"I love the richness of the chords, the melodies, the romantic lyrics, the rhymes."
I started singing in public at age 7, when the cute young nun Sister Rose Cecile decided she wanted to create a select chorus to sing French songs. In Jeffersonville, IN, where I grew up. I was born in Louisville, KY.
Tonsillectomy + removal of vocal cord polyps at age 12 was a major singing setback.
I started playing guitar at age 14. The Yardbirds and Antônio Carlos Jobim were my heroes. Later, Jimi Hendrix, Frank Zappa, Jerry Garcia, & Carlos Santana.
College years in the Boston area, 1968-1974, I played in 3 bands. The 1st, Tesseract, was in Spring, 1970. I just found out January 2019 that the "Tom" guy whose band it was was Tom Scholz, who founded the band Boston a few years later. I was a 18 YO sophomore at MIT, Tom was finishing a 5 year masters.
I moved back to Louisville KY 1974, married 1975, 4 kids 1976-1983. Moved to Lexington KY 1981. Very little music, lots of soccer, pretty damn corporate, for over 20 years.
In 1997, prompted by David Bowie "Outside", I started collecting music again.
In 2007, I started playing at blues/rock jams in the Lexington KY area. Besides Lexington, I played in Richmond, Danville, Nicholasville, and Frankfort. After that, I played at and filled in with the house bands at jams or gigs at several venues.
In 2008, I founded the 4 piece blues/rock/r&b band King Chukka. Drums, bass, 2 guitars, 2 vocalists. The band was named for King William Allen, who has a really unique playing style, where he never loses his "chukka" even when he solos.
In 2011, I started playing at jams in Naples FL in the winter. There are so many professional musicians in SWFL, because there are so many gigs. I am occasionally part of the house band.
From Spring through Autumn 2013, I ran a jam at Henry Clay Public House in downtown Lexington: the Tuesday Night Rock 'n' Roll Party.
In 2014, at the urging of ab fab saxophonist Garland "Tinker" Ball, I founded Acme Dance Band, a 4 piece dance band. Drums, bass, guitar, sax, 3 vocalists.
In 2016, I started taking lessons from the most excellent jazz guitarist Rick Howard, originally of Brooklyn, NY, now of Bonita Springs, FL. I picked up jazz chording techniques readily. I still can't believe that after 50 years of playing guitar I had never heard of the half-diminished (aka m7-5 or m7b5) chord form. Now, if a song has a half-diminished in it, I know it is a good song.
In 2017, I started playing in a duo with Steve Konopka (Fuzzy) on blues harp. We played open mics to rehearse songs, as well as at jams, before we started playing gigs. This was terminated by Steve's death (mesothelioma) in 2019. I still miss my friend, he could find a tasty harp part for almost any song. We worked on ~150 songs together, he could not feel a harp part on only 3.
Late in 2019, I became guitarist/vocalist for Coral Stone Band, a 4-piece dance band out of Bonita Springs, FL, founded by Greg Stone on blues harp, vocals, and schmoozing, supported by great drummer and vocalist Mike Fess, also a Louisville native. Drums, bass, guitar, blues harp, all 4 vocalists and good harmony singers, vocals were kick ass. After playing the Beach Box in Naples, FL March 16, 2020, our gig on March 17, 2020, St. Patrick's Day, at North Naples Country Club was cancelled - the pandemic shutdown had begun.
In the pandemic, from March 26, 2020 to September 10, 2020, while hunkered down in Naples, I added on average 9 new songs/week to my book. Somehow 80% of these were jazz standards. I was practicing 5-6 hrs/day vs. normally more like 2, 7 days/week.
I leveled up on guitar. My right hand plays totally automatically - I quit using a pick ~2010. Occasionally I will notice it should be playing something else, I tell my right hand to play something else & then go back to forgetting about it. My left hand does vibrato on autopilot as well.
Originally back in Lexington, from September 27, 2020 to January 4, 2021, I recorded a song and posted it to YouTube daily — 100 straight days, 80 jazz standards. Since then, I've continued to post a few songs/month. Currently, 2023-04-22, at 173.
I created the Jaz Dumoz persona for these jazz standards. I love the richness of the chords, the melodies, the romantic lyrics, the rhymes.
A lot of these are songs that I grew up with my parents singing. They both loved a good tune, these songs keep their memory alive.
I started a Fats Waller project, currently at 28 Fats songs.
I also try to include introductions to songs when I find them. Often these seem to get lost over the years. There are currently 39 of these songs.
I also harvested songs from the Peter Gunn 1959-1961 TV series. Pete's girlfriend Edie Hart (Lola Albright) sang in restaurants and performed songs in maybe 1/3 of the episodes. In addition to writing the iconic theme song, Henry Mancini was musical director for the show, so I figured that these songs are like Henry's favorite jazz standards. I got maybe 20 songs from Peter Gunn — unfortunately, I did not keep track of which songs. :-(
1 song I got from PG was "easy street", by Julie London from her debut 1955 album "Her Name Is Julie". It's her with Barney Kessel on guitar and Roy Leatherwood on upright bass. That song's not in the set lists, it's too hard, but her hit "cry me a river" is. Her next album in 1956 was "Lonely Girl" with guitarist Al Viola. From there I went to "Sarah + 2" suggested by Rick Howard, Sarah Vaughan w Barney Kessel on guitar & an upright bass. Next up, Ella Fitzgerald with Joe Pass; Joe Pass "Virtuoso"; Johnny Mathis "Open Fire, 2 Guitars". Lots of good vocal / guitar combos to learn from.
My Jaz Dumoz book now has ~170 songs in it - way too many. I need to get these songs out to the public to start evolving that songbook, via moving songs to the "Jaz Dumoz Other" (tried & died) book, There are usually ~70 jazz standards in my list to be worked up, with more coming in steadily. Usually ~>10 in process, being practiced pre recording. I need to keep the work flow going ... I have infrastructure, I am a process ...
This is always my problem, regardless of genre, I always have way too many songs. I cannot resist the siren's call of a catchy tune. ;->
Check the "Jaz's Jukebox" page for most of my current songs. If your favorite is not there, let me know via the "Contact" page. I love getting requests.