Hollistic MusicWorks News June 2013

Sunday, June 9th, 2013

Hi all,

Lots to report, actually too much for one post. So for Part 1, here’s some news about recent releases from my little empresa:


Also on eMusic, Amazon MP3, Spotify

UHcoverBLv2smI’m happy to announce that the second volume of works from the Unsung Heroes project is now in wider distribution in the digital realm (UH Vol. 2 was only available through and the HMW website previous to this). The music on Vol. 2 is from the same sessions as the Downbeat 5 star rated Vol. 1, and further develops the project theme of shedding light on the work of “some under appreciated trumpet masters”. On tap are never before recorded compositions of Idrees Sulieman, Tommy Turrentine, along with work by Donald Byrd, Howard McGhee, and Brian Lynch originals “in tribute to…”.

The Unsung Heroes band is: Brian Lynch, trumpet and flugel; Vincent Herring, alto sax; Alex Hoffman, tenor sax; Rob Schneiderman, piano; David Wong, bass; and Pete Van Nostrand, drums.

Here’s a sample – a video of the leadoff cut, Tommy Turrentine’s “It Could Be”:

You can find Unsung Heroes Vol. 2 on your favorite platform as follows:



Amazon MP3:

And if you want to cut out the middleman, you can still cop on my website (actually Bandcamp) and get a sumptuous digital booklet, which you can’t get on the other stores:

Hollistic MusicWorks is starting to stretch out a bit. I’m elated to be putting out work by friends and colleagues who I think you should be acquainted with, and with whom I’ve collaborated with musically:


Naptown LegacyI’ve known “Killer” since my school days in Milwaukee, way more than 30 years now! He is one of the “last of the line” of truly swinging drummers, and a bandleader with a compelling vision based on the passion of memory – his first hand memories of playing with the greats like Freddie Hubbard, Wes Montgomery, and John Coltrane.

“Naptown Legacy” was a labor of love and a collective project by all of us on the recording – myself, Ian Hendrickson-Smith on alto, Todd Herbert on tenor, the great Peter Bernstein on guitar, Rick Germanson on piano, Robert Sabin on bass, and Little Johnny Rivero on percussion. It couldn’t have been made possible without the friendship and generous support of executive producer James Polsky.

Without a lot of resources to create ballyhoo, Naptown Legacy and Killer Ray have been nonetheless creating a stir in the jazz community. Killer’s recent feature piece in Jazz Times was well done (and long overdue):

NPR also did a nice piece on the record:

After you listen to this sample, get your copy of Naptown Legacy today:

Physical CD:

Digital Domain:


Eric-Jacobson-2013-Cover-Square-WEBMy Milwaukee buddies, trumpeter Eric Jacobson and his front line partner Eric Schoor on tenor sax, have a swinging, straight ahead band that is a joy to listen to and play with. On a live gig at Milwaukee’s Jazz Estate club (a local institution for many years) last year, I joined them for a program of jazz classics and their hip originals. Of special note on this date was the presence of one of my oldest musical buddies and as good of a pianist as you’ll find ANYWHERE, Barry Velleman. Don’t take my word for it, find out for yourself!

I’m proud to have the opportunity to have “Combinations” on my HMW label: Cop it now!

Digital Download:

Physical CD out on Amazon and on HMW website soon

I have a lot more to let you know about; there are some pretty killing new things coming up from HMW! I think you may be getting another one of these before too long….

Keep Swinging,


Unsung Heroes Project On Sale and On Line! + Progress Report

Saturday, October 23rd, 2010

The Unsung Heroes Project , Volumes 1, 2 and 3,  is finally live and online in its finished form! Thank you, everyone, for hanging in there patiently while I’ve been putting the final touches on the digital art and such.

Listen to all the music and buy the digital version (including full downloadable booklet) at

Next up is completing the design for the physical CD of Vol.1. I hope to have that ready in about a week to 10 days. Knowing how the process goes with manufacturing, I would say about a month from the time I turn in the materials will be when I have CDs in my hands. So, maybe around Dec. 1st? – I’ll have it ready in time for Christmas.

Play along track “prints” are being generated here at Hollistic Studios whenever I have spare hours – it’s a fairly simple process but time consuming since there’s 5 to 10 possible variations of “minus one” for each performance. It’s coming along – the trick is to figure out a way to master all this stuff cleanly, efficiently, and without undue expense. The multi track stem project will be addressed once I’ve achieved more traction on the play alongs.

Video? My man Nick Myers has been working away on the footage and achieving great results with the raw material synced up to the tracks. He’s a little less that halfway there; we’ve got seven videos up now for streaming on Vimeo. When all the tracks have been mated to image, then we’ll get to hooking up the DVD. The documentary is in process but a little farther back in the queue.
Here’s one of the Vimeo videos:
Access more Unsung Heroes videos at:
Household Of Saud:
Terra Firma Irma:

Mastering Finished; Kickstarter Support Project Launched

Monday, July 5th, 2010

I finally have a master in hand of Unsung Heroes – really! I know you’ve heard this before, but this time it’s for real. It’s been a long but rewarding journey. I learned a lot of new skills this time around; it was crazy to take on the mix from the ground up but I’m happy with the result and elated with the accomplishment. Thanks, Dave Darlington for taking me through it the first time through, and also to Tyler McDiarmid for all his assistance and tips on the second go round.

Now it’s time to design the liner materials, both online and physical, get the CD manufactured and publicity to help send this child out into the world. The point has come where resources are a little tight, so I’m reaching out to fans and friends for help through a cool fundraising tool called Kickstarter. Kickstarter projects enable independent artists like me to raise funds for their creative work and offer cool stuff in return. In the case of my Kickstarter project for Unsung Heroes, I’m offering pre orders of the CD and downloads, additional products and some other real hip stuff. I invite you check it out and contribute! Believe me, I’m offering good count. My Kickstarter project “Get My ‘Unsung Heroes’ Project Out To The People!” can be found at:

More Tracks Recorded for "Unsung Heroes"…

Thursday, December 31st, 2009

It’s been always at the back of my mind since recording the material for “Unsung Heroes” that somehow I managed to track 12 different tunes without a single ballad. Nothing says that you have to include a ballad performance on a jazz record, but I always have had done so in the past (or an bolero on the Latin records), so I’ve been a little uneasy about it.

Now, at the last moment, I decided to correct this “oversight” by going back into the studio with the rhythm section to track what I thought would be two or maybe three ballads. Fortunately, the cats (Rob, David, and Pete) were available. Though we didn’t have time to rehearse and I selected the tunes on the spur of the moment, I think it turned out well, and we were able to record seven tunes in about four hours on the Tuesday evening before Christmas, Not all of these may make it on the project, but I’ve got good stuff to choose from:

Orange Blossoms (Idrees Sulieman)
Short Steps (Sulieman)
Heleen (Joe Gordon)
I Could Never Forget You (Tommy Turrentine)
Gone But Not Forgotten (T.T.)

The Sulieman and T.T. tunes I got through Don Sicker and Second Floor Music, and I believe are debut recordings, like some of their tunes from the original sessions last year.

We also recorded two more up-tempo quartet numbers, Donald Byrd’s “I’m So Excited By You” and an original blues I wrote on way way out the door to the studio, “Unsung Blues

This is not making it any easier to get this thing out the door!

Killer Ray Appleton

Wednesday, November 25th, 2009

Next week (Dec. 4) I’ll be making a hit up in East Harlem at Creole with a very old friend and one of the jazz world’s truly great drummers, Otis “Killer” Ray Appleton. We go back a long way; Killer Ray played on my senior recital at the Wisconsin Conservatory Of Music. At the time, he was a part of Buddy Montgomery’s Trio (Buddy, a Milwaukee resident throughout my formative years, was a great influence on me as well as other Milwaukeeans such as David Hazeltine). I think he was the best drummer I had ever played with at that time, and I still can’t think of anything more swinging than his cymbal beat. He is a master of the art of swing, a philosopher of rhythm in jazz music, an architect of group orchestration in the tradition of Art Blakey and Philly Joe but with his own lexicon of thunder. (more…)