2013 – Heart Searches – James Conroy & the Mystery Bros, A 12 song collection of original tunes done with the band and a few guests. I call this cd my own style, which is made from all the musical Read more →
2005 – Jazz piano and vocal duets that will please the experienced jazz listener as well as those looking for romantic mood enhancement.
Genre: Jazz: Jazz Vocals
Release Date: 2005
I believe it was the summer of ’98, and another Ed had called me to do a jazz gig at the Jack House in San Luis Obispo. Ed Harris had heard me sing several times, and asked if I would vocally front his band at this outdoors afternoon free concert. I said yes, but didn’t tell him that I had never done such a thing before, in case he might reconsider. It was something I had wanted to do for quite awhile, however, the opportunity had never arisen. I had been dabbling in jazz vocals since the mid-seventies, accompanying myself on guitar, but had never fronted a real jazz combo for a whole gig. Luckily, I knew all the musicians in the band, and felt they would be forgiving if I choked at all. Except one, I had never met Edd Richards, although I had heard of him, and friends had suggested he might be a good choice for a piano player on a recording project I was working on that was dedicated to my favorite jazz baritone Johnny Hartman.
It was a lovely sunny day, and we had a nice appreciative crowd scattered on the lawn in front of the gazebo the band was setup under. The guys opened with a couple of swinging numbers and then Ed (one d) introduced me. I wasn’t too nervous, but was definitely on hyper-alert as the first couple of numbers went off without a hitch and the audience gave me a nice warm reception. I began to notice Edd (two d’s) the piano player’s accompaniment, realizing he was actually listening to me and responding to my singing. I let him know vocally that I was listening to his listening to me, and we began to have a bit of a musical discussion for the rest of the gig. Needless to say I was delighted with this, and after the gig I asked if he would consider taking part in my recording project. He cautiously said yes. Since that day, Edd Richards has been behind the keyboard at just about every jazz gig and recording I have done. I love the guy and his playing. Edd’s got about twenty years on me, which puts him smack in the middle of the bebop jazz era that I missed. I am a child of the sixties, and was near thirty before my jazz appreciation truly started. On the other hand, Edd has been immersed in jazz his whole life. He wasn’t a career musician, preferring to live a more sane life with a “real” job, which had him traveling to various parts of the world. Wherever he was, Edd would seek out the local jazz scene and become a part of it. He is a virtual encyclopedia of jazz piano, and can play almost any tune in any key, never the same way twice. This is the essence of a true jazz musician, supremely in the moment. When I decided to do an album of jazz piano and vocal there was only one choice, Mr. Edd. He graciously accepted the assignment, and we actually rehearsed a few times picking out ten tunes, plus I asked him to include the Benny Goodman signoff tune “Goodbye.” When we got to the studio, I suggested he refrain from singing along during his solos as the microphone was picking it up. He shot back, “Well Oscar Peterson does it!” I didn’t have an answer for that, so you will hear Edd merrily moaning along in the background. I’ve grown to love it, and so will you. Thank you Edd for giving this late blooming jazzman some authenticity and integrity to his music. Now if you could just let those endings ring a little longer…