- Born: 1962
- Lives: Philadelphia, PA
- Primary Instrument: Lefty
Guitar and Guitar Synthesizer
- Secondary Instruments:
Keyboards, Drums and Vibes
- Q: So where did you get
the idea for M.A.M.I. Music Scale Atlases?
- A: I am basically
self-taught on guitar, however when I was much younger
- I studied drums and
vibes formally in school.
the time I reached my late teens, I began to listen to a lot of great
creative music especially jazz and jazz-fusion.
improvisational nature of this music really peaked my interest and I began
to wonder where the original players of
the day found their ideas.
- Players like Hendrix, Monk,
Scofield, Holdsworth, Beck, Khan, Metheny...so many!
- Anyway, the question in my
mind became how do I find all of these hip ideas?
- How do I take one chord, or
melody, or arpeggio, or
scale and turn it into
- a number of interesting
musical ideas of my own?
- Since the common thread between
all of my influences was
- I started to think
more about theory and the nature of music itself.
- Studying engineering in
school helped me to analyze music "quantitatively".
- Being a lefty guitarist
always forced me to
chart or diagram my ideas on the fingerboard.
- One night I was thinking
about improvisation and the idea
of a "Matrix" popped into my head.
- By arranging notes into a 12
x 12 cube matrix, I would be able to analyze
- and quantify any scale for
its musical content. Thus the "Matrix Approach" was born.
- Q: Where are you
performing again these days?
- A: Unfortunately I'm
not performing publicly yet after my accident.
- It has been a long time, but
the nature of my injuries has
affected the nerves in my
- extremities and causes me to
lose sensation in my arms and fingers to varying degrees.
- This has been an extremely
frustrating ordeal, but Faith, Family and some great Friends
- have helped me to cope with
- Special thanks to Mom, my
sister Monica and brother Len, for believing in me.
- My old band mates (and
lifelong friends) guitarist Rick Harris, bassist Lee Patterson
- and also radio personality
J. Mike Harrison (of WRTI FM 90.1 in Phila.) for keeping me
- involved in music and from selling all
of my equipment out of
Also trombonist / keyboardist Mark Johnson and
keyboardist Glenn Bryan
for forgiving me for
some particularly bad moments... :-(
- Hopefully I will be able to
release some stuff and perform again
- at some point, I haven't quit!
- Q: Your book is huge, did
you do it by yourself?
- A: Yes, it took
years! I started charting lefty fingerboards and using the Matrix Approach
- One day a friend happened to
see my work in progress spread out on my dining room table
- and suggested
that I share the idea with other musicians.
- It took more years to do all
of the other versions, but the feedback has been well worth it.
- Although one of my very best
friends at first glance called my draft version "garbage"
- (he later recanted after
spending some time with it), so many players both known
- and unknown have both
favored and adopted M.A.M.I.
- This includes many players
that had helped to
inspire it in the first place!
- It is a nice feeling to have
players such as Pierre Bensusan, Allan Holdsworth, Joe Beck
- Pat Martino, Mark
Johnson, Steve Vattimo, Geno White, and countless others find
- benefit in my concept.
Hopefully it is inspiring some creativity and great music out there.
- Q: How did you get the
- A: Years ago some
friends...actually original band members awarded me this
- due to my logical and
methodical ways. It was
funny then, and I still it find it humorous since
- there are probably few more
accurate nicknames awarded throughout history!
- Q: What's next?
- A: Hopefully I'll continue to
develop versions of M.A.M.I. and eventually perform once again.
- It would be great to play again in a
group dedicated to creating original music!
- I definitely have some ideas,
and at some point this will be a goal.
- Q: What musician would you most
like to meet?
- A: I enjoy talking about music
with just about everyone, but forced to pick now it would
- probably be Pat Metheny. I
enjoy his ideas, playing and especially his approach to band leading.
- His group is awesome in that they
take very well composed, diverse, original musical
- ideas and perform them
intelligently...on such a high level.
- Sort of like the Duke Ellington Band
meets the 21st century!
- With his group, it is easy to tell
that the musical idea always comes first.
- Every single detail related to the
idea is performed thoughtfully.
- They have been my absolute favorites
and a great influence for years.