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Hot! Episode #5

Episode #5

Recording Date: April 19, 2003
Location: Sigma Sound Studios, Philadelphia


James Lloyd – Keyboards
Curtis Harmon – Drums
Gerald Veasley – Bass
Hector Rosado – Percussion
Rey Vega – Trumpet
Richie Cole – Saxophone

Those Days of Wine & Roses     BUY
Moanin’                                      BUY
Meeting of Minds                       BUY

Buy This Episode on DVD

This was fun session for me, as it was the first time I had the opportunity to work with both keyboard player James Lloyd and drummer Curtis Harmon, two of the founding members of the jazz group Piece of a Dream.

Both are such seasoned pros, and I have since had the pleasure of working with them again on different projects. Pieces of a Dream came out of Philadelphia in the  1970’s, and was taken under wing by the late great Grover Washington, Jr. back when they were only teenagers. James is a wonderfully expressive player and someone who has become one of my favorite pianists.

The entire band that day consisted of James Lloyd on keyboards, Curtis Harmon on drums, Gerald Veasley on bass, Hector Rosado on percussion, Ray Vega on trumpet and the legendary Richie Cole on alto saxophone.

Ray Vega

Ray has now established himself as one of the innovators of the international Jazz and Latin music scenes. A multi-talented trumpeter, percussionist, composer, and arranger, he presents jazz from a refreshingly original and contemporary perspective. When I invited Ray to the session, he enthusiastically jumped on board as he, too, was a fan of Pieces of a Dream and hadn’t yet had an opportunity to work with any of them. Besides being a true master of the sax, Richie is a brilliant arranger and composer, an educator, founder and director of The Alto Madness Orchestra.  He was awarded a scholarship to Berklee College of Music in 1966 and went on to become lead sax with Buddy Rich, Lionel Hampton and Doc Severinsen.

Richie Cole

It was interesting to see how easily Ray and Richie joined forces as the “horn section” for this session. I also couldn’t help but notice how easily Richie seemed to blend in with some of “younger” cats that were there.

Collectively, they started the session with an old standard, The Days Of Wine & Roses. After a brief rehearsal, led mostly by James and Curtis, we cut this tune in one take. It features nice solo passages from Richie, Ray and James. James then suggested another classic, Moanin’. James and Gerald worked through a nice arrangement, one that began with James improvising on solo piano.

After a couple takes of this tune, we all took a short break to listen back to some of what we just cut.

Curtis Harmon

After returning to the studio, we only had time to cut one more tune. Rather than select an existing song, they opted instead to simply create something new on the spot. Curtis suggested they build on a riff he had in his head, and off they went. After 15 minutes or so of rehearsal time, we recorded a brand new “song” – one that Curtis aptly named Meeting of Minds as we were all packing up to leave after the session was complete.

– Tom Emmi / Producer

“At my school, everyone in band thinks that music is about copying, not creating. They all need to watch your show. That would show them what it’s all about.”

— B.J.