is an up tempo movin groovin jam session to start and end the concert. Everybody gets a chance to show off here. Lots of great improvisational work by everybody. Cool. Cut #2 Halfway To Nowhere is a gorgeous ballad with some of the lushest changes I ever wrote. Paul and Joe try to outdo each other making this one beautiful listening. Cut #3 Pretty Lady is from Cool Smooth & Sassy, but the nice thing about live performance is great musicians get to try to find a nother way to make it sound good. This is much different than on Cool. Cut #4 There Is No End also from Cool and is done only slightly different form the original, I think because It has some nice changes and Joe remembered what he did in the studio and came close to replicating it. Very romantic cut. Cut #5 The Road Less Traveled is a mover and Joe gets a nice groove going and works it all the way trhough the cut. Good up beat music. Cut #6 You're Free To Go this is the second song I hired Sharon to do for me and it is one of my favorites. She really gets into it in this live performance her dynamic resolution is outstanding and the band is very sensitive to her styling nuances, and are very tight as Sharon goes from a big semi climax to a delicate finish. I especially enjoyed writing this one and enjoyed recording it twice with Sharon. It is a nice piece of work by all. Cut #7 Misty Moring Girl This is just a litle different than on Cool but Joe does some things he didn't do before so it's a nice twist. Latin for you. Cut #8 My Baby's Gone I like to write bluesy stuff and this one I continue to use on a lot of different venues, advertising campaigns, and anyplace it requires a sexy low light mood atmosphere. Joe does good on these blues. Cut #9 Fire In MY Soul This is a powerful melody with a very touching and superbly delivered piano solo as was withnessed by a standing ovation. Great teachers know how to get the absolute most out of every one of their students. Paul Parker a soloist with 2 symphonies, on several instruments, and was my composition teacher for 10 years. Knowing I started my music studies and writing in my 30's Paul simply said write what you feel and we will figure out what you did after we have it in a tangible form. This one came about by me playing an Eflat Minor, and F major to a Gflat major chord. I wrote the entire composition and lyric and took it to Paul. He laid on the paino and played it from start to finish. Well, well, well he said you found a whole lot of stuff in this one. There are a couple of minor errors but what you have here is a Through composed powerful piece that starts in the minor key and works it way to a powerful finally in the same key but modulated to the major. I said What? He said great piece. Through composed means you did not repeat one measure. Every measure is new material, that's how you accoplished the key change to give the fantastic big finish. Basically I pull a Bill Clinton on this one. If you ask me why did I put this one in the show it is basically 'Because I Could'. I had Paul, I had a brand new Schmill 9 foot grand piano, and a hall full of people. Couldn't resist. Enjoy the fantastic paino artistry of Paul Parker on one of my finest compositions. Cut # 10 Love Is Give And Take Carlos Smith of Colombia South Carolina asked me to put music under his lyric. I did and had Sharon record it It is on 'Cool Smooth & Sassy II soon to be released. This live version is slightly different than the studio recording. Sharon puts some different touches on her stylings and she gives Joe 16 bars instead or 8 which Joe delivers a couple of great solos on. His back up work is also exceptional on this one as he and Sharon were definatley 'plugged in' on this one. This tune has one of the finest bridges I ever wrote with a nice key change and rythem change as well as some very cool lyrics which I rewrote because Carlos's lyric didn't get it done. He had no objection because it strenghened the lyric. Then they took it down to a powerful finish with Joe embellishing Sharon all the way. This is a cool ballad. There is a great deal to be learned from this lyric and it is delivered in a very listenable manner. Cut #11 Girl In My Dreams Joe really sounds like Stan Getz on this one with shades of Desifinado. Soft Latin rythmns, cool licks on the tenor sax. Margarita anybody. Cut #12 How To Love You. Is one of my favorite songs. Mostly because I believe I achieved prosody before I knew what the word meant. When I studied lyric writng I found out that prosody is the perfect matching of music and lyric. The other factor is there are very few songs strong enough to stand instrumentally. Nashville is all about lyrics, but you can't hum the lyrics with out a great melody to carry them. So with out music great lyrics are poetry or prose. I believe in this one so much I intend to record a vocal version of it and include it on my new CD coming out in early 2009. Some of you will remember the Movie 'Exodus' with Paul Neuman and the Theme from Exodus which I believe won an Academy Award for best song that year. Well a guy named Eddie Pebody an alto player recorded 'Jazz to Exodus'. I felt How to Love you could be done both serious and jazz so that's what we did. Joe really gets after this one when Paul moves aside. Cut #13 Before You Go Is also on Cool Smooth & Sassy however this version live has a totaly different feel than the studio cut. It seems to have a litle more swing to it than the original, but it's cool and very Easy Listening! Cut #14 Let Me Pretend Is a song produced from an excersise in lyric writing with Grammy winner Sheila Davis. I didn't think much of it at the time but then I watched The Glenn Miller Story and realized that Glenn's Theme song was the result of an excersize he did for his teacher. I guess that's why you study, to learn how to make your ideas work as vehicles to entertain peoples minds. Sharon hadn't done this song but it's in her key so I put it in the show and glad I did. Sharon delivers a very sensitive treatment of the 8 bar intro and the fist 2 verses and explodes the key change at the bridge and takes it out to a big finish with Joe giving her the best that he's got all the way. Enjoy !!!! Cut #15 Nice Young Man is a tune I wrote about teen age drinking. I offered it to Mother's Against Drunk Driving but they declined. I explain how the song came to be in the CD so I'll just say that this was the first thing Sharon recorded for me. I let Joe do it as an instrumental on Cool and for this concert I wanted to get Sharon's vocal version out in public. Joe wasn't on the original studio recording but his presence was certainly a nice addition to Sharon's vocal. She does a great job and the lyric is the important part of this song although it is carried by a very good melody. Listen close teenagers need to learn from this song, what not to do. There is one more guy who contributed signifcantly to this project, his name is Randy Long. He was the engineer on this. It's tough to do a remote shoot anyway but the first time on somebody els's equipment is a challenge. Randy met the challenge very well and delivered a well engineered sound product. The venue and equipment were brand new and even though I never worked with Randy previously his mixing was superb. Hope you enjoy the combined efforts of a lot of talented folks to bring you an hour or so of great music!!! Thanks Topm Tomoser.