For Once in My Life, a Tribute to Ted Greene
This is my second CD that I have produced in tribute to my teacher and my friend Ted Greene. I want to begin by stating clearly that: I am not in any way shape or form a solo guitarist, or even a musician anywhere near the level of where Ted was. I am simply a devoted student who believes that what Ted taught and created deserves to be maintained, performed and developed. In "tribute" for me means, as best I can, playing and utilizing everything I have learned from Ted, and integrating that into my own "voice", not imitation or mimicry. Ted always encouraged me to follow the "path less travelled", and I do my best to honor that here.
I am basically a Blues guitarist, who happens to also love Jazz, and has spent his life exploring harmony and the application of advanced harmonic principles on the guitar. The studies that I did with Ted, and how I have applied that to my own playing over the last 40 years, have completely shaped the way that I play guitar, I believe in the best possible ways.
The first tribute CD that I recorded was made not long after Ted had passed away. (You can learn all about that project here, zenguitarguy.bandcamp.com/album/chord-alchemy-a-students-tribute-to-ted-greene-solo-jazz-guitar,)
It was my attempt to interpret several of his challenging solo guitar arrangements. I did my best and a lot of love and long hours went into that project.
In 2017 I began thinking about the core aspects of what Ted taught that I really loved. For me it came down to three basic concepts; his approaches to harmonic accompaniment, an encyclopedic understanding of possibility on the instrument and his love of accompanying great singers. I realized that it was not just the solo guitar arrangements that fascinated and inspired me, but his overall approach to accompaniment that I wanted to explore.
During that time I applied for and won a small grant through the Pathways to Jazz Grant, (a donor advised fund of the Boulder County Arts Alliance). That grant became the seed money that I used in order to begin this project/journey.
I decided that I was not going to try and record or produce another solo guitar CD. In fact I very consciously chose to pursue a direction of unusual arrangements and combinations of possibilities that were distinctly not a solo guitar CD. I wanted to make something that was really my expression of myself as a musician, filtered through the lens of what I had learned from Ted.
I knew that some of the songs I would do as a solo guitar version of a few of his arrangements that I love. I also knew that I wanted to do some unique accompaniment work, so I chose to take a few of the songs and utilize my own harmonic approaches to accompany that particular piece. I worked with a number of great singers to be able to create arrangements for them to sing over. Finally I decided that I was going try and incorporate my love of the blues, ambient music, world music, jazz and fusion approaches because those are styles that inspire me.
Hence the name of the CD "For once in my life". I decided to make a CD that feels beautiful to me, and is a direct expression of my love and respect for Ted and how he supported and influenced me as a musician and human. That is my idea of paying tribute to someone who has had such a profound impact on me as a musician and a human being.
In my life I have lived through many challenges: the passing of my entire family, serious injuries and illnesses, recovering from those injuries and devastating financial losses and life challenges, and throughout all of it guitar and music were a constant. Ted's influence on my life and music are deep and immensely important to me.
So, for once in my life I made a CD exactly the way I want to, with no other agenda other than to make something as beautiful as I possibly can, show tremendous respect for my teacher, and just make something that I want to make because I can make it. (I was really lucky to have a lot of good friends who were willing to invest their time, talent and energy to collaborate with me here.) I've done my best to tell an honest story here and I hope you enjoy the music.
Please visit Ted Greene's website, Tedgreene.com
, and explore the legacy of work that he left behind, and if you are a guitarist you can begin to incorporate some of that vast wealth of knowledge and music into your own music and explorations.
Thank you for listening to this CD.
I would like to thank all of the contributing artists. My friends, who generously gave of themselves to help me create this project. I am so unbelievably grateful for that. Each of you played and sang so beautifully and were willing to try my crazy ideas and support my efforts, and for that I will always be so grateful.
The CD is dedicated to my son Jesse for being my best friend and an excellent human being, to my wife Rocio for being the most amazing, loving and supportive wife a man could ask for, and my stepson Julen for being someone who embodies kindness and generosity of spirit.
Special thanks to: Eliot Ivanhoe for music and healing, Johanna Alper, Suzanne Burnell for decades of healing and support, Barbara Friedman for unconditional kindness and deep insight into the nature of things, Sarah Laidler for a lifelong friendship, Tim Scott for being my brother in all things creative and a fantastic sounding board. Dr. Mao for her skill and care, Ross Meyer for his unconditional kindness and support, Matt Bergdorf for his skill and craftsmanship helping me to care for my instruments, and Frank Verschuuren for always being there when I needed help. Jamie Kime for years of great conversations about all things guitar and sharing a mutual love and respect for Ted Greene. Snuffy Walden for being there when I needed help and for being the kind of musician and human that I aspire to be. Todd Stoneman for being a truly excellent human. Bob Schlesinger for friendship and collaboration. Christian Howes for really great advice on how to be a working musician in this crazy world. John Suhr, Peter Henriksen, Nik Azam, Xotic effects and Line6 Helix, for making great amps and tools that allow musicians to express themselves. Bruce Nazarian - RIP, and thank you for being my mentor, and to all the friends and loved ones lost along the way. I am so grateful for all of you that have supported me on my artistic journey.
“Through all the world there goes one long cry from the heart of the artist: Give me a chance to do my best. ”
― Isak Dinesen, Babette's Feast and Other Anecdotes of Destiny
May all beings be free from the causes of suffering
John March - June 20th, 2020
This CD was funded in part by a grant from The Pathways to Jazz Foundation, a Donor advised fund of the Boulder County Arts Alliance
If you have listened to this CD on Bandcamp for free and enjoyed it, then I would like to encourage you to: PLEASE ACTUALLY CONSIDER BUYING THIS CD! I would encourage you to consider supporting independent music and artists like myself and my collaborators, and actually pay to download and own this CD. I am a serious environmental activist, and cannot justify pressing a physical CD and putting more plastic out into the world, just to support my artistic endeavors, so here is the only place where you will find and be able to purchase these recordings of this music. I am not distributing through iTunes or Amazon, playing on Spotify or any other digital distribution sites.
As an added value I will be donating three dollars for every CD complete digital download as follows:
$1 to onetreeplanted.org
, which is an environmental non-profit committed to reforesting the planet, to try and avert catastrophic climate change. $1 to support the ongoing efforts to tedgreene.com
to help keep Ted's works available to all who want to study what he taught, and I will also donate $1 to the The Musicares Covid-19 Relief Fund to help musicians in need and out of work because of the Covid pandemic.
Thank you for listening to this music and supporting independent artists!
© 2020 John March and Shunyata records. Distribution by permission only, all rights reserved.
released June 20, 2020
John March – Producer, Recording and Mix Engineer, Arranger on all tracks, (except for the solo guitar arrangements of Our Love is Here to Stay and You’ll Never walk alone, which are solo arrangements by Ted Greene), Composer, Guitars
Robert Johnson – All Of Me and Fly Me To The Moon
Mark Oblinger – Both Sides Now and Sweet Lorraine markoblinger.com
Jeff Paris – For Once in My Life
Linda Styles – Summertime and You’ll Never Walk Alone lindastyles.me/linda/
Andreas Oberg - Guest Guitarist – All Of Me andreasoberg.wixsite.com/andreasoberg
Christian Teele - Drums and Percussion on All of me, Fly me to the moon, For Once in My Life
Karl Latham - Drums on Unexpected Blues for Ted
Chris Engleman - Bass - on All of me swing section
Kip Kuepper - Bass - on All of me opening and groove section, on Fly me to the Moon, Summertime, and For Once in My Life coupestudios.com/about/crew/
Tim Scott - Bass - on Both Sides Now
Eric Gunnison – Piano - Fly Me To The Moon www.ericgunnison.com/bio
Jeff Paris - B3 Organ - For Once in My Life
Linda Styles Vocals recorded at CS2.0 studios in Longmont Colorado - recording engineer John McVey
All songs Mixed by John March
Except: John McVey and John March Mixed -
Fly me To the Moon and You'll never Walk Alone
Mastering by John March
CD Cover by John March - Photo by Rocio De Prado Gonzalez
"If I were to wish for anything, I should not wish for wealth and power, but for the passionate sense of the potential, for the eye which, ever young and ardent, sees the possible. Pleasure disappoints, possibility never. And what wine is so sparkling, what so fragrant, what so intoxicating, as possibility!" — Søren Kierkegaard
© 2020 John March and Shunyata records. Distribution by permission only, all rights reserved
(ALSO, Please try not to listen to this through laptop speakers, it is intended for listening through a good sound system and will sound infinitely better if you do! Just sayin...lol) PS Clicking on individual song links will take you to more information about the song.