I've admired Jamie Glaser's fine guitar work for decades with Jean Luc Ponty, Chick Corea, Gloria Trevi and others. Glaser & I weree chatting recently and I asked if he'd cast his mind back a few decades to discuss his wonderful album The Dream. Take it away, Jamie!
The Dream Originally released on MGI / Intercord records Germany.
I am very grateful that right after I graduated Berklee College of Music in 1977 I got the gig with Jean Luc Ponty. To this day it�s still my favorite musical situation.
Jean Luc was nearing his peak years sales wise when I joined the band and we were on the jazz charts at no 1, and on the pop charts at times breaking into the top 40. Ponty�s music was and is very different than what is thought of as fusion or jazz fusion in that melody was king.
We had plenty of technique (like the other fusion bands) and we had strong grooves (like some of the other fusion groups) but with Jean Luc we had more memorable melodies as the basis for the music. We were not really �branded� by the record company but somehow we branded ourselves, we liked being �rock stars� , mixing image , a handsome bandleader, romantic melodies and fashion.
I was very inspired by Jean Luc and was also listening to what was the start of New Age music , before smooth jazz took off. I loved the sing-able melodies, the way the music was orchestrated, and the grooves of pop music.
My father was a lyricist for people like Sinatra, Nat King Cole, Sarah Vaughan and others so I grew up with standards, pop jazz standards. He wasn�t a jazz lyricist; he was a lyricist for great songs that may have gotten jazz treatment.
Setting out to record The Dream I wanted to �say� something. I didn�t want to do another fusion album, or to compete with the guitarist of the day like Al Dimeola and other shredders. To me the song was the nucleus and the improvisation was ornamental. To most jazz rock fusion players and writers, the improv was what energized them.
Track 1: The Dream
JG: I wrote this short intro the same way I processed Ponty�s overtures to his suites. I also remembered my childhood going to Broadway shows all the time and the overtures that started the shows. I decided after actually doing a traditional overture , showing a little of every composition to come that I would write an INTRO piece , something to tell the whole story.
The Dream is about Triumph, about Mystery, about saying�Hey this is a musical journey, come on and join me.
Track 2: Lonely For You
JG: My father died on my 30th birthday. While everyone was so worried that I would never be able to celebrate on my day again, I felt like the amazing bond I had with my father was solidified by his passing on my day. A week before he went into a coma he said �Jamie , I will wish you a happy birthday and tell you I love you� On my birthday my brother Randy called and said Jamie ..Dad wants to talk to you , he came out of the coma a little while ago.
I waited to hear his voice and he did as he promised. He wished me a happy birthday and told me he loved me. I told him I loved him too. After he hung up my brother called back about 5 minutes later to tell me my father had passed away.
Lonely For You was about my father but also about my dog Blicky who was a pug who lived 18 years and died , as well as the sadness due to my 1st marriage ending between the recording of the dream originally and its release. It was recorded later after the original cassette release of my album when I signed the record deal with the German record company.
In the bridge of the song I play TWO NOTES that are actually saying �Blicky� Daddy , and the name of my first wife. I was very sad and this song was my way of expressing my sadness.
Strangely later on, hospitals and PSA�s have used Lonely For You for their TV commercials, which are supposed to be �uplifting� This always seemed so crazy to me.
Track 3: Get the Wood
JG: This energetic piece was inspired by some funk I heard on the radio in New York and I thought I could make this a real fiery fusion song. The term Get the Wood was actually supposed to be about the crazy and wonderful times I had on tour with lots of great women. I found out after the release of the album that all of us in the band that used the term Get the Wood, should have been saying Give the Wood. We had it backwards but �. the record was out already. LOL
Track 4: Sunshine of Your Love
JG: I was a big Cream fan and always was touched by Eric Clapton�s guitar stuff. I didn�t want to do a cover so I got the acoustic guitar out and decided to jazz up the harmony a bit, turned on my drum machine and it just kinda came to be. The interlude of the song was me learning the technique of sequencing with Midi. This was an experiment in using STEP RECORD In STEP RECORD you choose the length of the note 1/4 -1/8 etc, and then just play the midi controller one note at a time. I loved this new tool and set out to play 8th notes with NO thought before just put my hand down on the midi keyboard and see what comes out. Once I finished I had the music printed that the computer and I created and learned to play it on the guitar. Love STEP RECORD.
Track 5: Bora Bora
JG: I had a wonderful honeymoon in the late 80�s and we went to Tahiti I first started the song with a Polynesian groove but as it developed I used the bass as the main instrument and I did a part that was influenced by Larry Graham and Marcus Miller. I was in the Lenny White band with Marcus and I traded jazz lick lessons for slap bass lessons. Marcus showed me how to NOT play like a White Boy.
Track 6: Captured
JG: I originally wrote this song with one thing in mind, the hope that Jean Luc Ponty would play a solo on it. I chose chords that I knew he enjoyed playing over and a groove that he would enjoy. Sadly he refused to play on my album saying that he didn�t do sessions anymore but he wished me luck. After his refusal I decided to redo it some so it would fit my playing and I enjoyed working on the piece.
Track 7: Running Free
JG: I was the composer for a syndicated TV show called Stunt Masters and it was my big break. I was in the studio when the composer of Seinfeld, Married With Children etc (Jonathan Wolff) got a phone call asking if he would write the main title of the show. He called me over the headphones� "Hey Jamie, you wanna compose for a new TV show?� I said with my heart coming out of my chest�YES!
I composed the song in an hour after seeing the storyboard, went into the studio with studio musicians 2 hours later, mixed it, mastered it, and delivered it to the TV station 4 hours later. They presented me with a 13,000-dollar check. I was a happy camper that day.
Running Free was something I wrote for the show originally but decided to make 2 compositions out of it. One ended up in Stunt Masters and the other on my album. No one would know they came from the same beginnings, but that�s the fun of composing.
Track 8: It�ll Be Different
JG: This song was my song I sent to my wife as our marriage fell apart. I wanted to tell her give me another chance and It will be different and show my heart in song. While she was moved by the song the divorce happened soon after. Tim Lawless an amazing singer that we have all heard sing the �south of the border� Taco Bell commercial in the 90�s was a fellow Long Islander who was super friendly with my brother Randy who was a drummer. I sang the song originally but Tim was surely the right guy for the song. I love what he did.
When the album was released in Europe, I was flown to Germany to do a video for MTV Europe. They chose It�ll Be Different and I Milli Vanilli�d the song, lip syncing to Tim�s voice. It was fun but after I became angry that they made me do the video and be a fraud and I got out of my record deal for another album release.
Track 9: Scenes From A Childhood
JG: This song was about my childhood that was filled with love, and compassion. My mother was terminally ill and died when I was 14 but she showed positivity throughout and though it was amazingly hard to do, my father also was all about being positive. Still there was great sadness.
I went to the piano, closed my eyes and tried to draw a picture of my childhood with notes. I wanted to express love, longing, desperation, and some joy too. I remember recording the guitar solo and crying so much that the tears got on the guitar strings.
Track 10: If We Knew Then
JG: My first wife and I are still friends to this day , some 40 years later and on a visit I had an idea for a song that talked about what life might be like If we knew what we know now ..Then. We were emotional about our great times but also about the decision to abort when she was pregnant. To this day neither one of us has children and we are still sad that we didn�t allow our baby to be born. We both still support a woman�s right to choose but from a personal perspective we now feel it would have been amazing and a blessing to have had children.