Richard Warren Field - Writer/Musician
Oops! The CDs are in. They look just right, sound
great, all the planning and attention to detail, to try get a flawless release -
- - No, I didn't really forget to include an instrument on the list of
instruments I used to produce
“Songbook I,” did I? Yup. I forgot to list
the Kawai EPS electric piano. It's a minor detail. But that piano did a lot of
work for this CD. I played it to get the MIDI tracks for the software/synth
grand pianos and electric pianos. In a number of instances, I doubled it with
the software synth sounds. Sorry, Kawai. I will not repeat that mistake on the
future Songbook CDs!
Yes, the release is running late. The final masters have been approved, as well as the artwork for the CD cover and insert. Production is underway and I do expect “Songbook I” to be in full distribution mode by the end of this month (a month late - but there are lessons learned for the next one).
You can see it in my longer biography at this site and at my main music page─chasing the dream of music has been a difficult, sometimes heartbreaking pursuit for me. (My song “Live Your Dreams” from Songbook I is like a message to myself...) But recent events in my life have called me back. As I plunge back into music, an activity that absolutely consumed me from my early teen years up to my late 20s and early 30s, I discovered I have a love for doing cover songs. I performed scattered cover songs in my youth, but never had much enthusiasm for them. Now I see performing cover songs as an opportunity to bring a familiar song to an audience, but with my unique personality and slant on the song.
I had to choose the cover songs for “Songbook I” from all the songs I’ve worked up for performance. (Nearly all of these are in demo form at this site.) I chose “Hotel California” because I got a positive reaction to the way I performed the song at the Valley fair about three years ago.
I chose “Magic” because the exotic chord progressions and simple bass-line allowed me to stretch out on the instrumental section and literally use all twelve tones of the chromatic scale as I worked in and around the D-note tonality.
I picked the two Hendrix songs, “Purple Haze” and “Up From the Skies,” because I still find Jimi Hendrix’s songwriting to be some of the most innovative and timeless songwriting of the last 50 years. I remember hearing “Purple Haze” for the first time as a twelve or thirteen-year-old, utterly stunned trying to figure out what I just heard. I remember then walking a mile and a half from my home in Monte Sereno into “down town” Los Gatos (Bay Area suburbs of San Jose) to the record store and asking to buy the 45 single immediately. It wasn’t long before I bought the “Are You Experienced?” album and have been a big fan of Jimi Hendrix since. “Up From the Skies” has a funky jazz feel, anticipating jazz fusion, and offered another ideal opportunity for me to refine the style I am bringing to my “Songbook” CD series.
“All Blues” is a great Miles Davis song again offering a lot of opportunities for me to bring many different types of instrumental sounds together. And yes, I couldn’t resist the temptation to throw in a playful muted trumpet sound, a la Miles Davis, at the final exposition of the main melody of “All Blues.”
“Black Hole Sun” was also chosen because of the improvisational opportunities. Soundgarden improvised on the descending motif tag at the end of the choruses. But I took on the chord progression of the verses, with its shift from I to flat III to flat VII to vi to flat VI to V to I to flat VII to flat II, creating a feel of shifting back and forth between a major and minor key feel.
“Shanghai Noodle Factory” is another jazz-rock type song from another artist (Steve Winwood with Traffic) who anticipated and influenced the fusion of jazz and rock. But for me, the song is more than just a jazz-fusion opportunity. As I labor in a day job─yes I still call it a day job after 37 years─that chose me more than I chose it, I find that these lyrics resonate with me now beyond the way they struck me as a young man: “Had to make a break, knew I couldn’t fake it any longer. With everything at stake, soon I had to wake up feeling stronger... On my island of dreams with impossible schemes...” Yes, I feel those lyrics personally.
I chose “Avalon” because I love the way the piano solo feels when I perform it. For the CD recording, I played the piano solo in one take with two or three short drop-ins to touchup, but as a continuity, as a solo that builds as it develops motifs, winding them out.
Mystic jazz productions of vintage rock using modern sounds and technologies ─ familiar songs offered in a fresh way; new songs offered in a familiar style.
Swords of Faith
Stories set in the past featuring dilemmas familiar to the present with consequences resonating into the future.
Mystic jazz celebrating the “Issa legend” – the idea that Jesus may have visited India and learned some of his history-altering spiritual insights there.