About Me

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Atlanta, GA, United States
When I suffered a lip injury that ended my career as a classical trombonist, I thought my life as a musician was finished, but I fell in love with music all over again when Santa gave me a guitar for Christmas in 2003. Even as I was struggling with my first chords, I was planning a new performance career. As a trombonist, I performed with the Heritage of America Band at Langley Air Force Base, the Ohio Light Opera, and in pick-up bands for touring acts that included Rosemary Clooney, George Burns, and the Manhattan Transfer. Reborn as a jazz guitarist, I sing and play my own solo arrangements of jazz classics, am half of the Godfrey and Guy duo, and hold the guitar chair in the Sentimental Journey Orchestra. I have been a freelance music copyist since 1995, served as Director of Music at Northwest Unitarian Universalist Congregation from 2011 to 2017, and currently serve as Contemporary Band Director at the same congregation.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Background Stories

Background gig at the Georgia Aquarium.
Playing for the fish.
I recently changed the name of my blog to "Background Stories." It seemed more fitting. Except for my part-time music director job at NWUUC, I make much of my living under the radar playing background music and teaching private students. Even my music engraving, which is still a small part of what I do, is background sort of work.

Unlike many musicians, I actually enjoy playing background music. As a matter of fact, I prefer it. Yes, I like applause, and it's nice to play the occasional show, but I really like gliding into a restaurant or a corporate event, playing and singing some of my favorite songs, collecting a check, and then gliding out.

I find that I am especially well suited for background music, both as a musician and as a person. I'm a low key individual with the personality of a sideman. My musical style is also pretty calm. I prefer to perform and listen to relaxing music. I don't have to tone it down for a background gig. "Toned down" is my default setting.

Playing background music also affords me an opportunity to essentially "practice" in public. I am always working on new things. Sometimes it's a new song, but more often, I'm working on new musical concepts and trying to find places to play licks that I'm learning. When I'm playing in a restaurant, I feel comfortable enough to explore a bit and try some new ideas without feeling like the whole room is paying attention. My weekly gigs at Noosh Kitchen and L'Thai are my own learning laboratories. I am helping to create a pleasant environment for the customers, but at the same time, I'm in my own little musical bubble, enjoying the puzzle that jazz guitar presents.

I really enjoy my low key musical life. Not everyone is cut out for the bright lights, but there's something to be said for making a quiet living doing what you love.

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