What elements do you look for in a song that makes it especially satisfying for you to perform?
Whether it’s a cover or an original song, it has to swing, groove or move me in some way.
Going back in your life as far as you can remember, what song or performance is the first you recall hearing and being affected by?
Other than all of the Beatle albums, I would have to say the Brazilian music from the “Girl From Ipanema” album with Stan Getz, Astrud Gilberto and Antonio Carlos Jobim. My uncle was a sax player and so he played it for us when it first came out. We’d play that album over and over and to this day I still love to hear it.
How would you describe what inspires you to do what you do?
It’s definitely the creative process, starting with an idea or concept and then having it develop into a song and then taking it into the studio and hearing it become its own entity. And of course, having other people enjoy your songs when you perform for them, that’s inspiring for sure.
What do you find to be the most challenging aspect of recording a new album?
Well, I enjoy working in two somewhat different genres. For example, my new CD “The New Standard” has mainly standard jazz cover songs but I added my song “Dirty Martini,” which is more of a Latin-flavored smooth jazz tune. My next CD will contain more of the styles I like to perform in, Funk, Latin, Brazilian and contemporary jazz.
How did this new album and overall concept for it come about, and what are your ultimate goals with it?
I had opened several shows for Poncho Sanchez and his band so when I went in to do this album I recruited his bass player and drummer/percussionist, Tony and Ramon Banda also known as the Banda Brothers. I wanted to approach some of those great standard tunes with a Latin-soul feel and I really feel I accomplished that. I’ve wanted to record with my good friend Will Donato who lent his searing sexy sound to “Dirty Martini.” The ultimate goal is to bring my feel and experience to this genre and share it with the world via performance in lounges, concert stages and jazz festivals.
What’s your favorite charity or cause you work for, and why?
I’ve been a Children International sponsor of two children for the past 15 years. I sponsor a boy in Guatemala and a girl in Mexico. I feel that if you really want to do something to help out this world then let’s help children whose families are less fortunate than we are. Every couple of months I receive pictures, updates and especially blessings from the children who I contribute to.