As a musician (aka full time music critic), it can be hard to hear something that surprises you and really takes you “there”. I put this record on thinking that I knew exactly what I was going to think and exactly what my opinion was going to be…and then I was wrong.
Scott Tarulli is king of “out” licks and cool grooves but for this album he seems to have his focus on manipulating melodies and seeing his tunes from a birds-eye view. “Anytime, Anywhere” is definitely not inside the box, and may even leave you wondering what the box is. A few of my favorite tunes were: Awake, Caffeine and Wine, and Last Time. Each of those tunes open up in an incredibly special way, showcasing just who Scott Tarulli is and why he is relevant today. Each note played is a complete thought that put together makes a fantastic piece of musical literature.
Released 05 September 2012
Track 2,4,5,8 recorded at Tom Eaton Studios, Newburyport, MA Tracks 9,10 recorded by Pete Caigan at Dreamland Studios, Woodstock, NY
Produced by Scott Tarulli All Songs written by Scott Tarulli except “Aurora” by Alison Keslow, and “Traffic” by Dennis Hughes
Photos taken by Tina Enos and edited by Marilyn Becrelis Design by Jussi Gamache
Scott Tarulli – Electric Guitar, Nylon String, Acoustic guitar, Nashville high strung guitar
Dave Tronzo – Slide guitar on 5
Jerry Marotta – Drums on 9, 10,11
Mike Casano – Drums on 2,3,4,5,7,8,11
Tony Levin – Bass on 9,10
Alison Keslow – Bass on 3,4,7,8
Jordan Scannella – Bass on 2,5
Mindi Abair – Sax on 11
Ross Hill – Violin and Flugelhorn on 10
Dennis Hughes – Piano and Synths
In listening to your album I noticed a ton of different influences, angling from pop to fusion. When you started writing for this album, what did you have in mind? Did it turn out the way you planned?
For this album I didn’t have anything specific in mind besides the fact that it was going to be instrumental. The songs were usually written in parts. I’d come up with a melody or changes I liked and play them out at clubs and listen back. I would build on each tune until I felt it was done. The songs took a new life along the way. There were some big surprises along the way, so I guess I didn’t know what to expect at the end. I was going to trust that I knew when it was complete though.
You grew up with the intent to be a jazz guitar player… now as a professor at Berklee, as well as a busy gigging musician, do you have any advice to youngsters?
Actually, my roots were entirely in rock. Jazz came later in life- same with R&B/Soul. I did a lot of playing right off the bat at a young age. I took small tours in ANY genre and did my best to learn what made each genre tick.
My advise to young musicians is to go out to as many live shows as they can. For a few reasons – First, it’s where you actually meet people. Its pretty rare you make the same kind of connection on Facebook or doing YouTube videos. Plus, you get to see how players that know what they are doing make it happen (How they run their gear, how the vibe of the room feels, and being part of the live show in REAL time). I would also say, if young players want to have gigs, they better go support live music. Clubs close down or stop hiring bands if nobody shows up. So if you steal music, don’t expect your records to sell. When you buy an album, you are also VOTING. If any kind of backer (say a record company) sees a band sold only 2,000 units, that band wont be able to continue making music. Backers will become more rare, and the mentality of taking music will grow. And if you don’t go support live music, you wont have venues to play in. When I was younger there were more gigs than anyone could handle. But we were all going out and seeing any and every great band we could. We would pay the $10 at the door back then, and buy the CDs at the merch booth.
I guess as a player I would plan on working hard and being patient with your progress. Play live as much as you can. Take ANY gig, any session, just play! Try your best to be part of the music community. That is where you learn-from each other. You share recordings, licks, gigs and makes for a good social life as well.
Besides a few years, what growth or developments do you see between “Anytime, Anywhere” and “Transitions” aka your first album…?
I really thought I had good stuff written for Transitions. But I didn’t have a budget and had two days to track it. Listening back, it sounds great sonically. I like the songs – but I don’t like most of my playing and the band doesn’t gel at times on that album. My second Album “September in Boston:Live” also had its pros and cons. I had more ambitious music written for that show. But tracks are hit or miss to me. I was having a lot of hand issues during that time, so playing alone was difficult.
The new CD “Anytime, Anywhere” I took my time. I feel that I wrote my best stuff and my playing was a lot stronger. A key part is that I trust myself far more these days than I did making “Transitions”. I knew when it was right and when it wasn’t on the new album. I trusted my gut as far as performance, musicians for songs and guitar tones.
When you decided to go into the studio, why did you pick the players you did? Did you pick certain bassists for certain songs or was it on an availability basis?
Not so much on availability… Alison Keslow had been working with me and she had some good stuff for Shade Dance and Caffeine and Wine. I was able to communicate approaches and she adapted well. She was very solid on those songs and I really dug her approach on these in particular. So I asked her to play on those (she also played on Aurora, which she wrote).
Jordan Scannella had played with me in the past. In fact, he was the bass player on my live album. He is a very linear player. I love how he plays melody counterpoint and he was just perfect for a song like Awake. I love his melodic approach to “One Year” and where he places time on that.
Tony Levin has been an idol for a long time. I was working on an album that Jerry Marotta (another legend and also of Peter Gabriel Alum) was producing in NY. Tony was on the album and it was coming out great. Jerry and I became friends and we talked about recording a few tracks from my CD out in NY with Tony. Interesting, because Tony is know for his King Crimson prog mastery. I think he usually gets called for his virtuosic playing, especially when it comes to odd times meters. But, Tony to me is the guy that ALWAYS played the perfect notes with the perfect feel on every single Peter Gabriel album. Tony is so melodic with unreal time. There is a song on my new album called, “Last Time” that I wasn’t sure I was going to keep. I just didn’t LOVE the song. But I think I just hadn’t found the right unit to present the song with. We ran the song 2x and that was it! We also tracked “1AM” and Tony plays brilliantly on that one, especially on the end with the horn solo. Wow. I was blown away.
How many of the songs did you track live? I noticed that especially on “Awake”, there are a lot of elements of the playing that you don’t usually hear in studio albums… How did you capture that ambience? Did you do a lot of over dubs?
You are right about “Awake”. We did about 3 takes of the song and picked one. What you hear is an actual LIVE take. You even hear me switch pickups late! But the solo on that one was more of a BAND solo, not just mine. Jordan and Mike Casano went into this odd groove and it led me to my phrasing. I wouldn’t have played like that if they kept it straight. I think the band had a great vibe all through that take. “One Year” was also tracked totally live and that came out amazing with dialogue between me and David Tronzo. Dave is one of my fav musicians. He played slide and comped on that tune. The whole band is together on that take. Even the last track “One Year (reprise) was live. But Mindi Abair overdubbed a solo from her studio in LA. The basics were done live otherwise.
Some songs I did go back and redo a solo if I hated what I played. And you do hear me layer guitar textures on a bunch of songs. I love that aspect. Building songs by adding parts and sounds. I selected different types of guitars to fill a bit of the timbre spectrum- swells, slide, clean:strat, fat:Les Paul etc. Sometimes, I wanted to use a different guitar for the solo- For example, on Caffeine and Wine I used my thinline Telecaster and ’62 reissue Strat on most of it. The first solo is the Thinline Tele, but the outro was just begging for a Les Paul through an old Marshall 100 watt head. Live I play Orange amps and My Music Man/Ernie Ball Silhouette Special guitars.
You are clearly getting a lot of response from this album, I’m sure it’s very humbling, what are your next steps? Tours? What have been some major successes so far?
I have received some kind words and I am humbled. I did a West coast tour in October for the album and played the Whisky a Go-Go to wrap the tour up. I am hoping the album draws some attention to my playing, writing and may perhaps lead to other things. Maybe a major tour, more collaboration, more sideman work. Who knows! I guess that is the exciting part.
As for what has happened-I have really got back into the scene playing 4+ nights a week with rock bands, ambient groups, Jazz/Funk/Rock trios. I usually keep my website www.ScottTarulli.com updated as to who I am playing with. I’ve been on the road more. And a Boston CD release party is to be announced in the next month or so. Last year I was part of 4 new releases…that includes my new CD. It’s been very busy year and I’m thankful for that.
We heard you are a huge advocate of a healthy lifestyle and a bit of a yogi…. How has that been impacted by being a busy musician? Do you find it hard to maintain those values?
I try not to be too preachy with this stuff. Everyone finds what works for them. And, they only find it when they are ready. For me, yoga started out as a way to stretch and strengthen my body. As I did yoga more and more, I found it brought up a lot of emotions to deal with. You don’t always leave yoga “Happy and relaxed”, sometimes you leave angry or sad. I also learned a lot about focusing. For example, various balance poses can be very challenging one day, and very simple the next. It’s where you can settle your mind and it’s finding that space to settle your mind. I found it helped the flow of improvisation and even my time feel on the bandstand.
Nutrition is SO key… I stopped all processed sugars. That was hard as there are a lot of processed sweeteners in most food. I had to first give up sweets 100 percent then read labels. I got the hang of it, though. After detoxing from the processed sugars I noticed I needed less sleep, I got sick less, my moods were more stable, my anxiety went down.
As for maintaining- I did fall off the wagon for about a year plus. But the past 2-3 months I’ve moved back into this space. I’ve used meditation, the yogi mentality and other stuff to help out students. I have started to Vlog about this stuff. As of now I have three Vlogs up on my YouTube channel. I’m opening up Skype lessons as well that will deal with theory, improv, time, stylistic stuff. All the things that are immediate practice and improve concepts. But I’m also taking it a step further and reaching out to other aspects of a person’s journey through music.
Where can we hear all of the awesome players, more importantly bassists, on your album? 😉
Tony Levin has been on countless albums. Just Google him! He is a legend. Jordan (Scannella) is always up to something, he is a very in demand player. He goes by “Jorscan” and did a killer groove album a year or so ago that I HIGHLY recommend! Alison Keslow has a CD out under her name as well, but she is a busy side musician. Best to check her websites. Google her!
Jerry Marotta is another person that has played with EVERYONE…and I mean that. Paul McCartney, Hall and Oats, David Foster, …the list goes on and on. Check his long discography on AllMusic.com
9. Where can we buy your album?