How did this new album and overall concept for it come about, and what are your ultimate goals for it?
COLORS 2.0 is a long-overdue revival of "COLORS", an Outstanding, LA-based Contemporary Jazz / Funk / R&B band which I co-founded in 1988. We performed in the early 90s on the same bill with Spyro Gyra, Lee Ritenour, Keiko Matsui, Ronnie Laws, Curtis Mayfield, Tim Weisberg and Many other notable artists.
COLORS 2.0 serves as the creative platform for my growing catalog of original material as well as for contributions from close and extremely talented musical friends. "Brand New Day" is the title track of the debut EP, the first of many album releases to come for COLORS 2.0
In 1993, I sadly left the group to pursue a different path. At that time, I simply didn't have it in me to tough it out "making a living" (Not) as a Contemporary Jazz musician. Perhaps as important, I also wasn’t saying musically what I really wanted to say at that time. It just wasn’t coming out of me then like it is Pouring out me now, with 20 more years of very rich and diverse life experience along with some amazing new musical production tools.
Back then, digital audio workstations were in their infancy stages, and facsimiles of programs like the current "Logic Pro” or “Pro Tools" were most definitely not around. Home Studios typically consisted of a Tascam 4-track tape recorder... I just didn’t have the incredible in-home production capability and creative outlet that I Very gratefully have now.
During the following 20 or so years I honestly didn't pursue any notable professional music projects. Sure, I played here and there, but I was always listening to LOTS and LOTS of music. I Never stopped listening and absorbing musical ideas, however, and I no doubt gained some extremely profound Life experiences to draw from creatively.
Last year, I began doing my own home production of various music that I had arranged and performed to place on some educational toys that I am currently developing with a partner. At that point, I decided to get serious with my home studio set-up, purchased Logic Pro, an iMac, some software synths and a couple of other gizmos, and I put the YAMAHA MOTIF XS8 production synth I had purchased in 2008 to Much better use....
And after nine months -- working day and night to get properly up to speed with the "New" Digital Audio paradigm as well as to carefully hone all the arrangements for various musical ideas that have been on my mind for a Long time -- my BABY was born: the mastered tracks for COLORS 2.0 debut album, Brand New Day.
For the past year or so, I have been EXTREMELY prolific in my home studio and am Extraordinarily Grateful to be Very alive while Digital Audio Technology is as accessible and advanced as it has become -- enabling me to create music that I could ONLY dream of 5+, 10, 15 or 20 years ago.... GRATITUDE. Abundant Gratitude.
My home studio, however, is only the starting point for the ultimate production of my music, which is then made live with performances at outside studios by Grammy Award winning and Top LA studio musicians.
This whole process has brought me back Home to a very special place in my heart, where I can now realistically and diligently work for the Rest Of My Life to leave a growing and important legacy of Great music (in my humble, but confident opinion), music that I can share and connect with people Literally all around the World in a very real way.
COLORS 2.0 music transports me -- and I hope You, the Listener and Very Valued Fan -- to another place. It should elicit Deep feelings for you - Intense Joy, Deep Sadness, Peace & Tranquility, and Love. The music has a Positive Message. It tells a hopeful story, takes us on a Spiritual Journey to a Higher Place, Connects us to a Higher Power, and returns us back to that most special place we call Home...
I've been around the block several times in my life. I've experienced some great successes as well as some miserable failures, and I've lost some Very Dear people along the way. I almost lost my son to an insidious and extremely complicated disorder (he's thankfully doing Great now) and I strongly believe that my music reflects the richness and depth of the myriad of those experiences and feelings.
It’s now a BRAND NEW DAY, a revival of a great musical group and reunion of some Great musicians.
The title track pretty much says it all for me: “Stand Up, Lift Your Voice and Rejoice for the Brand New Day!”
What artists do you feel akin to or in the same tribe with?
COLORS 2.0 represents a True Multi-COLOR Mix of R&B, Latin, Funk, Rock, Cinematic, and Gospel - all with roots in Contemporary / Smooth Jazz. The music crosses over from Smooth Jazz to Adult & Adult-Urban Contemporary / R&B. You will hear elements of our “cousins” throughout the tracks - Earth Wind & Fire (probably my favorite band of all time), Rippingtons & Spyro Gyra, Incognito, Santana, Yellowjackets, Stevie Wonder, Brian Culbertson, CeCe & BeBe Winans, David Benoit, Quincy Jones/Take 6, Sergio Mendes for the Brazilian, Pat Metheny & Lyle Mays for the cinematic element, and other. All these great artists have profoundly influenced COLORS 2.0
What elements do you look for in a song that makes it especially satisfying for you to perform?
Unforgettable Melodies -- the “HOOK” -- and Rock-Solid Grooves are a Must. If we’re performing a Vocal track, then add Lyrics with a story and/or message to make it SHINE! As a keyboard player (classically trained as well), you will always hear rich harmonic textures that COLOR the music of COLORS 2.0
How would you finish the sentence? “ I don’t like to go a day without___________
I don’t like to go a day without consciously acknowledging the Abundant Gratitude that I have to be Very Alive and Able to connect in a Very Real way with the Higher Power(s) and Others through music.
If you were asked (and we are asking now!) for your advice as to what the Smooth Jazz Format could do moving forward to insure its relevance and growth, what would your suggestion(s) be?
Continue to feature and promote artists such as COLORS 2.0 which stretch the boundaries of the format to related formats – adult contemporary / adult-R&B / Latin / etc. to attract an even wider audience.
What are some of the most important goals you have for yourself in the next five or ten years?
Most importantly - to connect in a meaningful way with as MANY new fans worldwide as possible and to enrich their lives as a result of their having listened to and felt uplifted, happier, more alive and touched by COLORS 2.0 music.