Posts filed under ‘classic jazz’

Hakkaido Skies

This is my cover of “Hakkaido Skies”, originally by released the Ventures in 1967 for the Japanese market. Songwriting credit goes to Bob Bogle, Don Wilson, and Mel Taylor.

I transcribed and recorded this tune as a tribute to the great Gerry McGee, who passed away while on tour in Japan in 2019.

March 14, 2020 at 6:30 am Leave a comment


This is my instrumental version of “Corcovado” (known in English as “Quiet Nights of Quiet Stars”) It was written by Antônio Carlos Jobim in 1960. An English lyric was later written by Gene Lees. The Portuguese title refers to the Corcovado mountain in Rio de Janeiro.

January 25, 2020 at 6:30 am Leave a comment

At the 2019 International Ventures Fan Fest

Here is a link to a Youtube playlist for my set at the 2019 International Ventures Fan Fest.

November 30, 2019 at 7:19 am Leave a comment

Night Train

Night Train” is a twelve-bar blues instrumental first recorded by Jimmy Forrest in 1951. It has been recorded and performed countless times, by musicians in virtually every genre.

The Ventures recorded at least two versions, the first released on their 1960 album “Walk Don’t Run” and the second on the 1964 album, “Walk Don’t Run ’64”.

My arrangement is not a cover of any one specific rendition, but incorporates elements of many.

November 4, 2018 at 3:38 pm Leave a comment


“Caravan” was composed by Juan Tizol and Duke Ellington and first performed by Ellington in 1936.  Irving Mills wrote lyrics, but they are rarely sung.

It quickly became a jazz standard, frequently performed and recorded.

In 1960 the Ventures included the tune on their album “Walk Don’t Run”. It shortly became a staple of their live performances, featuring extended drum solos by Mel Taylor and later Leon Taylor.

My arrangement was inspired by the Ventures approach, although the drum break is fairly short.


August 14, 2018 at 1:13 pm Leave a comment

Once I Loved

“Once I Loved” (“O Amor em Paz”) is a bossa nova jazz standard composed in 1960 by Antônio Carlos Jobim. The first recording was in 1961 by João Gilberto. Jobim himself recorded an instrumental version of the song in 1963. Frank Sinatra’s 1967 recording is probably the best known in the English-speaking world.

In my instrumental arrangement, I tried to imagine how a guitar group like the Shadows might have played it.

May 17, 2018 at 3:38 pm Leave a comment

Autumn Leaves

Autumn Leaves” was originally a 1945 French song, “Les Feuilles mortes” (literally “The Dead Leaves”), with music by Hungarian-French composer Joseph Kosma and lyrics by poet Jacques Prévert.  With English lyrics by Johnny Mercer, it was recorded by artists such as Nat Cole and Frank Sinatra. As an instrumental, it became a jazz standard.

My instrumental arrangement is intended to sound as it might have if done by the Shadows.

March 18, 2018 at 2:04 pm Leave a comment


Naima” is a jazz ballad composed by John Coltrane in 1959 and named after his wife, Juanita Naima Grubbs. It first appeared on the landmark album Giant Steps and is notable for its use of a variety of rich chords over a bass pedal.

My  version uses classic rock instrumentation and has a rock feel.

December 4, 2017 at 8:12 pm Leave a comment

Round Midnight

Round Midnight” is a jazz standard composed by pianist Thelonious Monk. Primarily performed as a slow ballad, it is one of the most recorded jazz compositions ever.

I have given it an instrumental setting incorporating stylistic elements of jazz and sixties rock.

September 4, 2017 at 5:43 pm Leave a comment

Stella by Starlight

Stella by Starlight” was composed as an instrumental by Victor Young, drawing from thematic material composed for the main title and soundtrack of the 1944 Paramount Pictures film, The Uninvited. It appeared in the film’s underscore as well as in source music as an instrumental theme song without lyrics. Lyricist Ned Washington wrote the lyrics for it in 1946.

“Stella by Starlight” is one of the most popular standards of all time, recorded by countless vocalists and jazz players. My instrumental arrangement is in the style of a guitar rock-band ballad/slow dance.

September 4, 2017 at 1:03 pm Leave a comment

We’ll Be Together Again

“We’ll Be Together Again” has music composed by Carl T. Fischer, with lyrics by Frankie Laine. Fischer was Laine’s pianist and musical director when he composed the tune, and Laine was asked to write the lyrics for it. The Pied Pipers were the first to release the song, and as well as Laine, it has since been recorded by numerous artists such as Billie Holiday, Frank Sinatra, Louis Armstrong, Lou Rawls and Tony Bennett.

This is a lovely tune which I have given an instrumental, slow dance setting.

June 2, 2017 at 3:29 pm Leave a comment

Nica’s Dream

“Nica’s Dream” was composed by jazz pianist Horace Silver in the 1950’s. “Nica” was the Kathleen Annie Pannonica de Koenigswarter (born Rothschild; 10 December 1913 – 30 November 1988) who was a British-born jazz patron and writer. She was a leading patron of bebop music. She was born to the prominent Rothschild international financial dynasty.

This is a truly beautiful tune, and my arrangement is very straight – though done in the style of sixties guitar instrumentals rather than jazz.

June 2, 2017 at 7:22 am Leave a comment

The Girl From Ipanema

“The Girl From Ipanema” is the song that, for most Americans, first created an awareness of Brazilian music and Bossa Nova. Written by the great Antonio Carlos Jobim, it was a 1964 single version that became a US and international hit, peaking at #5 on the US singles charts. The single featured American saxophonist Stan Getz, Brazilian singer-guitarist Joao Gilberto and his then-wife Astrid as the main vocalist.

In spite of its international popularity and the prominence of the guitar in the style, it was not picked up by instrumental guitar bands. The one exception seems an over-produced version by the Shadows on an album called “The Shadows with Strings Attached”.

I decided to try a more traditional sixties approach.

April 2, 2017 at 3:10 pm Leave a comment

The More I See You

The More I See You” was composed by Harry Warren, with lyrics by Mack Gordon in 1945. It is considered a jazz standard and part of the “American Songbook”. It has been recorded by many artists — such as Nat Cole and Julie London in the 1950s and more recently by Michael Buble’.

In 1966, Chris Montez released the most commercially successful and well-known recording of the song on Herb Alpert’s A&M label.  This version went to number sixteen on the Billboard Hot 100 and spent four weeks at number two on the Easy Listening chart.

My instrumental arrangement attempts to combine the straightforward innocence of the Chris Montez version with the more complex and sophisticated harmonies normally associated with jazz versions.

January 21, 2017 at 5:41 pm Leave a comment

Fly Me to the Moon

“Fly me to the Moon” was written in 1954 by Bart Howard. The song is probably most associated with Frank Sinatra and his 1964 version, but it has been recorded in both vocally and instrumentally by countless artists. By every measure this tune is a standard.

However, as far as I know it had never been given an instrumental guitar-rock setting before. Now it has. 🙂

September 10, 2016 at 2:23 pm Leave a comment

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July 2020