Episode #46 – Summary

23 Mar

Recording Date: July 23, 2009
Recording Location: Milkboy Recording Studios, Ardmore, PA

Tracy Silverman

This was a session that just sort of came together naturally. It was one of the smallest gatherings I have ever assembled for a taping, as there were only 4 total musicians. First, there was Tracy Silverman on electric violin. As many of you know, Tracy is not only a good friend, but a world-class musician. He is classically trained, with strong rock and jazz sensibilities. He has appeared on a number of Studio Jams episodes. Although he lives in Nashville, Tracy visits Philadelphia often to see family that lives here. Anyways, when I learned that he would be in town, I immediately talked with him about putting together another session. As a big fan of the show, Tracy was quick to say “let’s do it.”

Steve Forrest

Tracy thought it would be nice to add bassist Steve Forrest, who happened to be traveling with him. Steve is one of Nashville’s finest bass players and a first-call musician for all kinds of sessions, so naturally I said “sure…bring him along!”

Next, I called Jef Lee Johnson to join us on guitar. Jef is a true American original and a true American gift to the musical world. He is a fresh, funky player with a very crisp and hip edge. He has performed and/or recorded with many of the biggest names in funk and R&B, and has collaborated with such heavyweights as James Carter, Rachelle Ferrell, D’Angelo, Billy Joel and George Duke, among many others. He is also no stranger to the program and has been featured on a number of episodes in the past. Jef is one of my favorite guitarists.

Jef Lee Johnson

To round out the group, we asked Roy “Futureman” Wooten (Bela Fleck & The Flecktones) to join us on drums. This multi-Grammy Award winner is another musical heavyweight. I had no idea what to expect at this session, but I knew it would be good. Individually, they are all wonderful musicians. Collectively, I thought there would be magic.

After they all got comfortable in the studio, I think it was Steve who suggested they play the Duke Ellington standard In A Sentimental Mood. After 10 or 15 minutes of rehearsal, we recorded 1 take of the song. True to form, Jef’s guitar licks gave it an extremely funky feel, unlike any other version of the tune I have ever heard. Nice.

Tracy Silverman

Jef then continued the funk by suggesting they play a cover of Miles Davis’ Gingerbread Boy. I sensed that it perhaps had been a while since Jef played it, is it took a few minutes for him to recall many of the changes. When Jef finally got it, Steve and Tracy seemed to pick it up in a heartbeat. We recorded 1 take of this tune as well.

Tracy then led the group through a couple of Open Jams that allowed plenty of room for everyone to contribute fresh and impressive solos. Tracy’s musicianship is just so strong. I never tire of hearing him play. The session ended with a totally unrehearsed 1 take recording of the Jimi Hendrix classic Fire. They hit it hard from start to finish. The interplay between Tracy’s fretted 6-string electric violin and Jef’s guitar was truly mind-blowing. Jimi would’ve been proud.

We taped this session at Milkboy Recording Studios in Ardmore, PA. We have taped Studio Jams episodes there many times in the past, as the owners are strong supporters of our program. They always do a terrific job for us.

Song Names

  1. In A Sentimental Mood
  2. Gingerbread Boy
  3. Jam 1
  4. Jam 2
  5. Fire

– Tom Emmi / Producer



One Response to “Episode #46 – Summary”

  1. Steve Forrest March 24, 2011 at 4:11 pm #

    …and what a blast we had doing it! Thanks Tom for putting it together. We’ll definitely have to do it again.

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