This record marks a new beginning for me, and would like to dedicate it to all those who like myself are striking out on their own and going it alone. Don’t be afraid to follow your dreams. I did and now this record is for you!
On November 5th, 2002 at 11:00 hours I entered in to Studio "D" of UNIQUE RECORDING STUDIOS in Times Square NYC with my producer/engineer Joe Berger along with S.F.Bay Area musicians Ronnie Smith (drums) and Alex Budman (tenor sax). I had just come back from performing in Shanghai at the first MUSIC CHINA. My mission was clear…because of all our busy schedules and logistical problems, we had a 4 hour window to play down 13 of my original composition live to Pro Tools recording format with Joe Berger at the controls, ably assisted by Health Aiken.
From the first tune i knew that this would be my best record ever. Twelve of the tracks made this record and the 13th will be on the next record!
As I was telling the musicians…on this record each of us is larger that life. Iam very proud to feature the underiable pocket feel of Ronnie Smith, the great left-handed funk drummer from East Oakland. Also it is my pleasure to feature on the finest and most musical tenor saxophonists to come out of the Bay Area in a long time: Alex Budman. The incredible guitar work features my long-time partner Joe Berger (Ham-Berger Productions). Joe has played with John Entwistle, Vangelis and many greats, plus he is responsible for the fine sound of this recording and mastering Joe joined the band on tracks 1 & 3, title song Hammond’s Bolero and Cannonball 99.
Bobby and Joanne Nathan’s Unique Recording Studios was the perfect studio and environment for our live recording. Special thanks to Bobby and Joanne and the Unique staff!
I fired up the house HAMMOND organ and felt right at home immediately. Although we cut these tunes in one session, (a new speed record at Unique Recording Studios!). It took my whole life to refine my songs and get to this point where I was ready to record them…and ALSO to select musicians who could not only play their asses off, but are very nice cats who play my music with much enthusiasm and uplifting spirit. Like all bandleaders I have had more than my share of nightmare situations with "difficult" musicians so I am always happy when I can record and play with trouble-free musicians on the ban! These are the guys.
This was Ronnie’s first trip to New York City. The night before our session he and Alex went to hear the Village Vanguard Monday Night Bigband while I stayed home in my Times Square apartment preparing the music for the sessions.
I have plenty to be thankful for this year and so I would like to thank all of the people who helped me somehow to make this album of my compositions a reality. It’s been a long time coming even though we recorded it in record time. Please read my special thanks and if i somehow omitted your name and you know you belong on the list, please forgive me as my mind gets a little cloudy teh older I get, but I didn’t really forget even one person who has helped me on this long journey up to the release of "Hammond’s Bolero". Now buy the record and come out to our gigs! Come by the bandstand and say hi, I’m easy to find…I’ll either be behind my HAMMOND organ or strapped in to my EXCELSIOR Accordion. As my friends from Russia and Ukraine say. "Nastarovya!" However you say it….here’s to your health and my romantic music here on this disc comes from our hearts to all people around the world in the international language of instrumental music…in the rhythm of life!
If you bought this album I would like to personally say "Thankyou!"…then, on the other hand, if you might be one of those who somehow weasled a free copy of "Hammond’s Bolero" off of me by telling us that we would get a gig or radio play, etc…I hope you’ll really come through! And if I catch you playing this in your restaurant or club and we still haven’t gotten a gig…expect to have the disc confiscated immediately by yours’ truly…it wouldn’t be the first time!
Enjoy the music everybody and the fine playing by my great musicians!"