08.10.17More Great gigs!
Since my last update there have been many great gigs that I've had -
- with my own World on a String Trio - performances at a great new downtown Jersey City Jazz Series, at Maureen's Jazz Cellar in Nyack, at the Bar Next door in Greenwich Village, at LUNA stage in Orange NJ ( w/special guest Mike Lee ) and at a concert in a beautiful park on the St Lawrence river, with Canada in view on the other side, and a beautiful sunset during the last set
- two nights with the ever inspirational Paul Winter with a stellar Brazilian Quartet he put together with bassist Nilson Matta and percussionist Rogerio Boccato at Mark Morganelli's wonderful new club in Tarrytown, the Jazz Forum.
- a duo concert w/the fantastic Brazilian guitarist Romero Lubambo - I have played one concert annually for the past 8 years at this fantastic venue. Have done concerts w/Frank Wess, Rufus Reid, Helio Alves, Santi Debriano, my own World on a String Trio, Gene Bertoncini and Ed Laub - They have created a GREAT Jazz concert series and I always look forward to coming back!
- I filled in for guitar genius Gene Bertoncini at his regular Thursday night NYC gig at Ryan's Daughter, playing duo with his regular bassist Josh Marcum
- Two concerts in upstate NY with Wally Seibel Big Band featuring Nick Marchione, ( lead trumpet player with the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, the Birdland Big Band and more )
- was a major part of BRAZIL'17, a Brazilian concert featuring the music of Chico Buarque at Le Poisson Rouge ( the former Village Gate ) in NYC
- tow great gigs - at Trumpets isn Montclair NJ and at the Bitter End in NYC - for vocalist Sarah Partridge's CD release ( the music of Janis Ian ) - great singer, great band - and a wonderful CD, which we recorded last year
- In duo with Gene Bertoncini, we did a master class and performance for the annual Guitarfest at William Patterson University where we are both on the faculty
- Played a wonderful concert with Requinte Trio - featuring singers Janis Siegel and Nanny Assis, and pianist John DiMartino, with special guest Randy Becker - my first time working with him - at the fantastic new venue in the Village, the Sheen Center
- with singer Susie Meisner and her quintet at Chris' Jazz Cafe in Philadelphia
- and at the Cabin Fever Concert Series ( a wintertime series in upstate Potsdam, NY ) I played a duo concert with the wonderful trombonist Bret Zvacek - we are looking forward to recording a duo CD sometime soon
- I made the annual week long trip to Ketchikan Alaska ( in January! ) for performing and teaching as part of their annual jazz and cabaret celebration
- on the way to Alaska I stopped off in Seattle for a few days, and played duo with the great bassist Chuck Deardorf in nearby Olympia at the wonderful club Traditions. I've been stopping off there every year and have played duo there with other west coast greats Jovino Santos Neto and John Stowell
- and last New Year's Eve I played solo guitar at the beautiful Lake Placid Lodge in the Adirondacks. It was a great way to start what has been a wonderful year of music so far!
10.01.16Great gigs with singers...
A fantastic week of music with wonderful singers - Tuesday and Wednesday nights I was part of the tribute/celebration of Jon Hendricks 95th Birthday at iridium. Jon was honored by having the likes of Kurt Elling, Janis Siegal, his own daughters Aria and Michelle Hendricks, Kevin Mahogany, the Royal Bobsters with Pete McGuiness and Amy London, and Nanny Assis all singing tunes that he wrote lyrics to. What a beautiful time and spirit in the room!
And then I played tonite with the wonderful singer Nancy Marano at a house concert in Tarrytown - and with a fantastic band - Steve LaSpina on bass and Scott Robinson on tenor. Beautiful tunes and great arrangements. And another great audience to play for.
06.01.16New online guitar courses
Not long ago I was approached by a new company about putting together online courses for guitar. I liked the idea and vision of what they were talking about, and since then I have worked on and completed four of these. These are now available on their website. Each course is about an hour ( usually slightly longer ) and is made up of short video tracks that are grouped into 6 lessons, each about 10 minutes long.
I’ve enjoyed doing these, and in all of them I have worked hard to clearly explain the thinking behind the music, so that in all of these the students will have critical understanding and tools to build and develop their own music. Assuming these courses are as successful as I believe they will be, I plan to make more. These would also be based on the feedback I get and what I hear students are looking for.
So, if that sounds at all interesting, please take look at them below...
The first course I made is for those who want to understand the basic structure, or language, of music on the guitar. These may be beginners or can be any guitarists who already play but do it by ear, are self taught, etc., and who just want to develop their own music by seeing clearly how it’s built on the instrument. I’ve had several students in recent years, both beginners and players, who were looking for exactly this kind of information - Basic Language for Guitar -
To see this course click here
Two others are for guitarists who are interested in and have begun playing jazz. The first offers direction and clear guidance for understanding the language of this music - the scales and modes and their connection to the harmony.
- A Scale for Every Chord -
To see this course click here
The second gives very practical tools to begin improvising in a coherent way - Building Melodies from the Chords -
To see this course click here
I think both of these courses will benefit beginning improvisors a great deal.
The last is a course on playing solo jazz guitar, which has many challenges but can also be deeply rewarding. For this I used a composition of my own which i recorded on my first solo guitar CD some years ago. The course covers all aspects of that music, the composing, arranging, improvising, and performance, and I believe that the thought processes that went into all of these parts offer valuable insight for guitarists of any sort who want to develop a solo guitar repertoire.
- Solo Guitar - Blues for the Millennium -
To see this course click here
Also, for each course, the first two video lectures are offered for FREE so that you can get an idea of how they will go. I think you will find that they are very reasonably priced - and you can stream them as many times as you want, for as long as you want - forever…!
I hope you enjoy what you see and hear...and please do tell your guitar playing/interested friends about them too.
Thank you, and keep swinging!
02.29.16Blues for the Millennium now available as a Download!
I am glad to announce that my first solo CD ( I've done four to date ) is now available as a download. In the late 1990's, after working on solo guitar playing for years, I finally felt I had developed a voice of my own. So I spent a lot of time putting the music together and practicing/developing it for the recording - and it really did come out great. One of the first copies I made I gave to the wonderful bass player Ray Drummond, and he got back to me and told me he loved the music. In fact he very graciously offered me a review of the CD, and coming from a master like that, I was and still and honored ( Thank you again Ray! )... It says more than I could and does it
better, so I add it below...
"In his remarkable solo guitar CD "Blues for the Millennium" Paul Meyers shows what's possible with only those six strings at his disposal. It's hard to believe that this recording contains no overdubs as a number of times I'd swear that there might be as many as three guitars playing at once. Paul succeeds in documenting his solo guitar work in a setting that not only showcases his talents as a performer, but demonstrates his abilities as a producer of the first order. His programming displays an incredibly rich mixture of musical styles including Be-Bop, Brazilian, Bartok, and the Blues. Throughout this CD the essence of each of these styles is purely distilled into the 'real deal'; i.e. each style sounds awfully true to the tradition that spawned it. Additionally, the lush, warm, excellently recorded sound captures a quality rarely found on most of today's CDs: genuine feeling! The blues are in evidence all over this disc. Make no mistake about it, these are happy blues. And this is music for the soul; music to lift the spirit!"
--- Ray Drummond [Teaneck, NJ 1998]
So, I'm glad it's now available in the 21st century format! The 16 tracks - 4 originals, including the title track, several arrangements of standards ( including my take on Herbie Hancock's solo piano version of On Green Dolphin St ) and jazz standards ( Con Alma ), a fantastic Brazilian tune, Dori Caymmi's Toucan's Dance and seven of the Bartok Mikrokosmos great piano pieces that I transcribed/arranged for guitar. ....are 99c a track or the whole thing for just $9.99 at CD Baby. --- http://www.cdbaby.com ---
( PS - Not available on Spotify....!!! )
Hello everyone, wishing you all a peaceful and joyous holiday season. Just a quick note on some wonderful music - I played the Paul Winter Solstice concerts on Dec 17 through 19, four shows, a wonderful and unique event and performed as part of the "samba band" that accompanied two amazing guest artists he brought up from Brazil. They were two that I was not familiar with but they are both rather big names already and both incredible singers - Renato Braz, and Fabiana Cozza - check them out when you have a chance. You can see and hear a lot of the concert on Paul Winter's website.
And shortly coming up is a CD release event (on January 10) at the Blue Note for the Requite Trio - which features Janis Siegel, who's been with Manhattan transfer for many years now, and Nanny Assis, a fantastic Brazilian singer and percussionist. Along with the great pianist/arranger john DiMartino, the three of them put together a wonderful repertoire if Brazilian music (and some American music done Brazilian style) - and Janis has really embraces and absorbed the Portuguese language and sound.
Leo Traversa on bass and myself on guitar round out the group, and our CD has been nominated in three categories for a Grammy this year. It's available as a download on Artist Share, and I hope some of you will be able to join us for the CD release gig.
There's always much more brewing and coming up, including some great gigs with my own trios (both jazz and Brazilian) in February - keep an eye on my itinerary page to keep track, and hope to see you soon.
All best wishes for the New Year too!
10.24.15Grammy nominations!! and more...
We just heard the news that the brand new "Requinte" CD has been nominated for Grammy's in 3 categories (Best jazz album, best jazz vocals and best arrangement). This fantastic Brazilian project featuring the great Janis Siegal (see my update from May) along with Nanny Assis and John DiMartino has recorded and absolutely beautiful CD - it's done and is now available as a download (on ArtistShare) with the physical CD to be released very soon.
This past summer was wonderful.I spent a lot of time in beautiful upstate NY and had some great gigs in the area. I worked with Steve Wilson and Gene Bertoncini in Potsdam and Schenectady, and brought my World on a String Trio up from NYC for concerts and a master class in Saratoga, Potsdam and at the beautiful historic Edwards Opera House which is in Edwards NY in the Adirondacks. I also played quite a few great Tuesday night solo gigs out on the deck by the Raquette River at Maxfields in Potsdam where the fantastic trombonist Bret Zvacek came and sat in several times.
This fall I've already had gigs with my trio, then with my trio with special guest Eric Alexander, the great tenor player.
Also were two more nights at Mintons with the legendary Jon Hendricks as well as 5 shows w/Mark Morganelli's Samba band (and that was all on the same weekend!). Coning in November is a solo concert at the Drawing Room in Brooklyn on the 15th and a return to Trumpets in Montclair with my World on a String Quintet.
I've started another year of teaching at William Patterson University with Bill Charlap now at the helm, who brings his incredible musicality and knowledge to the program. Also at New Jersey City University the great Walt Weiskopf heading things, and at City College in NYC, where I also have private students.
...and more of course, just keep checking in with my itinerary page to see what's coming, and hope to see some of you at some of them!
In the past few months I've had some more great gigs with the amazing Jon Hendricks, who is now 93 years old, still swinging' his tail off. We worked at Minton's in Harlem (speaking of history!) for a weekend back in February and then again in April. This last time the incredible Andy Bey came down and sat in on Bye Bye Blackbird - two of the greatest make vocalists of all time sang and traded scat licks back and forth and tore the place up. Beautiful!
I also reunited with Paul Winter for a fantastic all Brazilian concert he did in Connecticut in March w/Nilson Matta, Rogerio Boccato. I had not worked with him since doing some of his Winter Solstice concerts in NYC, and he put together a set of wonderful music, featuring beautiful tunes by Carlos Lyra, for that event.
The East meets West Trio (w/Gene Bertoncini and John Stowell) played another biannual gig at The Bar Next Door in Greenwich Village, and I have a gig coming up featuring Gene and myself in upstate NY in July - In fact that month I'll be up there quite a bit, doing two concerts with my World on a String Trio as well as playing two nights with Wally Seibel's big band featuring the fantastic Steve Wilson. Then in late July the new project with Janis Siegal (speaking of great singers!) will play one of our first concerts near Atlantic City - with plans for many more...
This all along with continued teaching at both William Patterson University and New jersey City University (some wonderful students coming up!) and other gigs around the city and nearby, as well as writing and arranging (I'm now putting a book of my music together for big band - little by little!).
I hope you all have a great summer and see you soon.
07.28.14Quartet w/Harry Allen
Most of you know that I recorded a quartet CD with the wonderful Frank Wess several years ago, and I worked with Frank many times after that, both as a duo with the quartet from the recording (great players, Martin wind on bass and Tony Jefferson on drums). I'm continuing the Quartet project with Harry Allen, who I recently worked two great nights with at some gigs in upstate New York. We'll have the same rhythm section, and hope to see you somewhere in the city soon…!
05.12.14new project w/Janis Siegal and Nanny Assis
I'm involved in a new Brazilian project with Janis Siegal (from Manhattan Transfer) and a great percussionist/singer from Bahia - we did a promo video (see the link) and it came out great, hope you enjoy and hope to see you w/this project on stage somewhere soon!
04.19.14duets w/Andy Bey
One great thing that happened for me recently happened when I sent my recent solo guitar CD "Welcome Home" to Andy Bey. He called and told me how much he enjoyed the music (all my originals) and the playing, and that already was great to hear.
But then about a month later he called and said he'd written lyrics to the first tune, which we had not talked about, he just did it because he liked it and had been listening a lot. So, that was wonderful - and then another call a month or so later and he said he'd written lyrics to 3 more of the tunes - (fantastic!) - And a bit later he wrote lyrics to one more, When I toured w/Andy for 9 years, we ended up doing a number of great gigs just as a duo towards the end.
So, now we've performed my music (w/his lyrics) once so far, at the Bar Next Door over a year ago. That one was actually trio, with the wonderful bassist Leo Traversa going us. We did the originals and some great standards and be-bop tunes that Andy likes to sing and scat on. (And swing everyone into bad health!). Now I have a gig coming up on May 11 that will just be our duo at a beautiful performance space in Brooklyn, the Drawing Room. And I'm hoping to get these turns recorded soon as well.
It's been awhile since I've updated and a lot has happened - The "I Let a Song Go" solo CD was finished and is available from me (I'll have to get a clip on the website soon!) - all standards, solo guitar, except for one samba original of mine. It came out great and I'm looking for a label to put it out on.
And my very first trio record (yes, I'm talking about vinyl…!), has been rereleased by Hindsight records. It's called "Blues for Henry Miller", and it was done with a trio I played a lot with in the early 1980's, just after I moved back to New York City. Bassist Dick Sarpola (a buddy from New England Conservatory) and drummer/composer Mark Plank and I had started playing and touring together regularly. The album features originals of both myself and Mark (including his title tune) as well as the standard I'm Old Fashioned. I had not listened to the music in a long time and was nicely surprised to hear how well it's held up - we we're really playing…! and it's a great recording too - - It's available as a download only on ITunes, Amazon and other sites.
I also just recorded with a great singer from Denver, Teresa Carroll, for Bob Rusch's Cadence label. It's an adventurous duo CD, mostly standards but also with a Johnny Griffin original that has a strong Monk flavor to it - and great lyrics. Keep an ear out, it should be released fairly soon.
11.07.13CDs at a discount
I am now doing deals on CDs - 1 for $10, 2 for $15, or 4 for $20, plus postage - The reason for the discounts is that so many people are getting music online, sometimes for free. So the CDs don't sell much anymore. I've decided I'd rather sell them and make less money but that way people will have the music. So, let me know if you're interested in that. Also, one of my favorite CDs, Welcome Home (all original solo guitar music) is available for download at CDBaby.com. Please just send me a note and we can work out the details of which CDs you'd like and payment - you can mail a check or use paypal...
I have another new solo CD in the works. I'm doing a second one for the UpNorth Project, a great program which supports artists in the North Country (the part of NY State that lies between the Adirondacks and Canada) recording again for them this September. On this one I'm again using the beautiful nylon string guitar I have made by Matt Rubendall. The new CD will be standards. Always good to revisit those and see what new perspectives one is hearing on them. Look for this one to come out in a few months.
The first one I did with them is already out. "Welcome Home" features all of my own music. I'm very excited about it and how it turned out. I took on the challenge of writing and performing original pieces that are complete and integrated in all aspects, melody/harmony and rhythm. You can read more about it below in the Welcome Home section. By the way, you can purchase the CD here, but its also available as a download at CDBaby.
"Your Place or Mine" is also a recent CD, duo with Bob Kindred, a wonderful tenor player in New York who I've worked with a lot over the years. He really embodies the rich tradition of the horn and we did a lovely album of duets, and one trio featuring his wife, singer Anne Phillips, all great standards and one original of each of us.
In the works is a CD with another great nylon string guitarist, Freddie Bryant and fantastic Brazilian percussionist (and singer/songwriter) Cafe - we've started recording a great project of originals but its on hold for now - I'll keep you updated.
Another project I'm lookiing forward to is this one, and its very exciting to me. As some of you know I recorded and toured with the great Andy Bey for 9 years, and he's another one of kind tremendous musician. I'm featured on his Grammy nominated "American Song", and also recorded with him on the previous two - "Tuesdays in Chinatown" and "Shades of Bey". It's all on acoustic guitar with a special ambiance that's centered around his unique sound and concept. I performed regularly with Andy and his trio in NY and on the road from 1998 to 2007, and in the later years we played some of the smaller venues as just a duo - we did that at several great venues, including Paris (opening up for McCoy Tyner), the old Jazz Bakery in LA, and in NYC at the Jazz Gallery.
The duo w/Andy had a special intimacy and open quality, and recently Andy surprised me by writing lyrics to four of my original tunes from my new solo CD "Welcome Home" - We've done one gig together playing that music and I am now looking at recording that project - again, I'll keep you posted..
I'm continuing occasional work with the great Jon Hendricks, most recently at his 90th (!!) birthday celebration concert at Lincoln Center last September. I've been working with this master for more than 17 years now. The rhythm section is beautiful, too - we've played all over the US and throughout Europe, and Jon just keeps on going - he's an inspiration!
I also travel once or twice a year to Seattle to perform and teach. Most recently I did a wonderful duo concert and then shared workshop with the great singer Nancy King, and did the same w/guitarist john Stowell before that. I've also performed w/Jovino Santos Neto and his group, Chuck Deardorf, Hans Teuber. and others out there. They all teach at Cornish and they brought me in to work with students there as well. This conncection began with Michael Biller and his Seattle Jazz Guitar Society. Thanks Micheal!
From a few years further back but continuing... -
- a duo CD w/bassist Santi Debriano below on Mapleshade, with standards and a couple of spirituals. This was the follow up to "Euforia", our great trio CD w/drummer Vanderlei Pereira (see World on a String above). That was another special chemistry and we still reunite from time to time to perform.
- my earlier solo CDs, Dusk to Dawn from 2004 and my first solo guitar CD "Blues for the Millennium" (1997). I am continuing to give solo performances featuring that music along with the newer things.
- tours with the wonderful Brazilian jazz pianist Eliane Elias and her great band with guest Dave Valentin,
- concerts here and in Japan with the great Pablo Ziegler and his band. He was the pianist with Astor Piazzola for 15 years and continues that tradition with his own music. A CD, "Tango and all that Jazz" is available, recorded at the Jazz Standard w/guest vibraphonist Stephon Harris.
- Trio Concertant, a group I was with for over 10 years, no longer performing. Two great musicians, cellist Annabelle Hoffman and bassist Dennis James, put the group together and asked me to be the third voice. They were (and still are!) incredible musicians. We had co-arranged music as diverse as Couperin, Bartok, Strayhorn and Hermeto Pascoal. Our an award-winning CD is out on the GM label.
I also continue to enjoy teaching at William Patterson University and New Jersey City University where see a lot of great young talent pass through. I continue to travel to Ketchikan, Alaska, which I've doing every January for the past 11 years, for two weeks of master classes, workshops and performing - a really beautiful place and community. I've done concert/clinics in Ottawa, Dartmouth College in New Hampshire, in Seattle for the Seattle Jazz Guitar Society, at William Patterson University in NJ, at the American Institute of the Guitar in New York, the Newark Museum, Washington's Pocket Series in NYC, and many more - I'll be doing another concert/clinic in April 2013 at the University of Colorado in Denver.
I've put out a new solo CD called Welcome Home. It's all original music and definitely jazz, but in a variety of rhythmic styles and moods. Some are solo versions of tunes I recorded with my World on a String project and there is definitely a strong Brazilian influence on several tracks, like the opening tune, Walking. That's a baiao, a rhythm from northeast Brazil, and there's also a samba, and a slow rubato tune that ends as a bossa nova. There are several jazz tunes, one in a Latin rhythm and others that are harder to define - The title tune is in 5/4 and is influenced by my listening to African music and guitar playing, and that influence shows itself in the tune River as well.
It's a very exciting body of work for me. Most of the pieces started out as a tune, or sometimes just a rhythmic vamp. And of course I wanted solos, improvisations in them. Some stayed clearly there, like the Opener, which is very traditional and easy to follow. Others started from the same point, a song form, a melody with a clear harmonic structure, but then may have evolved with introductions, key changes and/or tempo changes for different sections etc, though all still based on the original tune. River is like that. I wrote that one years ago and at first played it with a group only. Like the Opener it was just a straight blowing tune, though longer and more complex. As I played it over the years I came up with an introduction, key changes and a meter change for one section. And those things are all variations in their own way too, but now they're not just melodic variations over the repeating chord structure but variations in texture, tempo, key. Bartok is a favorite composer of mine and he, for example, does all these things wonderfully in his music - or Beethovan of course. And then there's Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn...Whew!!!
Comments from fellow musicians on "Welcome Home" ---
"Just wanted to let you know that I received your "Welcome Home CD and that I enjoyed your playing very much. It's good to hear someone who has put time into developing good voicings and a great harmonic sense. Good luck with your music." - Ralph Towner
"Hey Paul, the CD is a (expletive deleted) killer! Outstanding the writing, the playing, everything!" - Vic Juris
"The CD is the bomb...really quite beautiful.... I hope when I get to be your age I can get that kind of thing going for myself...(laugh)" - Andy Bey
"It's a beautiful piece of work. Beautiful playing, beautiful touch.... What I like so much and admire so much about this recording of yours is that, to these ears, it sounds so relaxed... everything is beautifully conceived and executed! My hearty congratulations!!!" - Steve Khan
11.18.10Quartet w/Frank Wess (and Andy Bey)
And here's another very special project - "Paul Meyers Quintet featuring Frank Wess", I still get wonderful feedback about this one. Its a relaxed, straight ahead jazz project of mainly standards featuring the great Frank Wess on tenor saxophone and flute. The idea was to have a swinging rhythm section (wonderful players, Martin Wind on bass and Tony Jefferson on drums) and a horn player and do a fun, simple blowing session. Having worked with Frank a few times in recent years, I felt a rapport with him and was delighted to have him agree to be a part of the project. Again, for myself to feature the nylon string only playing straight ahead was something I'd been looking forward to. I also asked Andy Bey (see below) to sing one tune (Lazy Afternoon) on the CD, and it all came out beautifully. This one got a lot of radio play as well. We still perform from time to time - at the last gig Frank was 89 and swinging his tail off!!!
06.06.10World on a String
A great ongoing project for me is"World on a String". Both my playing and writing have evolved over the years from my interest and exploration of both the jazz tradition and also Brazilian music, which I have also spent a great deal of time learning about and playing. Other interests, including "classical" music (and here I mention especially the music of the great Bela Bartok) and have also influenced my thinking, playing and composing/arranging.
I've always had bands to play my own music and this particular group has been together and performing since 2002. We recorded a CD that came out a couple of years ago to great critical response on the Miles High label. The full quintet features some fantastic musicians. Donny McCaslin (on sax and flute), Helio Alves (piano), Leo Traversa (bass) and Vanderlei Pereira (drums) all work with me playing the nylon string guitar. The repertoire is my original compositions and arrangements, using this core of great players/improvisers to perform music that fuses the jazz tradition with Brazilian & Latin and beyond. Donny of course has gained a reputation as one the top saxophonists on the jazz scene today. Helio and Vanderlei, both tremendous players from Brazil, lend a strong accent from that country. Helio is another tremendously dynamic soloist, and Vandelei brings in a deep knowledge of Brazilian and Afro-Cuban rhythms. Leo is a veteran player of all of these styles as well as much African music. It's my own version of world music, but all with a swinging, grooving foundation. We play as a quintet, but because of the realities of gigging, also play the same music sometimes as a quartet and a trio. Since Donny is so busy, I've had other great players (Ingrid jensen on trumpet, Mark Sherman on vibes, Jorge Continentino and Mark Vincy on sax, Bret Zvacek on trombone) sub for him and each has brought another voice to that melody/soloist role. I also had the great pianist Helen Sung fill in for Helio one time. Its an ongoing project that I love, and I hope you'll get to hear us soon!