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Hot! Episode #11

Episode #11

Recording Date: September 25, 2002
Location: Milkboy Recording Studios, Ardmore, PA

Steve Oliver – Guitar
Rayford Griffin – Drums
Jimmy Roberts – Saxophone
Nate Philips – Bass
Emedin Rivera – Percussion


One Way Street                         BUY
C’s Blues                                   BUY
All Blues                                   BUY
My Flamingo                             BUY
Blue Bossa                               BUY

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I was really looking forward to this particular session, mainly because I knew I would be working with a number of good friends. First, there was Rayford Griffin on drums (Michael Jackson, Anita Baker, Dave Koz, The Stanley Clarke Band, Jean-Luc Ponty, Rick Braun, Isley Brothers and many others). I have worked with Rayford on a number of occasions and have loved the experience each and every time. As a musician, he is one of my favorite drummers…funky, tasty and aggressive…and with monster solo chops. He is also a great groove player. But beyond all that, he is truly one of the warmest and nicest people you will ever hope to meet. A class act in every way. Joining Rayford was Nate Phillips on bass (Jeff Lorber, The Gap Band, and others). He too is a rock solid musician and a heck of a nice guy.

Rounding out the rhythm section was percussionist Emedin Rivera. I have known Emedin for almost 30 years, from our days together back in Syracuse, New York. He is an innovative musician, always looking to add a little spice to the mix. His ability to adapt to many styles is always such a plus in sessions like this.

Steve Oliver

Next, there was guitarist Steve Oliver. As a musician, Steve is a little hard to describe. He plays jazz, pop, funk, latin and rock…he sings and scats..he plays acoustic guitar, electric guitar and guitar synth. Call it what you will, but one thing’s for sure…his music is always fresh. Rounding out the group was the great Jimmy Roberts on sax (Rod Stewart, and so many others).

Jimmy Roberts

What a treat it was to meet and finally get to work with Jimmy. Besides being a wonderfully soulful musician, he too was a real joy to work with in the studio.

Collectively, they started the session with one of Steve’s original songs, a tune called One Way Street. After a short rehearsal, we cut that track on one take. That was followed by an abbreviated version of C’s Blues and then an interesting take on Miles Davis’ All Blues. Then it was time for a short break to listen back to some of what we just cut. After 10 or 15 minutes in the control room, we all moved back into the studio to keep things moving forward. Steve then took a few minutes to share another one of his originals to the group…a fun, upbeat rhythmic tune called My Flamingo.

Emedin Rivera

After taping those 4 tunes, our time in the studio was quickly coming to a close. But rather than wrap it up – which nobody really wanted to do! –  Jimmy said “let’s do one more,” and suggested they pick a tune that everyone knew, so that it wouldn’t require much rehearsal time at all, if any. He called out Blue Bossa, and everyone immediately jumped on board with it. It was as spontaneous as it comes. And what a good choice it turned out to be. Jimmy and Steve played beautiful solos as the rhythm section hit it hard. It was a great way to end what turned out to be a very good session.

We taped this at Milkboy Recording Studios in Ardmore, just outside Philadelphia, PA. They have been supporters of our Studio Jams program for a number of years. And not only are they very “musician-friendly,” the staff is sharp and always on top of their game. I highly recommend this studio to any musician, at any level.

– Tom Emmi / Producer

“This show is great…for both learning and listening. It should be on television ALL of the time!”

— N.C.