THE TROPICAL DREAM
After sustaining a back injury and being unable to play guitar or do much else, what I needed was a healing, tropical vacation. I got my wish by writing this album. My goal was to outline a trip to a tropical destination using elements of Caribbean, World and Smooth Jazz. It is, at times, joyous, poignant and reflective--pretty much the feelings I was experiencing during my convalescence. Most of it was written on a small keyboard as that was the only musical "tool" I was physically able to work with. I had recorded all of my guitar parts before my injury (thankfully), so for the first time, I never physically played together with anyone on this album. There was a lot of pain endured to bring this project to life. There were also many people to manage. In the end though, I'm glad I went through it as the album received solid reviews and lots of airplay. This project also marked my sudden and unexplained transition to grey hair.
1. Happy Landings
This was an older story tune of mine with lyrics. I decided reworking it would make the perfect setting for the enthusiasm that builds when you are preparing for, and traveling to, a tropical destination. It's been very popular with listeners.
2. Back Home
A deliberate homage to the Venezuelan harpist, Hugo Blanco, using similar instrumentation and exuberance to convey the feeling of returning to your island “home.” I was very fortunate to find a Paraguayan harpist named Martha Mazzoleni who did a wonderful job on the track.
3. Evening Fire
A reggae tinged tune setting the scene for a couple on a beach at night. The element of “fire” is left to your imagination.
4. Market Rush
A musical experiment in mostly 6/4 that uses only four different notes (C, D, G, A) for all parts; melody, harmony and bass line. My goal was to sustain interest with limited means. I wanted to capture a busy marketplace that was familiar and yet, exotic.
5. Sand Buckets
An iconic image of sand buckets and children make up this reflective piece.
6. A Day of Rain
A rainy day bossa nova to capture the inevitable. Thankfully most tropical rains don’t last too long!
7. Clear Skies Ahead
The second “weather” piece that is a natural follow-up to track 6. Its exuberance cannot be denied. This is one melody that came to me very quickly and trumpet had to have the lead.
8. Last One In…
One of the few pieces on the album written on guitar. Although I like the music, I was not satisfied with the rendering of it.
9. A Little Jungle Walk
I wanted an interlude that described the title. Using piano and cello, it cycles through feelings of apprehension and eventually leads to one of awe at the beauty of a tropical jungle.
10. Playin’ the Fool
As your vacation is winding down, chances are you might be extra determined to blow off a little steam. In this case, the music suggests some serious imbibing with results that are dependent on your imagination!
Meant to capture the inevitable sadness felt the day before you have to depart from a wonderful, tropical paradise. This was the first track I wrote for the album and it’s easily been one of the most popular for radio listeners.
12. Bye for Now
Fittingly, this was the last piece I wrote for the album. I struggled to find the right melody to convey that sense of longing when you’re saying goodbye. I think I found it though. At the same time, our pet cat of 17 years, Mimi, was ill beyond hope and had to be put to sleep. In the vet’s office I noticed a poem called, "The Rainbow Bridge.” It was essentially saying that you will be reunited with your beloved pet after you’ve passed on. It motivated me to use her purring which was recorded during her last days. If you listen closely, you can hear it blended with the sounds of the ocean at the beginning and at the ending fade out. So, in effect, the titled suggested the end and likely return to a tropical paradise, as well as highlighting the sentiments expressed in that poem.