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Hot! Episode #14

Episode #14

Recording Dates: June 20, 2003 and March 24, 2001.
Location: Sigma Sound Studios, Philadelphia

Arturo Sandoval – Trumpet, Piano
T. Lavitz – Keyboards
John Swana – Trumpet
Eric Bazilian – Guitar
Jay Davidson – Organ
Mike Boone – Bass
Joe Mass – Guitar
Rod Morgenstein – Drums
Bob Farina – Drums
Emedin Rivera – Percussion
Steve Beskrone – Bass
Dean Schneider – Piano
Hector Rosado – Percussion

All The Things You Are             BUY
Nostalgia                                   BUY
B-Flat Blues                               BUY
Tears                                         BUY

Buy This Episode on DVD

This episode of Studio Jams features highlights from two different sessions. One features the great trumpeter/pianist Arturo Sandoval…the other features keyboardist T. Lavitz, along with a few other A-list musicians.


Unfortunately, this session had to be somewhat thrown together. I had made confirmed arrangements to have the great Arturo Sandoval join us with a few of his band mates well in advance – which is my normal practice. But then, as fate would have it, I received one of those “good news/bad news” phone calls the day before the session.

The good news was that Arturo would still do the gig. The bad news was that his band mates suddenly opted out of it. Big time bummer. As a result, I had to madly scramble to line up a number of musicians for the taping. Luckily, I was still able to pull it off on such short notice. In addition to Arturo, my band for the session included Steve Beskrone on bass, Bob Farina on drums, Emedin Rivera on percussion and Dean Schneider on piano. It was good that mine was an afternoon gig. Had it been in the evening, I doubt that any of these guys would have been able to join us.

Arturo Sandoval

Together we cut 4 different tracks that day, and opted to use 2 of them in this particular episode. Arturo clearly led the entire session…serving as somewhat of a “latin” mentor to the rest of the group.

Arturo is a musical icon…a true master on the trumpet. But what many don’t know is just how incredible a pianist he is. Personally, I enjoy his piano playing as much, if not more, than his trumpet playing. His approach is aggressive, rhythmic and powerful, yet, at the same time, quite melodic.

Arturo Sandoval

He proved it when he leisurely sat down at the piano and so nonchalantly kicked into what is the most impressive, mind-blowing version of All The Things You Are I think I have ever heard. It was jaw-dropping incredible. We also recorded a nice take on the Fats Navarro jazz standard Nostalgia.


T. Lavitz

It’s with a bit of sadness that I now reflect on this session as it features, among others, the great T. Lavitz, who unfortunately passed away but a few months ago. T is perhaps best known as being a founding member of the powerful fusion band The Dixie Dregs (with Rod Morgenstein, Steve Morse and Mark O’Connor) back in the 1970’s. He also toured extensively as a member of Jefferson Starship and Jazz Is Dead. Drummer Rod Morgenstein also joined us on this gig.

Rod Morgenstein

For this session, I thought I would add a bit more of a rock element by adding guitarists Eric Bazilian (of The Hooters), who was also a big fan of T. Lavitz, and Joe Mass. Also added were Hector Rosado on percussion, Jay Davidson on B3 organ, Mike Boone on bass and John Swana on trumpet. In my opinion, John is truly one of the most under appreciated and gifted trumpeters in jazz…a world class musician who should be everyone’s radar.

Eric Bazilian

Collectively, they started things off with a T. Lavitz original, an upbeat tune with a standard blues progession, simply called B-flat Blues. After 15 or 20 minutes of rehearsal working out a suitable arrangement that included a few interesting rhythmic kicks, we recorded a few short takes of this song.

John Swana

But the highlight of the session for me personally was when T suggested an original ballad of his, a tune called Tears. Unbeknownst to him, it was the 1st tune I ever heard him play years ago. It was the song that first turned me on to him musically…so it was naturally a bit extra special. He sat down at the acoustic grand piano and, after working through the chart, along with just Rod on drums, Mike on bass and John on trumpet – adding color and a nice solo passage on muted trumpet – played a beautiful, flawless take of the tune. It still gives me goosebumps to this day.

Thank you, T, for all the beautiful music you have shared with me over the years…this session included. You are missed.

– Tom Emmi / Producer

“I love Studio Jams! It lets me know what I have to do to step up my game.”

— C.S.