I had the pleasure of working up a tribute set to Ray Charles with Roosevelt Dime as part of the Dam Festival this summer. Every tune I worked on unlocked new little nuggets of polyphonic bluesy genius that will be deep parts of my repertoire moving forward. As always, the lesson is that if you’re gonna steal, steal from the best. A few excerpts below…
Proud to have another of my columns published in the February 2018 issue of Banjo Newsletter. Another Fess tune, but this time I tackled both the bass and rhythm/lead parts at the same time. Don’t try this at home kids. Actually… do try it, and hit me up if you’d like the transcription.
Albert Ammons, along with Pete Johnson and Meade Lux Lewis are the early kings of boogie woogie piano, and their repertoires are an absolute goldmine of incredible licks. I tried to incorporate some of the left hand chop in with the right hand licks – that’s part of the fun and the challenge of adapting piano parts to the banjo. Check out the original version below if you’re not familiar with it, and hope you enjoy the creative license I took with it to make it sound more natural on the 5-string.
I’m very excited to share my arrangement of the Professor Longhair classic “Big Chief.” This is the very first piano tune that I arranged for banjo and set me down the path of adapting blues and boogie for the 5 string. This can also be found in the March 2016 issue of The Banjo Newsletter.