The title of your outstanding new album is intriguing... "Full Circle and the Great Temptation." Could you please give us some insight as to how that title came about?
I've always thought about how the universe opens doors for us...if we are only aware enough to see those doors and be willing to take the chance to step through them. The Great Temptation is actually the temptations to stay "safe", to not take a chance, to always do the same thing. Full Circle relates to the concept that once we walk through the door we almost always find that we come to the place where we should have been in the first place. I loved the concept of Full Circle and the Great Temptation, and wanted to title the CD with this. I actually had the two songs which didn't have names, and it just worked out perfectly to name them...with of course Full Circle being the final track on the CD. The CD is a journey...as is Full Circle and the Great Temptation.
Was there an event or perhaps a certain song you heard early in your childhood that triggered the passion and intention to have music be a driving force in your life?
I played piano and guitar from early chilhood...my father was an amateur classical guitarist and always instilled in me the love of music and the desire to play. But I'd have to say that it was the Beatles invasion in the 1960's that set me on the path to being a musician. I distinctly remember seeing "Hard Day's Night" with hundreds of screaming Teenage girls chasing these scruffy musicians around London. I thought my chance were better with an electric guitar in my hand than without. It's all about the girls :-)
What would you define as the most life-changing event so far in your musical career?
Meeting my producer, John Herrera. John heard my songs played solo on an acoustic guitar, and believed in them enough, and heard the potential for them to be so much more, to want to produce them. The result, which is my CD, is so much more than I could have ever imagined. This really brough home to me the value of collaboration, and of having new ears listen to your music... John's imagination and understanding translated my musical vision into a real work of art... I owe him a lot, and we'll certainly be working together on the second CD, which I'm currently writing.
You took an extended break from music to raise a family and become a very successful executive in the corporate tech world. Now that you're back to your music in a big way, how do you see that other career experience as having helped shape your personal agenda at his point?
The Great Temptation. I have no regrets about my career, and I'm incredibly proud of my kids and the successful lives they are leading. But there was a part of me that was asleep for all those years... writing and playing music is encoded in my DNA, and I was not being true to myself. Now I have found a balance in life, where I can be excited about a day job, while still pursuing and chasing my musical dreams.
Let's talk about the new spin you've come up with on what's been known for many years now as Smooth Jazz. How do you see this format evolving successfully in the future?
I came up with the term "alt jazz" to try and differentiate my music from Smooth Jazz. In some circles Smooth Jazz has almost become a pejorative term... little more than enhanced "elevator music". Of course this isn't true, and the wide varieties of sounds and styles we hear on SmoothJazz.com is evidence of this. But the sound is evolving... there are more artists ading songs with lyrics, there are influences from the worlds of pop, classical, Bossa Nova. Smooth Jazz is becoming more of a melting pot of simply great, passionate music which crosses many musical boundaries and does what music is supposed to do...move people emotionally and bring some joy into their lives. "Alt jazz" is this new paradigm... an alternative, something new, but something which still ows much to the influences of the past while embracing the future.
What are your favorite things to do when it's all about your own personal enjoyment and satisfaction?
My greatest thrill is writing and creating new music. There is something magical that happens in the creative process.... it's like a door opens and the music flows through me from somewhere outside...I'm simply the conduit to this universe of feeling and expression. As I've always said, creating music is the most fun you can have with your clothes on!