Things which I am, do, love, fear, and aspire to!

Music

Photo of ivan and Seeing Eye dog Zeke, with two 
keyboards and a bass in the background.

This page contains music I have played, some of which is original.

My History with Music

I began playing piano around 1981, at the age of four years old, after showing interest in the different sounds my parent’s baby grand piano made. I had an incredible piano teacher, Gail Smith, who made it possible for me to feed my love and interest in music! I always improvised classical songs, and Gail had to get me back on track with the song as-written.

In 1990 I played piano in eighth grade orchestra, which was my gateway into jazz and funk and even a little country - this was so-long playing classical music for me.

In 1991 my parents purchased me a Korg M1 keyboard, and I had a great time playing in high school jazz band and starting a DJ business with my brother. The DJ business wouldn’t have been possible without the encouragement, transportation, and financial support of mom and dad, and help and love of my brother Steve. I used a built-in sequencer on the M1 keyboard to create multi-track (piano / bass / drums / …) music, but the length of those songs were limited by the keyboards internal memory.

In 2002 I purchased a Roland XV-88 synthesizer with SRX-01 (dynamic drums) and SRX-02 (concert piano) expansion boards, which were a big improvement to my available sounds. I use computer MIDI sequencing software to record multiple tracks from the Roland XV-88. I started out using the Power Tracks sequencer , then switched to the Quick Windows Sequencer (QWS) in 2006 thanks to Andre Louis.

Around 2012 I wasn’t creating music as often, and I sold my gear in 2016 when we began traveling the US and living as nomads. We paused our nomad life in September 2019 to address Michelle developing a spontaneous CSF leak, shortly after which the COVID-19 pandemic began. Feeling a renewed interest in music and knowing we would be staying put for a while, I purchased a Komplete Kontrol S61 MK2 keyboard and some software instruments to make music again.

Back Into Music in 2020 -

We paused our nomad life in September 2019 to address Michelle developing a spontaneous CSF leak, shortly after which the COVID-19 pandemic began. Feeling a renewed interest in music and knowing we would be staying put for a while, I purchased a Komplete Kontrol S61 MK2 keyboard and some software instruments to make some music!

These songs are the first I’ve created with this new gear. I sent a CD as a surprise to my grandmother who is in her late 90s, sequestering herself against COVID-19, and is healing from an unrelated issue - I hope this music helps bring some joy to her days.

  1. Somewhere Over the (Easy) Rainbow - A solo piano, chill version of this classic.

  2. Georgia On My Mind - This recording is from 2010, which my grandmother has never heard, and I included on my CD because it’s a favorite.

  3. Saturday Night Recorded - A composition I wrote that reminds me (after my co-worker Brian mentioned it) of the closing theme to Saturday Night Live. The title represents this iconic show not currently being live, due to the pandemic.

  4. Amazing Grace - A solo piano version, that gets soulful without being too busy.

Georgia On My Mind -

This is a mostly solo piano version of Georgia On My Mind joined by an electric piano for a little break-out groove at the end.

Jumpstart This -

Jumpstart This is a soulful, light groove with piano, guitar, electric piano, and a bit of funky bass in the middle.

Funk With Berrie -

I wanted to try my hand at a funky tune with Berrie Saxophone, and Funk With Berrie was born. It’s a little funk in G, with some Berrie Sax backgrounds. The Berrie timing is a little off, though.

Piano and Organ Blues -

Nothing like some good ol’ piano and organ blues in C - I love me some Hamond organ vibrato, and tried to get what I could out of the Roland XV-88 organ patches.

Ivan's Jazzy Christmas 2003 -

After the success, fun, and appreciation of the previous CD, I created another one which I also gave to friends and family, and posted online. Get it for yourself at the Christmas 2003 CD page.

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I decided to make a few songs that could be
played as introduction to a radio show, or podcast. Check out the intros here.

Ivan's Jazzy Christmas 2002 -

In 2002 I wanted to do more with music, and created a CD which I gave to friends and family for Christmas. I also put the songs online, and got quite an unexpected number of appreciative emails from people who discovered them! Check out the Ivan’s Jazzy Christmas 2002 CD page.