Electric Project is controlled mayhem! It’s an album of seemingly opposite, yet complementary sounds in the guitar color-wheel.
Making the music:
Making of Electric Project:
I was looking to capture the live energy of this group that has always been a hallmark of our output. To keep the energy fluid, a lot of these tunes were not recorded to a click track. I feel that a lot of music recorded today can lack mojo due to over emphasis on aligning everything to the grid.
To use the right studio to find this mojo, Celso suggested we use engineer Michael Rosen (Grammy) at East Bay Recorders in Berkeley CA. Playing with my son, Jimmy on Bass, Celso on Drums, and Timo on Hand percussion with Michael on the console, allowed us to capture our live energy in a studio atmosphere.
While working on the Electric Project, several guitar voices emerged. The blues based sound comes from playing on the neck position with the Fender Strat. The rock guitar sound comes from playing the Ibanez with wider intervals and altered scales. The Latin rock guitar player sound comes from the Paul Reed Smith. The acoustic blues guitar sound is inspired by my brother Peter’s stinging vibrato, and comes from my Martin steel string, These guitar voices are a part of my musical identity. The trading solos throughout the tracks make for interesting colours, not only in tambor, but with the scales and melodies themselves that are intrinsic to each instrument.
I find each guitar is asking for a different approach.The tambor of each instrument leads to the inspiration of my music. I would have loved to have heard Allan Holdsworth play with Stevie Ray Vaughn, Robben Ford with Hendrix, Al Di Meola with B.B King, and Pat Metheny with John McLaughlin to name a few.
The album features several of James favorite tunes, All Blues by Miles Davis, Life by the Drop by Stevie Ray Vaughn (sung by niece Carrie Nicole Robinson), and Stratus by Billy Cobham.
"The great Miles tune that is the great vehicle for so many approaches to play over I had to record it twice and would have gone for three… This take (track 8) is the representation of my alter ego looks on guitar as the blues lick motif player trades with the jazz rock altered scale player both me, each in harmony with the other, all disagreements are resolved amicably."
"In this take of All Blues (track 15) I wanted to show four different looks by using four very different guitars and the scales that best match their tambors: my Eastman jazz guitar, Kenny Hill nylon string, Paul Reed Smith, Fender Strat. Starting with the jazz guitar clean using a more traditional jazz approach, to my Nylon String using more Iberian peninsula inspired scales, Paul Reed Smith in a modern blues, and lastly the Strat to rock the last verse. Each guitar/style building upon the previous to bring it back around to the melody."
Life by the Drop:
" I have a personal connection to this moving song as it speaks to my upbringing coming from a large family wearing hand me downs and having the blues handed down to me from older brothers with “worn out shoes”, and “talking about good times and singing the blues”. Wishing anyone struggling with addiction living “Life by the Drop” to find solace in this great tune. It is such a great joy to have my super talented niece singing on this track bringing the love of family full circle"
Dave Lepori, photographer extraordinaire (photo by Suzi Humbert, shot during photoshoot in San Fransisco.
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Looking forward to life returning and bringing Electric Project to you.