Jack Desalvo

Jack DeSalvo started guitar lessons when he was eight years old. He was already performing and rehearsing with local rock bands by his teens. When he was 11, he purchased an LP that had the cover as his first step towards a new interest in pop music. Fresh Cream was already a well-known record at the time. He was inspired by the song Sleepy Time Time and began to research the Blues. After seeing Johnny Winter and Duane Alman perform, DeSalvo was 15 years old and had taken up the mandolin and harmonica. He also started using a bottleneck slide. His teenage garage band was trying to change their repertoire to include more blues-oriented material. Steve Aprahamian, now an accomplished composer, played him Birds of Fire from the Mahavishnu Orchestra. It changed everything. The music of Miles, Coltrane and early jazz was exposed to them. DeSalvo began to lose focus on his art and sketching, which had been the heart of his childhood activities. However, he felt that they were both influenced by the same impulse. Al Faraldi, Jack’s jazz teacher, introduced Jack to classical guitar. Al took Jack to NYC to Leonid Bolotine, his teacher. Bolotine, a violinist in Toscanini’s NBC Orchestra had established the American Institute of the Guitar and the Mannes College of Music guitar department. Bolotine urged DeSalvo to begin studying theory, harmony, and composition with Ariada Mikashina, who was previously a student at Richard Strauss. Jack continued jazz and improvisation studies during his classical studies. He played in bands with Tom Tedesco, the eventual recording engineer, and Frank Jolliffe (the late Chapman Stick inventor). DeSalvo formed a band with Tedesco and Charlie Monte, the trumpeter, and Joe Buonomo, and performed in clubs throughout New York and New Jersey, playing a variety of old songs, Wayne Shorter tunes, and free improvisation. DeSalvo traveled to Boston to study at Berklee College of Music. DeSalvo also took George Russell’s Lydian Chromatic Concept. He began to write music every day at the age of 21. This was encouraged by William Stafford’s daily practice of writing one poem per day. Although Jack has written many forms, including symphonic and chamber music, his main focus was music for small jazz bands. These pieces are accessible to musicians via the jazz chart and DeSalvo feels they are similar to free verse poetry. This art form has also enriched DeSalvo’s sensibilities. To immerse himself into the music scene in lower Manhattan, he moved to his apartment at Mott St. and Prince St., which was a hub for many musical genres. It was located down the block from Lunch for Your Ears, the original Knitting Factory and Todd’s Copy Shop Gallery. DeSalvo’s writing was developed in this environment, which he called Composing For Improvisers. He also continued to improvise. He kept his classical and jazz guitar skills separate until he began to study with Bill Connors. Connors was the first guitarist to record his iconic ECM recordings with Return To Forever. DeSalvo was encouraged by Connors to end the duality between right-hand classical technique and plectrum-oriented jazz music playing. This was liberating. Jack developed a flamenco-like fluidity using his right-hand fingers, which matched the plectrum technique that he had learned early on. DeSalvo performed a lot of his own compositions at that time. He performed at Inroads and the Open Center, as well as at clubs such Seventh Avenue South or the Inner Circle. Moments Of was his first recorded recording. He recorded it with Rick Jesse, Chris Braun, Scott Butterfield, and Rick Jesse, tenor saxophone. He began playing extended sessions with Chris Braun, his drummer, and Mike Bocchicchio (bass player), who were both only a few years older than him. They played mostly jazz standards, Coltrane, Sonny Rollins, and some of Chris Braun’s music. DeSalvo was able to understand the essence of swing through the two great jazz players, Braun and Bocchcchio. The only recording they made of Braun’s music was produced by Tom Tedesco in the pre-Tedesco studio. DeSalvo’s next album, produced by David Baker, was Falls Home, which featured DeSalvo’s compositions and solo and quartet performances. DeSalvo was a frequent guest at the gigs of Tony DeCicco, a bass player he knew from Berklee. They performed in a gallery in the Lower East Side. There they were joined by Trish Burgess (saxophonist, composer), who introduced them to Bruce Ditmas. Tony and Jack were familiar with Ditmas, a veteran of The Gil Evans Orchestra as well as the Paul Bley Quartet. The session was started. The session was set up without a word being said, and the playing began. The trio was able to improvise complete pieces using a common sense of compositional structure, but with an unrestrained feeling of abandon. They quickly became known as D3. D3 was a popular band in the city, known for their strong interplay and frequent performances at First on First and Knitting Factory. Joe Pedoto’s Omni-Mix Studio recorded the recording. Melvin Gibbs (bassist) was aware that Ronald Shannon Jackson was searching for a guitarist for his band The Decoding Society. He recorded the recording and then hired DeSalvo. Following several European and American tours, Ronald Shannon Jackson was joined by a horn-less Decoding Society. This band included Ramon Pooser and Conrad Mathieu as well as guitarists DeSalvo (and the late Jef Le Johnson). DeSalvo played in Europe with Miles’ band, Club Remont in Warsaw, and Peter Brotzmann in Wuppertal. Jackson’s classic recording Red Warrior (Knit Classics, KCR-3032/orig.) DeSalvo features on it. Axiom features Jack on electric and slide guitars, as well as the mandolin in the bonus track Harmolodic Christmas. Transparencies (Bellaphon CDR-45057) was soon followed by Jack on guitars, balafon and vibes. Jack also plays 12-string, electric and classical guitars. Anthony Cox plays double-bass while Tom Tedesco handles drums and percussion. D3, Spontaneous Combustion was the first album. It featured Jack on electric guitar, Tony DeCicco and Bruce Ditmas on the drums. This recording was made at Tedesco Studio. Produced by Peter Wiessmuller and engineered by David Baker. Arthur Lipner’s vocals, marimba, and Jack’s electric and classical guitars were combined to create the duo performance Liquide Stones (Enja/TutuCD-888132). This recording received rave reviews from both sides of the Atlantic. Warm ballads are burgeoning alongside provocative, avant-garde soundplasma, creating their own integrated musical systems of coordination.” -Rainer Guerich (CD Tips), Germany. Arthur recorded DeSalvo’s Pramantha composition on his album In Any Language, which also featured Vic Juris on the guitar. DeSalvo performed at the Knitting Factory with various ensembles, including Pat Hall’s Quintet, and his own groups, which included a trio with Jeff Carney and Bruce Ditmas, and a quartet featuring Chris Kelsey and Peter Herbert, as well as Ditmas. The quartet recorded DeSalvo’s album Sudden Moves, (UR9989). Tedesco Studio was used to record the album Stutches, which features Jack on banjo and mandolin, and Chris Kelsey playing soprano and soprano saxophones. Engineer Jon Rosenberg also recorded the tabla, percussion, and drums. The long-standing duo of DeSalvo u0026 percussionist Tom Cabrera recorded their debut album Tales of Coming Home (UR9986). Cabrera played frame drums and rhythm, while DeSalvo was playing steel-string acoustic sixes and 12-string guitars as well as slide and mandolins. DeSalvo was still improvising classical guitar throughout this period. His solo guitar album Jubilant Rain (UR9987), has his liner notes that he states, “I came across improvised music gradually as a teenager while studying classical guitar and being a part of garage bands.” However, it was Keith Jarrett’s solo recordings that revealed a process that was perhaps more paradigm-shifting than the amazing jazz I was listening at the time. Jarrett was not simply improvising on the harmonies in a song. He was creating the whole thing. “…I wanted to find, if possible, the same process. This would require me to move out of my way and allow music that clearly exists in another world, another dimension, or some parallel universe to flow through my instrument, guitar. The Institute for Contemporary Art in Philadelphia commissioned a chamber version of DeSalvo’s piece, The Guest, which was performed by Anthony Scafide’s Chamber Ensemble. While he continued to perform his music in New York, including at The Internet Cafe with a quintet that included saxophonist Tony Malaby and trumpeter Dave Ballou, as well as a trio with Ron Horton, Tony Moreno, and Tony Hebert on drums, this period became a time for intense self-reflection. This period centered on classical guitar repertoire, from Renaissance lute music through Bach to contemporary works such as Britten’s Nocturnal, and transcriptions of Ginastera Ginasterasterasterasterasterasterasterasterasterasterasterasterasterasterastera’s of Ginasterasterasterasterasterasterastera’s of Ginastera’sa’stasterasterasterasterasterasterasterasterasterasterasterasterasterastera asterasterasterasterasterastera a a a’s a’s a’s a’s s a’s a’s a’s s s piano music. At the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music, DeSalvo premiered Tango Grotesco by Sean Hickey, which was dedicated in his honor. Return to Omni-Mix Studio to record Pramantha (UR9988), a solo guitar album with steel-string acoustic acoustic guitars. This, along with his previous recordings My Goals Beyond, John McLaughlin, and Bill Connors’ Theme To The Guardian, on ECM, and even Conversations With Myself by Bill Evans, makes it a very personal album. DeSalvo’s relationship to UNSEEN RAIN Records, producer-engineers Gene Gaudette, and Jim DeSalvo has provided an artistic home for his work as both a recording artist, and as a producer. He brought in artists such as Chris Kelsey and Pat Hall as well as Bob Rodriguez, Lee Marvin and Steve Cohn. Regular gigs with Jack DeSalvo’s Standards Trio, along with Tony DeCicco’s D3 cohorts and Bruce Ditmas, led to the recording Heliconia(UR9991) under Jack’s name. Meanwhile, gigs with Tom DeSteno’s Trio that featured DeSalvo as well as bassist Mark Hagan led to DeSteno’s album Coriolis Sky (19999). DeSalvo plays a variety of guitars and mandolins, as well as a cello, mandola, and a small, highly-tuned alto. Jack DeSalvo and Tom Cabrera’s duo album Libra Moon (UR9978), features a growing percussion setup and DeSalvo playing cello, mandola, and an acoustic guitarist. Jon Berger, a drummer and multi-percussionist, met with Lee Marvin, Jack DeSalvo, on guitars, mandolin and alto guitars, to create the music for their first UNSEEN ROAD album, River Road (UR9994). They perform DeSalvo’s and Lee Marvin’s pieces with roots in jazz and new music, folk, and ethnic music. The addition of Arthur Lipner, a mallet master, and some of his compositions to the second River Road album will be recorded in spring 2013. D3 also recorded three additional albums for UNSEEN RAIN (UR9990), Starlight (UR9990), and the trio covered a wide range of music including songs by Charles Mingus, Sting, and their own improvised pieces. Next, D3 added Miles alumnus Sam Morrison as guest saxophonist for Over The Edge (UR9995). The title is an inspiration from Carlos Casteneda’s Tales of Power. “Then, a strange impulse, a force made me run with them to the northern edge of this mesa. UNSEEN RAIN’s Bootleg series has a live D3 set with Sam Morrison at Tobacco Road in NYC (URB998). For D3’s following album Off World (UR9972), DeSalvo, DeCicco and Ditmas enlisted multi-instrumentalist Matt Lavelle who contributed trumpet, flugelhorn and alto clarinet for an adventure into wild sonorities and improvisations. Jack is also featured on many other recordings, such as Chris Kelsey’s What I Say on Engine Records. This album explores the 70s period Miles repertoire with Kelsey and Rolf Sturm playing guitars, DeSalvo on alto and soprano, Dean Sharp on drums, Joe Gallant and Rolf Sturm playing bass, and Joe Gallant on guitars. Kelsey’s explorations into jazz music and his own compositions are evident in the One Up One Down group on the UNSEEN RAIN album, Live From Nowhere (UR9965). The group features Kelsey on saxophones with DeSalvo on guitar, Lewis Porter playing the organ, Joe Gallant on bass, and Alan Lerner on the drums. Lion Hearted (UR9980), a trio that performs Jack’s music with Herb Kloss on concert flutes and alto flutes, DeSalvo and cello, mandala and classical guitar, and Tom Cabrera and Tom Cabrera playing frame drums andpercussion. A new duo featuring Cabrera (UR9966), DeSalvo and a few others is expected to be released soon. Jack plays guitar on Pat Hall’s K3rnelPaN1C(UR9985), with Pat on trombone, electronic treatments via laptop, Joe Gallant and Bruce Ditmas playing drums, percussion, and keyboards. Another project resulting from Chris Kelsey’s current creative period with music by Chris u0026 Ornette is Chris on his straight alto Saxophone, Jack playing cello, Lewis Porter playing piano, Joe Gallant on bass, and Dave Miller drumming. The yet untitled album (UR9961), will soon be available. Joel Shapira, a Twin Cities guitarist, has joined Jack DeSalvo for an extraordinary guitar-duo album (UR9963). Recorded at Beanstudio, they shed light on many of Jack’s pieces, as well as music by Wayne Shorter and Ralph Towner. They also performed two pieces that were extemporaneous and a standard. Tom Cabrera, percussionist, and DeSalvo, on cello and mandola, joined their long-time friend Matt Lavelle, who plays the trumpet, pocket trumpets, flugelhorn, and alto clarinet on Sumari (UR9962). Jack DeSalvo was involved in several creative recordings, including Happy House (UR9993) Chris Kelsey on alto and soprano trumpets, Pat Hall on trombone and Joe Gallant on bass and Dean Sharp (drums Fish Cannot Leave Deep Water) Bob Rodriguez and Lee Marvin (double-bass) and Bruce Ditmas (drums Send Out Signals) Blaise Siwula (alto and tenor clarinets), Blaise Siwula (UR9964) and Rudy Royston (double-bass) and Rudy Royston (drums) Jack DeSalvo is acous) and performs. From www.jackdesalvo.com

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