Ukulele Finger Style Solos and Duos
Baritone ukulele improvisations and compositions
These pieces were all composed between 2018 and 2020. Most of them are improvisations in that no set melodies or chords were written down. A few of the pieces were "written" in the traditional sense. All of the pieces were recorded on a Pono baritone ukulele with a solid spruce top and solid rosewood back and sides. The model number of the ukulele is RBSH5(S)PC and the pickup is a MISI undersaddle piezo. It's a beautiful instrument that sounds, looks and plays like a dream.
1. "La Playa Dream" - baritone ukulele - This is one of my favorite improvisations. I can't really say why but this one has so many of my favorite threads in it. All of these pieces have musical threads (different little thoughts or ideas) that appear and re-appear in different forms and guises.
2. "Old Sol" - baritone ukulele - This is a baritone ukulele improvisation recorded on January 13, 2020. It is dedicated to my brother, Ray StJonn, an amazing poet and writer.
3. "Allegro Con Moto" - baritone ukulele - I love the sound of the baritone ukulele - there's something very unique and plaintive in it's voice. It's a very beautiful instrument to hold and play and this one in particular sings very sweetly.
4. "Cadiz" - baritone ukulele - This was the first improvisation I recorded on baritone ukelele after switching to re-entrant tuning (dGBE) from standard baritone ukulele tuning (DGBE - the top four strings of a guitar).
5. "Adagio" - baritone ukulele - I use classical forms to title these piece but in tone and mood they often seem to harken back to times long before the 18th century.
6. "Morning Meditation" - baritone ukulele - While all the music is this section is meditative, this piece is especially so. I used a looper to record a few chords and then played along with it while recording to my PCs hard drive. It really demonstrates the plaintive voice that can be coaxed from an uke.
7. "Rendezvous" - baritone ukulele - Here is another loop/solo combo that is one of the higher energy pieces on the album. Again, the sound that a solo uke can create is amazing. The only effect I usually use is slight reverb.
8. "Ray of Hope" - baritone ukulele - This was written for my brother, Ray StJonn, an incredible writer and poet. He is a friend, brother, mentor, muse and much more.
9. "Dreaming of Marie" - baritone ukulele - My wife, Marie, has been a great fan and has supported me in unnumerable ways over the past quarter of a century. This song is an expression of my love and appreciation.
10. "Calle San Juan" - baritone ukulele - Another Brazilian flavored piece with nice little rhythmic things going on as well. The baritone ukulele strung re-entrant has an amazing sound, both chordally and as a solo voice. Many years ago, I wrote a piece called "St Jonn's Way" for my brother, Ray StJonn, and this is another tribute to him.
11. "Diamond Head" - baritone ukulele - Strangely enough, I have never been to Hawaii. Perhaps never having been there is a good thing in helping me to evoke the idea of a distant tropical island paradise. Sometimes dreams can be better than reality.
Thank you for listening.