SHAPES- by Greg Smith and Kirby Jones

Greg Smith/Kirby Jones

A unique juxtaposition of notes from across the galaxy and beyond.

From Greg, in his own words:

Well, take two long time friends who play both together and separately with many bands and put them together and Voila! A mix of minds creating new music assured to grab your interest. One of the things Kirby and I love to do after creating one of our

A unique juxtaposition of notes from across the galaxy and beyond.

From Greg, in his own words:

Well, take two long time friends who play both together and separately with many bands and put them together and Voila! A mix of minds creating new music assured to grab your interest. One of the things Kirby and I love to do after creating one of our pieces is to come up with some crazy name that mixes many metaphors into a fresh picture for you. Here are the tunes and various descriptions of each: 1) Two Sons at Blue Falls- Basically, I wrote a tune called "Blue Falls"- that's the middle section, in kind of a 70's era Miles Davis format. Kirby wrote a piece he dedicated to his 2 sons; hence the name. We next came up with the format we used on subsequent tunes- take my tune and Kirby's tune and squish them together like a big pancake! Lots of fun all around! 2) The Flavor of Life- This is a tune I wrote for DC violinist extraordinaire, Dave Kline to play on- (he will, eventually!) I got all done composing it and the title just sort of hit me- all the flavors one encounters in his life, way beyond just the taste of food. 3) Funk on Ghost Ship- Again, I wrote Ghost Ship and Kirby came up with the funk part, he took some killer solos and the rest was born! 4) Seaweed vision-I wrote this one a year or two ago, featuring a very different solo by Kirby. The title? I got a glimpse of those underwater dwelling people from the movie, "Pirates of the Caribbean", with the seaweed and barnacles hanging off their heads- you get the picture. 5) At Peace- Why Not- One of our pancake squishing together type of composition, with Kirby creating the "Why Not" part and me with the ethereal "At Piece" intro- It's really a fun way to create music- I should create a term to describe it... Musical Pancaking... there, I did it! 6) I obtained an excellent sample program of a harp and part of it allowed you to run your fingers across the white keys of a synthesizer keyboard to get that characteristic flowing harp sound. The only problem was that I had no keyboard- I do all my composing using my MIDI synth guitar. When I swept my guitar pick across the guitar strings with this particular setting, I came up with some very interesting harmony, a melody popped up and boom! I had a new piece. Kirby took a very nice solo in the middle section. 7) Brazilian Horizon- I wrote this one a few years back and I burrowed out a space in the middle for a killer solo by Kirby, and it was a done deal. 8) Fresh Fish on Mars: Kirby came up with the cool title, and I added some spice and a few solos and the crazy scene from a marketplace on the surface of Mars with a fish monger dude , selling his catch of fish from a Martian canal. 9) Shapes- This is the title track, with a more acoustic setting. Kirby added some nice spice and took a very nice solo, reminiscent of Debussy or Ravel. One important part of all this I'd be remiss to leave out: About 14 years ago I created my first home recording studio. I have never used a keyboard mainly because I can barely play one. Instead, I use a special pickup I had installed on my guitar that converts the pitch and rhythm into voltage and then into computer code which then allows me to play guitar and you hear violins, organs, saxophones, trumpets and a myriad of other instruments. Then, layering one instrument on top of another I can create a full band or orchestra sound. So, armed with this new technology, I proceeded to record my first CD, Above the Clouds, which mixes these various instruments as described with real guitars. Come forward in time to 3 years ago and a massive update to my studio and the addition of literally thousands of new instruments, I went into a recording frenzy, sometime composing and recording 2 or pieces a day in every musical genre you can imagine. I counted it up the other day: I have recorded over 330 original pieces and have arranged cover tunes of over 250 tunes in the last 3 years! I began stuffing my pieces onto CD's and named each CD, for no other reason than I thought of it in that instance," DUDE". So this means we now have DUDE I, DUDE II, DUDE II.... all the way up to the current in progress CD which is DUDE XXI (21)! It's really a fun way to categorize all my work and to me resembles the categorization Mozart did of his music... not that I am comparing myself to Mozart! But the punchline to this long diatribe is that I had a fertile breeding ground for material for this album, Shapes, that Kirby and I have done. I picked out some of my favorite pieces to use for this endeavor, which I think has been very fruitful! Both Kirby and myself have done thousands of gigs of all types, but our true love is improvised jazz and what used to be called fusion. We really get a kick out of taking fiery solos on our instruments and then taking it up a notch or a hundred! We hope you enjoy this music; it truly is straight from our hearts and we both feel repeated listening's will give you a new point of view in your life. Enjoy! Best, Greg

From Kirby, in his own words:

I like to write music I am really passionate about. I don't care what kind of music people write or play as long as it is genuinely their passion then it moves me.

So About 6 or 8 months ago I started writing this song. It was kind of funky and fusion; an effect I really wanted to create. I hadn't quite finished it. I was calling it "Why not." I got in touch with Greg and he had written a very ethereal vocal piece called "At Peace." They were so opposite they were almost dichotomies but nevertheless I liked the way the titles fit together -- "At Peace, Why Not?' Plus I found out there was already a song called "Why Not." I didn't want to rob someone's title. So we put it together and musically it worked. Then Greg wrote a mid-section that sounded like what you would imagine if Miles Davis was hired to write the Star Trek theme! There after, finishing it off was pure fun and pleasure.

Next I had a melody that was bubbling in my head for about a year and I finally said I am going to write this down. So I wrote it for my two sons whom I really admire and I called Greg and said let's co-write this like we did the other one. He said sure and he wrote a very funky mid-section that made me scream. I knew we had it now. And with Greg's little intro that begin with a theme reminiscent of NBC today, we had the magic!

After that Greg brought in a song "The Flavor of Life." I had to spend a few night practicing his melody. A nice challenge, but we pulled it together in the studio. Then I hadn't heard it for a while again until just recently during our mixing and it totally blew me away! What a great addition to our album release. I think that was about the time we considered making a digital album release. Wondering what to do next, I thought It would be really cool to have a organ tune. So I came up with this melody and groove and showed it to Greg. He came up with this idea of calling it Funk on Ghost Ship. At first I thought that sounds a bit strange or esoteric for a title but as it came together and Greg added to the composition and with some great guitar grooves and solos it became one of my favorites. I could go on and on. But all in all it's been a great pleasure working with Greg, a long time close friend, and creating this project to get our ideas out. We seem to have a similar sense of humor in addition to our eclectic tastes in music. Greg had some additional amazing compositions we laid down: This included "Seaweed Vision" and "Shapes" our title tune. Greg was the engineering brain behind the recording and along with his excellent composing and outrageous guitar work. He turned on his studio late afternoons so we could create our dreams and he also engineered most of the recording. Greg was vocal extraordinaire on my final composition -- Fresh Fish on Mars."

An interesting phenomena we learned during the recording was that our best solos seemed to be our first takes. So it was kind of a joke. I would say to Greg," let me just practice this with the music for a second then I can actually record a solo". Greg was smart enough to record the "practice." And it was usually exactly what we used. Well I hope you enjoy listening to our music - we had so much fun making it. But sincerely I hope it inspires in you that creative bug we all have within us so we can all put some more aesthetics in the world. --Kirby

From Smeggaaakk, the Martian Fish Monger, in it's own words:

Well, these guys made me do this, at the point of a blast pistol! I'd rather be out there selling my fresh Unk-fish, fresh from the canals, scales and antlers all cleaned off and removed, very delicious and the best in Martian cuisine. But, now that I'm here, and because they will probably blast a hole in me with that danged blast gun if I don't, I'll say something:" Listen to this music, maybe you'll like it and then they probably won't blast you with their blast guns"…..there, I said it, can I go now?!!! Hatefully,Smeggaaakk

Read more…