I think hearing Dave Matthews’
verse was the most surprising.
I knew he was a big star and
would do something nice on the
song, but I had no idea he would
capture the spirit of the song and
launch it into the stars the way
he did. I was blown away.
I think hearing Dave Matthews’ verse
was the most surprising . . . I had no
idea he would capture the spirit of
the song and launch it into the stars
the way he did.
Herman—my manager and
occasional bass player. We just
sat down and started jamming
on some ideas, and before we
knew it we had this new song.
On the album, that song is
right next to others that took
years to evolve.
understand and appreciate. He
is a huge talent and I am so
thankful that he has blessed
You have a great fuzzy tone on
“Borei.” How did you record
that in the studio?
I played around with the
Roland JC- 120 Jazz Chorus
and my Boss SD- 1 [Super
OverDrive] until I got just the
right sound. I think they made
it a bit brighter when they
mixed the album.
What gear did you use for
For the sessions in Mali, I used my
Godin Summit CT through the
JC- 120. Other than the SD- 1, the
only other effect I used was a Boss
CH- 1 [Super Chorus]. During the
New York sessions, the studio had
a great Mexican-made Strat that
had Seymour Duncan Antiquity
pickups. I plugged that into a vintage ’ 68 Fender Super Reverb.
What was the biggest surprise
during the sessions?
How does improvisation factor into your performances?
My style is based in improvisation. New songs usually come
to me as I improvise. Live, the
songs never sound the same
as they did the last time. It’s
about creating a base for soloing
and improvising, so for me it’s
very important to allow space
for things to change and for
new things to come into the
music. For example, “Lakkal
(Watch Out)” was completely
improvised in the studio with
Krasno, Tim Keiper, and Eric
You have a deep connection to
blues music. Do you remember when you first became
interested in it?
I can’t say, since I feel like it
was before I can remember. I
grew up listening to my father’s
music, so it’s in my blood and
my soul. I don’t consider it an
interest as much as an expression of who I am in my soul.
Did any other Western artists
significantly influence you?
Yes, Phil Collins and Bryan
Adams. They write beautiful