Pike’s Peaks

It was a fortuitous happenstance (or, perhaps it was divine providence) that my work-colleague, Jason Pike, “turned out to be” an accomplished drummer. In 2009 we began a musical collaboration that has been very enriching to me. Though Jason calls himself (thinks of himself as) a “rock’ drummer, I consistently attempt to convince him that he’s more… much more.

Pick up the Pieces Project in Digital Performer

Pick up the Pieces Project in Digital Performer

Jason and I have worked by sharing our each-self-recorded audio files by uploading them to our “Jason & Stan” area of the Creative Minds’ Music website. For the pieces we have recorded, to date, I first recorded keyboard/synthesizer parts, uploaded them, and then Jason performed and recorded his parts while listening to my downloaded recording. For each of his recordings he, in a single performance, recorded bass-drum, snare, tom1, tom2, tom3, overhead1, and overhead2 audio tracks (parts). After recording his drum parts, he uploaded (FTP) them to our project-area where I harvested them to mix (combine the parts) and master (set overall levels and produce formats appropriate for delivery) the combined results.

I hope that you will enjoy the four (4) songs/projects that Jason and I have completed, to date…

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Jason’s & Stan’s Projects

The form of all of these arrangements except “Sunny Side of Heaven” was largely defined by the original sheet-music versions of the songs released by the music publishers.

1) Jessica (composed by Richard Forrest Betts)

To me, Richard, “Dickey” Betts exemplifies everything noteworthy about “Southern Rock.” This song was, supposedly, named for Dickey Betts’ daughter who was one (1) year old when this song was written, circa 1973. Notable is the fact that this song won a very delayed Grammy Award in 1996, more than 20 years after Mr. Betts originally wrote it.

This long-time favorite of mine was popularized by the “Allman Brothers.” For years it has been my goal to eventually record it. My musical collaboration with Jason finally enabled this recording.

2) Pick Up The Pieces (composed by Roger Ball and Hamish Stuart)

I still have the vinyl version of the “AWB” album on which this particularly “funkified” song was originally released in 1974. The “Average White Band” was a bit of a musicological oddity because of the scarcity of Scottish R&B Funk bands. “Pick up the Pieces” became a #1 hit in the US in February, 1975. There are numerous recorded versions (including Candy Dulfer’s) of this song. Jason and I attempted to remain faithful to the original AWB version of the song.

3) 2001 Theme (Also Sprach Zarathustra) (composed by Richard Strauss)

This is Jason’s and my rendition of the Richard Strauss theme from “2001: A Space Odyssey.” This arrangement is based on one by Eumir Deodato, which was featured in the sheet-music version of the piece (copyright, Screen-Gems) that I used as reference for this project. Our goal was to bring together the stature of the Strauss theme, give a nod to the Deodato arrangement, and simultaneously make our own musical statement. This project and its duration was the subject of this post: The 2001 Theme: A Project Odysseywhich also features an original animation accompanying our recording.

4) Sunny Side Of Heaven (composed by Danny Kirwan)

This is our rendition of Danny Kirwan’s instrumental from the Fleetwood Mac “Bare Trees” album. I had wished to record this piece for the last thirty years. When I was unable to find a recording of this piece online to transcribe, I ordered the CD from Amazon and transcribed the piece from recordings of my purchased CD.

Jason, separately and remotely channeled the spirit of Mick Fleetwood’s stylized, lyrical drumming (while I attempted to channel the spirit of Danny Kirwan’s guitar solo) to record tracks that were synchronized to the same audio track (and, therefore synchronized together). Unlike our previous collaborations, this project was the first where Jason provided me with MIDI drum parts rather than audio drum recordings. For our performances, each of us (separately) played along with the Fleetwood Mac recording as a guide to record our parts. Our rendition uses three electric guitars, acoustic guitar, Mr. Tramp (Wurlitzer electric-piano emulation), Synthogy Ivory grand-piano, electric-bass, and MIDI drums.

1 comment to Pike’s Peaks

  • Ken Vines

    Enjoyed both songs! Not a big drum expert but I liked what I heard…….would like to hear Jason do “Wipeout.”
    Keep those hits coming!