Posted by: seanoldblog | 2011/09/03

This BLOG is MOVING to seanharkness.com

This WordPress blog idea makes so much sense to me that I have officially moved all of the content found here, plus new posts already, over to seanharkness.com.

[Subscribers, please update your info]

Improvements over BOTH this old blog and the old SH.com include:

  • A music player on the front page  [Click ~ OPEN BREAKAWAY PLAYER ~ and it will continue uninterrupted while you surf articles on different pages]
  • the ability for me to post MP3s to the site.  I’ll be posting new songs, music of the various projects and pursuits [see: Allen Gary Palmer‘s new poetry with live guitar accompaniment]
  • Smoother layout theme with thumb-nailed listings for ease of use
  • Links at the bottom to product endorsements and affiliations

And of course, the usual ability to leave comments, interact, share, etc.

SHOWS – the first button next to HOME embeds a constantly updated calendar

PRODUCTS – all my Artist CDs, and soon to come: guitar related products & materials

ABOUT – the latest bio information, to be updated regularly

PHOTOS – fully downloadable images for press releases of all kinds

GUITARS – Click on an image of all my working instruments to hear them.  Great for producers and music directors

WORKING LIFE – Stories and articles I write about my experiences in this wacky business

REVIEWS – Things other people have to say about what they hear and see

Please visit, leave comments, and let me know what you think about the all new interactive seanharkness.com.  Or anything, for that matter.

SH

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Posted by: seanoldblog | 2011/06/14

H2 – Harkness Herriott Duo – ODEG

H2 Worldwide release: June 14th, 2011 on Opening Day

Mike Herriott and Sean Harkness met in Japan while touring a show. Six weeks of traveling together and absorbing the country and the culture, they took advantage of many opportunities to explore music outside of the show they were touring.

A friendship grew and a musical bond developed. This collection of music is a beginning to this exploration of original ideas, combining Sean’s guitar and Mike’s flugelhorn. They each bring their own material to the table, and they chose to invite afew friends to join their duo on half of the songs.

Recorded half in New York City and Half in Toronto, Mike and Sean made use of the influences of these two wonderful cities to bring this music to light.

This is the first collaboration of Harkness/Herriott (H2)… to be followed by many more!

“Mike Herriott and Sean Harkness cleverly use their friendship as an additional instrument in their new recording ‘Flights’…It’s a perfect musical pairing like Cabernet and steak that you can taste for yourself…” – TIM TAMASHIRO, CBC

“You can cut the chemistry with a knife.  Both of them put beauty and feeling first… their compositions create feelings and moods that you will want to revisit again and again.”

– RYAN PRESTONE, Jazz Inside magazine

“I love this combination of guitar and flugelhorn; to my ears, these instruments were meant for each other. Harkness and Herriott prove this point, on this… This is an album that you would buy for your friends, it’s that good. I am already
looking forward to their next release!” – ARNOLD VAN KLAVEREN, CFUV

#1 on CFUV, Vancouver’s premier Jazz radio station

US: 1.201.239.1428    /    Canada: 1.647.888.6707

Songs:

1.     Spring Break
2.     Leap Year
3.     Myffed
4.     Nod To John
5.     Kyra’s Song
6.     Hedge Your Bets
7.     Gambled
8.     And Lost
9.     Armario
10.  Hammock Time

 Songs 3, and 5 © 2009 Mike Herriott, Herriott Music, SOCAN

Songs 1, 2, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10 © 2009 Sean Harkness Music/BMI

Credits:

Mike Herriott: Flugelhorn

Sean Harkness: Guitars

Mark Miller: trombone [2]

Jim Vivian: bass [1, 4, 7, 9]

Kevin Coady: drums [1,4,7,9]

Tracks  2, 3, 5, 8, and 10- recorded at KMA Studios in the Brill building, New York City May 72, 2009

Tracks 1, 4, 6, 7, and 9– recorded at Canterbury Studio, Toronto August 97, 2009

New York recording engineer: Casey Flynn

Toronto recording engineer: Jeremy Darby

Mixed at Chung King Studios, New York City by Ron Allaire, Sean Harkness, and Mike Herriott

Mastered at Taloowa by Chris Muth

Cover design ____

From Sean Harkness:

Every person I have ever met has in some way contributed to the life experiences that serve as the inspiration for this music.  Special thanks for this project: Taka, John, and Jeff Harkness; The Suzuki family; The Kawamura family; Ron Allaire; David ‘Roz’ Rosner,

Guitars used: Gibson-ish custom jazzbox with Thomastik-Enfield flatwounds (.014), Fender Sub-sonic baritone electric guitar on ‘Leap Year’

From Mike Herriott:

I am thrilled to have had the opportunity to meet and work with Sean. I am grateful to those who brought us together in music and acted as a catalyst for the creation of the music contained on this recording:  the late, great Sam Lutfiyya, Mark Miller, Jim Vivian, Kevin Coady, my family and friends.

Equipment used: Yamaha YFL-6310Z flugelhorn, signature “HERRIOTT FL” Wedge Mouthpiece made by Dr. Dave Harrison, Vancouver, BC

Posted by: seanoldblog | 2011/06/14

Harkness Knight – Independent


This collection of songs unites Eric Knights’ impassioned saxophone with the organic sophistication of Sean Harkness’ guitars.  Drawing on influences as diverse as James Taylor, Steely Dan, Marvin Gaye, Jeff Beck, and Kirk Whalum, acoustic guitars and unprocessed saxophone define an exciting and infectious sound.  In each song there is a story told; only it is a guitar, saxophone, or interplay of the two that tells it.  Songs without words need to have a more compelling melody, and these two testify with heart and soul.
Whether they perform as a duo [Tuck & Patti style] or with their cream-of-the-crop NYC backing band this act is equally at home sharing a stage with Dave Matthews or David Sanborn.
Harkness Knight - Harkness Knightrhapsody_bttnNapster_bttneMusic_bttnAmazon_bttnLicensing

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About the Duo:

Sean Harkness and Eric Knight met traveling together with a Broadway show all over the US and Japan for 8 months.  Most nights they would go out after the show to explore the town and find the jam.  Everywhere they went the crowds went crazy and they realized what they have is a rare combination.  They had to make this record!

Credits:

Guitars & Basses: Sean HarknessAlto Sax: Eric Knight
Trumpet: Don Harris 9
Piano: Matt King 1, 7,9,10 /
Doug Oberhamer 3
Drums: Jonathan Mover 6,9,11
Drums: Ricky Lawson 1,7,10
Drums: Simon Phillips 4
Drums: Thierry Arpino 2, 3*
Drums: Joel Rosenblatt 5, 8
Percussion: Jeff Haynes 1, 2,4,6,7,9,10
[*Thierry Arpino 3]

Guitars & Basses: Walden signature steel string / Yairi classic / Custom Gibson ES125 jazz box /
Wilson Stlye ‘S’ electric / Fender Subsonic baritone / Custom Ibanez fretless bass / G&L 5 string bass

Sax: Selmer Paris Super Action 80 Series II / Claude Lakey mouthpiece / Vandoren Reeds

Humans: all genuine, non-simulated, and un-digitized.

Produced by Sean Harkness with Ron Allaire at Skyline Studios, NYC
Additional engineering: Steve Geuting
With special thanks to Jonathan Mover and DrumHead magazine
Mastered by Chris Muth at Taloowa
Photography: Bill Bernstein / Design: J Sylvester (jdesignnyc.com)

Jimmy’s Night Out is for Jimmy Norman
Celinda is for Celinda Jane Hardy Harkness, 1941-2003
Heaven Sent is for Layla Divina Behrends Heaven

Sean Harkness: Every person I have ever met has in some way contributed to the life experiences that serve as the inspiration for this music.  Special thanks for this project: Taka, John, and Jeff Harkness; The Suzuki family; The Kawamura family; Jonathan Mover; Ron Allaire; Heather Smith; Amos Halfi  ; The Drummers; Doug and Matt, John Edman; Randall B. Plourde; Liz Story; Brian Camelio; Dan Bryson; Judy Murray; Karen & Rob Kohler

Eric Knight: Special thanks to my mother and father for bringing the gift of music into my life. To my wife Jennifer for the support, motivation, and love. To Sean Harkness for allowing my voice to be heard through your beautiful music.

Posted by: seanoldblog | 2011/06/14

Urakaji – Rinken Records, Okinawa, Japan

Sean was visiting  Okinawa in September of 2003 and met the legendary Rinken Teruya of Rinken Band fame.  Upon hearing Sean play one of his solo pieces (Coming Home) Rinken san sent him home with the complete catalogue of Rinken Band CDs – all 24 of them – with instructions to select 10 songs and come back with solo guitar arrangements to make a CD!  Urakaji (“breeze/wind over Urasoe Village”) is Harkness’s first completely SOLO guitar CD.  10 of the 12 songs were composed by Rinken san and arranged by Sean, the other 2 are are Sean’s original compositions.  This recording reflects Sean Harkness - Trio of One rhapsody_bttnNapster_bttneMusic_bttnAmazon_bttnLicensing

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the spontaneity of Rinken – all live takes, no edits! – and the magical spirit of Rinken’s Okinawa, as told by Sean’s guitar.  Guitars used are steel string acoustic (thanks to David Ralston), a nylon string classical acoustic (thanks to Takako Suzuki), and Sean’s Fender Subsonic electric baritone guitar.

* * *

“Sean has so far composed many musical works with full-scale arrangements …his artful and beautiful harmony [also hides] a big charm as music of the calm healing system.  Here Sean, who plays an active part in New York, added international flavor to the music of Rinken.  Whether familiar with Rinken’s music or not, I want the people to let their body feel the [breeze/wind] of his fingerstyle guitar playing.”
Review from the Nihon Keizai Shinbun, Japan’s ‘Wall Street Journal’

Sean_Rinken

Credits:

Musicians & Staff

Guitars: Sean Harkness
Guitar Arrangements: Sean Harkness

Producer: Rinken Teruya
Recording Engineer: Rinken Teruya, Jin (ajima inc.)
Assistant Engineer: Junko Nakamura (Kalahaai)
Mixing Engineer: Rinken Teruya (ajima inc.)
Recording Studio: ajima Studio in Chatan, Okinawa
Mastering Studio: Sony Music Studios Tokyo, Japan
Production Manager: Yoshiyaki Nakanishi (ajima inc)
Director: Tetsuya Tasaki (Rinken Records)
Artist Management: Miwa Hayakawa (Mercer Street Music Inc.)
Cover Photo: Kvon (www.kvonphotography.com)
Other Photos: Rinken Teruya (ajima inc.) Haruki Yoshida (Digital Magic)
Art Director: Haruki Yoshida (Digital Magic)

Special Thanks

The Suzuki family, the Harkness family, the entire staff at ajima inc., Hideki Ninomiya (Mercer Street Music Inc.), David Ralston*, Gachapine, Bokunen Naga, Al DiMarco, Liz Story, Steve Gentile, Randall Plourde (Evergreen Programs, VT)

Guitars Used:

Steel String Acoustic: Alvarez Yairi WY-1* on songs 2, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10Onstage_wRinken

Classical Acoustic: Yamaha CG-151C on songs 1, 3, 12
Baritone Electric: Fender Sub-Sonic on songs 4, 11

* * *

Urakaji Full Story:

In September of 2003 during one visit to Japan, my [then] girlfriend Takako and I flew from Tokyo to sunny Okinawa to visit her brother and his family for five days.  Okinawa is a lovely island country with a rich, ancient history, and its own very distinct culture, language, and music.  It lies roughly halfway between Japan and Taiwan in the East China Sea and is presently a possession of Japan.

Through the international network of musician friends (“hey, I’m going to Okinawa next week – who should I call?”) I was introduced to Nakanishi san, the manager for Rinken Teruya of Rinken Band fame.   On a Friday afternoon Taka and I were given a tour of their music complex which consisted of a recording studio, a restaurant, bar, theatre, rehearsal rooms, and offices – all on the western beach of Chatan.  We were also invited to a Rinken Band concert that evening.

The show was magical, with an 8-piece ensemble, colorful costumes, light show, dancing, laughing…  The music was mostly composed by Rinken, but was firmly rooted in the tradition of Okinawan culture.  Rinken’s wife Tomoko was awe-inspiring with her exotic singing and her stunning  presence on stage.  The
audience was ALL ages, and about half Japanese and half Okinawan.  It was very interesting to see the Japanese folks sitting still and pleasantly smiling while the Okinawans were standing, dancing with their hands in the air and often shouting and whistling on the upbeats, as is part of the traditional dancing.

After the show the band is already waiting just outside the main entrance, in costume, to have their pictures taken (the Japanese love their pictures!), sign autographs, etc.  Taka and I watch on, cheekbones aching with long smiles, taking in the magic vibe these folks had going on.   As the crowd was thinning Rinken himself came over, sat down next to me and asked, “Who are you?”

Fortunately, Taka was there, because that was pretty much the extent of his English.  When she explained to him that I was a guitarist from New York City traveling in Japan, he suggested that we meet him in 10 minutes or so in his office and we’d have some tea.  On the way, Taka and I went to our car to fetch one of my CDs for him, which naturally was in my guitar case.

When we appeared in his office, I reached into my guitar case to give him a CD. He said (in Japanese), “I don’t want a CD, thanks – please play me a song!”  So, I took out the guitar and played him ‘Coming Home’.  When it was over, he just sat there with a very thoughtful look on his face,  not saying a word.  Strange reaction, I thought to myself.  After a while, he began speaking very quickly to Taka, who then translated.

The plan was this: he sent me home that night with a Rinken Band Greatest Hits CD and instructions to please create a solo guitar arrangement for the song of my choice.  When it’s ready, he said, come back over to the studio and we’ll record a demo to see how it goes.

I spent all of the next day (apologies to the Suzuki family!) working on TWO songs, which we recorded the following day.  Time in the studio together with the three of us (Rinken, Taka as translator, and myself) was such a complete blast that he sent us home with the full Rinken Band catalogue – 26 CDs and 2 DVDs – with the assignment of creating a full album’s worth of solo guitar arrangements. We drew up the paperwork and made plans for a return visit to Okinawa to make a new CD for Rinken’s label.  Taka was also invited to come as interpreter. Very exciting stuff!

The more time I spent learning about Rinken and sifting through his mountain of songs and videos at home, the more excited I got about returning to Okinawa. Rinken’s instrument is the Sanshin, which has three strings that pass over a stretched snakeskin head.  It appears to be an early predecessor to the banjo.  It is generally used to outline the melody while laying down a very clear rhythm.  The lines are usually simple and clear, repetitive, and blossoming from that joyful scale that most Okinawan songs come from [1, 3, 4 5, 7 – or do, mi, fa, sol, ti].

Having no idea about his history, and unable to understand the lyrics, it was interesting to discover that the songs I selected were all hits at one time or another.  The music speaks for itself!

I listened very carefully for songs that had strong, well-developed melodies, and for songs that seemed to lend themselves to a guitar arrangement.  Each song got a different treatment – one felt like a good acoustic rock anthem (think waving lighters during the slow song at a rock concert), one became a bossa nova, a couple went to the baritone electric, many to the steel string acoustic, a few to the classical nylon string guitar.  Countless hours later, I sent Rinken a demo recording of what I’d done and we made travel plans.

Meanwhile, Taka and I were making big progress in our relationship.  No longer
were we alternating visits between Tokyo and New York every two months.  Now she was well into a series of three-month tourist visas staying with me in New York.  The US immigration offices didn’t know it, but we were living together!  Every three months we would travel together to Japan to visit with her family, grow my musical connections there, and reset her visa.  During one of these visits, in February of 2004 we went to Okinawa to do the recording with Rinken.  I had big plans for that trip myself – I had a diamond ring in my pocket!

With a hearty blessing from Taka’s father, we arrived in Okinawa two days ahead of our recording schedule so that I could find a good place and time to propose.  We met Rinken san that first night and had a lovely dinner together at his restaurant, after which he asked what time I’d  be at the studio the next morning.  Awkward moment.  Luckily, Taka needed to  be excused from the table, and I took the opportunity to explain (in my developing but still pitiful Japanese) that I was hoping to find a nice beach tomorrow to give Taka the ring. He smiled his huge smile and said that he understood.

Our hotel phone rang very early the next morning and it was Rinken san inviting us to spend the day on his friend’s boat. I thought then that maybe he didn’t understand after all.  When he said to please invite Taka’s brother and family as well I realized that he was one step ahead of me!

The glass-bottomed boat reached the coral reef way out in the sea looking over Urasoe City and the splendor of the Okinawan islands.  Taka and I took a little walk topside.  “What a beautiful day”, I said.  She agreed.  I asked, “We could work together to make every day for the rest of our lives just as beautiful – what do you say?” while handing her a lovely diamond ring.  She agreed that this was a wonderful idea.  We went back into the boat and shared our happy news with her brother and our new friends.

I had told Rinken that we were very interested to see Okinawa – the real Okinawa.  Not the American military base, not the Japanese tourist attractions – we wanted to see  his Okinawa.  We started recording the next day at around 10:00 in the morning: getting sounds, making a plan, trying different things out.  A few hours later Rinken says in English “I’m hungry!”  That was our first four-hour lunch.  We worked another couple of hours in the afternoon, then a long dinner.  For 6 days we repeated this same scenario.

We went go-cart racing up in the north.  We went to his sister and brother’s musical instrument shop in the city.  We met his mom; learned about his father who was a prominent figure in the Okinawan music scene his whole life.  We met his friend Bokunen the renowned woodcut artist who co-wrote many songs with Rinken as lyricist.  We met friends, family, visited favorite cafes and restaurants.  We went to a marine science underwater observatory, then to the space telescope on top of the mountain.  Every day was an adventure.  While I’m sure all of these things contributed to the spirit  of the recording, fortunately I was musically fairly well prepared since we spent so little time recording!

When the new CD titled ‘Urakaji’ was released that  summer Taka and I once
again left New York for Tokyo and a series of solo guitar performances.  We got a wonderful review from the Nihon Keizai Shinbun, which is their equivalent to the Wall Street Journal.  It read:

“Sean has so far composed many musical works with full-scale arrangements …his artful and beautiful harmony [also hides] a big charm as music of the calm healing system.  Here Sean, who plays an active part in New York, added international flavor to the music of Rinken.  Whether familiar with Rinken’s music or not, I invite the people to let their body feel the [breeze/wind] of his fingerstyle guitar playing.”

‘Urakaji’ means literally ‘island country breeze’.   It also refers to Urasoe City where our enchanted boat ride took place.  The two characters on the cover mean ‘island country’ (same as the Urasoe city name) and ‘wind’ [or ‘breeze’].

The prominent New York design artist Jay Sylvester has reworked the original
Okinawan album art (which features photos taken by  Rinken during our delightful visit), my wife Takako translated the Japanese to English, and we now have a very special product that we’re happy to share with the American market.

SH

Posted by: seanoldblog | 2011/06/14

Trio Of One – Independent

Trio Of One was Harkness’s first completely independent solo venture.  Still composing at that time for the trio format – two acoustic guitars and bass – these songs are a very honest glimpse into Sean’s world at that time.  Recorded in 2000 in Los Angeles, Harkness multi-tracked all of the guitars and bass.  Brian Camelio plays one of the guitars on his own composition “Reunion”, and Sean is joined by L.A. bassist Chad Watson on the Brasilian flavored “Convidado”. Sean Harkness - Trio of Onerhapsody_bttnNapster_bttneMusic_bttnAmazon_bttnLicensing

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* * *

Credits:
Produced by Sean Harkness
Co-produced and engineered by Gilberto ‘Gil’ Morales
Recorded at Love Tribe Studio, Los Angeles, CA
“Reunion” recorded live at Skyline Studios, NYC by Bo Boddie
Mastered by John Matousek @ Masterworks, L.A., CA
Design: J Sylvester Design, NYC
Illustrations: William Pond
Photography: Andrew Vaughan

Sean Harkness played:

  • Alvarez-Yairi CY-118 classical guitar
  • Custom Taylor 514-C acoustic guitar
  • Ibanez Musician fretless bass modified by Chip Wilson, New Orleans, LA
  • Pyramid, Thomastik-Infeld, and D’Addarrio strings
  • B-Band transducers for live performances

Brian Camelio plays a Yamaha acoustic guitar on “Reunion”

Chad “Mercury” Watson plays upright bass on Convidado

All of my family, friends, and anyone I’ve met contributed to the life experiences that serve as the inspiration for this music.  My eternal thanks to you all.

Special thanks for support with this project:

Rich Acocella; Brian Camelio; Jim Coleman; ”Professor” Pete Desrosiers; Steve Gentile; John Harkness; Fred Kewley; Lisa Lynne Franco; Gil Morales; Jonathan Mover; Panasonic Pro Audio; Randall B. Plourde; Bill Pond; Steve Remote; Jay Sylvester; Taylor Guitars; Tuck & Patti; Andy Vaughan; Vintage Studio Rentals [LA]; Chad Watson; Chip Wilson; Brian, Jeff, and Keith @ Little Big Feet Studio; Coco, Dawn, Marty, Jan/Lois, Bob, Marie, and all the people of my favorite Caribbean island.

All mixes tested and approved on Rollerblades™ and a Sony Walkman™.  No animals were harmed in the making of this recording [except for a few crickets].

Music and Art Careers Mentored by Randall B. PLourde at Evergreen of Vermont (802) 862-6674

All compositions © 2001 Sean Harkness Music BMI

“Reunion” © (p) 1997 WTM Series ASCAP

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