When I was thirteen years old my mother and father placed a guitar in my hands and said "Play." - and I did. My uncle Al was a guitarist and I wanted to play like him. It was unconditional love from the start. I barely made it through high school because of all the time I spent on the instrument.
The high points in my studies include time spent with Dennis Sandole, the renowned music and guitar teacher from Philadelphia, and with Johnny Smith. He is a great musician and person. I idolize him to this day.
Some of my heroes on guitar go back to Charlie Christian and Django Reinhardt. They also include Tal Farlow, Jim Hall, Joe Pass, Wes Montgomery. There are really too many to name them all.
Phil Woods' quintet was my favorite group to play with. I toured with them and recorded two albums during that period. Phil taught me how to speed up. I had to in order to keep up with him.
I went through a really rough period since 1985. A series of tragic events occurred including a heart attack, the death of my wife, and the diagnosis of my own cancer in the spring of 1988. When discovered, it was already in the fourth stage and did not seem to bode well for my future. Since then, I feel like some sort of Phoenix rising from the ashes.
This album was recorded in March 1989, when I wasn't sure I'd be around to write these liner notes.
John and Chris Macey, friends and former students of mine, produced this album which was recorded at Rudy Van Gelder's studio in Englewood Cliffs. It was recorded in two sessions. They just set the tape rolling and let me play. The selections include works by some of my favorite composers plus one of my own. I hope you enjoy it.
Special thanks to Harry and Edith Leahey, Sr. and family, Edie Eustice, Bill Sisko, Tom Anthony, John and Chris Macey, the Jersey Jazz Society and the many musicians and fans that have supported me over the years.
North Plainfield, NJ