The tempting Temptations in the 1960s, Kool and the Gang, Minnie Ripperton, Jimi Hendricks and Sly Stone in the early 1970s, Tower of Power, Lou Rawls, Chicago and Earth Wind & Fire in the mid seventies.
More recently, Bob James, Chuck Mangione, more of EWF, Return To Forever, Gino Vanelli and even more EWF. These artists and plenty more of them were on each of my turn tables, home and car 8 track tape players and my home & car cassette players. And even more recently, contemporary gospel artists; Israel, Richard Smallwood, Donnie McClurkin, Fred Hammond and Donald Lawrence are on my disc players most frequently. However, from the start, those times were laced with classic jazz artists like Lee Morgan, Freddie Hubbard, Herbie Hancock and the (before) Donald Byrd and Miles Davis, just to name a few. They are all my favorites that I listen to over and over again. But towards the beginning of them all were baroque period artists/composers like Franz Joseph Haydn, George Phillip Telemann and Antonio Lucio Vivaldi that had a lot of my attention. But I’m talking about a least three genres of music!
The types to music that each of the aforementioned artist wrote and/or performed influences my writing. Soul, R&B, smooth jazz, adult contemporary jazz, classic jazz, music of the classic period . . . but through it all, my attraction to classic jazz by the legends was/is right there at the top. Because classic jazz bares a major component involving improvisation, it for the most part, kept me from really diving into performing or writing it because improvisation ijust isn’t one of my strengths. However, the musicians in my band, GEQ (past and present), are some of the best artists of improvisation in the business. I have a tendency to write for them, a style of song that any of them can just “go off” on.
Writing drum cadences in high school was the start, then jingles. Most of my work stayed in the manuscript books that are probably still in boxes in my garage right now. It wasn't until 1976, when I formed a big band out of city of Detroit employees, when I actually tried out one of my first feats with an arrangement of the swinging medley of the Temptations': "Beauty's Only Skin Deep," "You're My Everything" and "Cloud Nine." I’m going to bring that one back out. . It was actually a mistake; when my drummer started swinging when he was suppose to be playing a funk thing, it worked out perfectly!
Fast forward to now. My upcoming single “Where Am I Going With You” is an adult contemporary piece, the first in a while and I think it will surprise you. It’ll be coming to you next week, August 23. See the feature on www.thejazznetworkworldwide.com
The GEQ Jazz STORE is up and stocked with both CDs. You can download either of the CDs or any of the tracks separately. The first CD, HERE PUT THIS ON was re-released with two of my hot original bonus tracks; "DING" . . . a sassy blues vocal and "Oh Yeah" . . . a smokin' Latin style tune. We've been performing both tunes for a while and at your request; I recorded them for the re-release. "She's On Her Way," from the CD MEET GUYMON ENSLEY has been a popular contemporary jazz cut here in the Midwest. So don't forget to check it out too.
I've made the "GEQ Jazz Caps" available to everybody! Pick yours up now at the "STORE" link below.
coming soon . . . TrumpetHead