My arrangements are like solving a puzzle, finding the mystery within the pieces. Initially, I am intrigued by a turn of phrase, rhythm, or unique harmony of a musical work, and how they work together. I then aim to understand a piece’s adaptability to solo guitar. Through many improvisations and revisions an arrangement takes shape, usually simplifying to keep it ergonomic while hopefully preserving the essential character of the original. Some remain more faithful to the originals while others explore a more free arrangement. My Gismonti pieces are closer to transcriptions of the original guitar works, while my Blackbird by the Beatles is in the style of Gismonti, and Kashmir by Led Zeppelin is recast as a folk ballad.
To date I have two Beatles suites from 1966-1969 and a number of works by Gismonti from 1969 to 1993 and a version of Timeless by John Abercrombie from 1974. I enjoy working on pairs of works by such varied composers as Claude Debussy, Erik Satie, Rush, U2, and Led Zeppelin. I also do groupings of works that covey a similar emotion or theme like Angie by the Stones with River by Joni Mitchell. While I prefer classic rock, which I enjoyed during my formative years, I also have an introspective Black Hole Sun by Soundgarden (I played for Chris Cornell’s wedding in 1990 while I was attending Cornish College of the Arts), and haunting drone-based Schism by Tool to the rhythm of “I know the pieces fit.”
“It does not matter if fast or slow, but that they make you go somewhere during the interpretation, it touches something. The music has the power but you have to know what you are doing in order to touch the power.” – Egberto Gismonti
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