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Jamie Glaser
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Jamie Glaser - Biography
I was born on January 21, 1955 in New York City. My mother Esther and father Hy were wonderful, loving parents. My mom died when I was 14 and my dad on my 30th birthday. My best friend is my brother Randy. He is an amazing drummer and human being. My father was an incredible lyricist and craftsmen. His songs were recorded by people like Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra, Sarah Vaughn, and Joe Williams. Although these sometimes are considered jazz artists, my father wrote pop songs; he didn't really know about "jazz." He was a Tin Pan Alley composer like Sammy Cahn and Rogers and Hammerstein. His book Writing Lyrics That Make Sense and Dollars is still at the top of ASCAP’s reading list. He was my inspiration, my mentor, my friend, my partner, and I miss him every minute of every day. If I could be half the man he was, I'd be pretty amazing!. At eight years of age, I began studying guitar with Joe Breeze. He was the guitarist on the Ed Sullivan Show. But his real instrument was the string bass. I followed in his footsteps, and bass became my primary instrument. I played in the school orchestra, and had a goal to go to Julliard. Soon I found that I could really impress the girls with guitar, and slowly but surely guitar became my first love. I had a number of great teachers. Tommy Lucas (a studio genius) and Don Arnone, who you've heard on Bette Midler's “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy.” I was very lucky that all of my teachers basically had the same style of picking, and all felt that reading music was the key to success. To this day my reading of both bass and treble clef is one of the things that I am known for. In the 1970's, guitar was popular, but most of the great music schools only recognized guitar as a classical instrument, or not at all. Soon I heard about Berklee College Of Music in Boston. Before I knew it, I was in Boston and four years later, in 1977, I graduated with a composition Bachelors Degree. William Leavitt, the chairman of guitar, was by far my greatest teacher. He was the guardian angel that was sent to me to fulfill my dreams. He suggested that I switch to composition, so that I would have more influence than a traditional guitar student. He also knew that I already was a composer with published works. There were amazing teachers at Berklee. I was inspired by all of them, but only a few really changed my life. Mike Ihde is a fine player and teacher. He helped me with country and rock, and to this day, we are friends. Gary Burton, Herb Pomeroy, Mike Gibbs, and so many more are part of me and I thank God for them and their talents. John Damian was an amazing guitar teacher, and not only influenced my playing and composing, but his lessons inspired my book, Hear The Silence . Berklee was fantastic and I loved every minute of it. My classes were from 9 to 3 and then I'd sometimes stay until 3 in the morning, listening to music, other players, and just dreaming of my future. It was a magical time there. Some of my classmates were Vinnie Colaiuta (drummer now with Sting; he has played on about a million records), J.R. Robinson (who is famous now for drums with Michael Jackson and Quincy), Mike Stern (the great guitarist), Al Dimeola, Bill Frizell, Emily Remler, Tim Landers, Richard Gibbs, and so many more that I can't believe it myself. All of these folks remain my friends and we all were the lucky ones that took the magic of Berklee and created careers. Steve Smith (the incredible drummer for Journey, and Vital Information) and I met at a gig, a bar mitzvah in Boston. We hit it off immediately; he was fun, loved to play loud, and liked that I was a bit over the edge. When he got the gig with Jean Luc Ponty and Allen Holdsworth left the band, he quickly got me an audition. Thanks to Steve, my professional career was started. To this day, playing with Jean Luc Ponty is my favorite gig. He is the most talented, wonderful, sensitive player and person I know. I played with him at a reunion concert in 1998 and he seemed God like to me. Still does. He is so blessed and I never will be able to return what he gave me: a career, a friendship, a place in an innovative band. I feel that Jean Luc Ponty was the one that found who I was as a musician. He worked with me on my sound. He taught me about the road. He gave me confidence. I recall one day in Europe. I was freaking out. Larry Coryell, Al Dimeola, Stanley Jordon, and John McLaughlin all were to play before us at a festival. I walked into Jean Luc's room and said, “I can't do it. I can't play. These are my heroes; they are where I got my licks.” Jean Luc laughed and asked if I would sit down. I though for sure he was gonna fire me. He said, “Jamie, who is the guitarist in my band?” I looked at him and said, “Huh?” He asked again. I said, “Well, . . . me.” Then he looked at me like a brother, and said, “Anyone of those guys could be in this band. In fact Coryell wanted the job. You are here because you are the best for this job. And I love your playing.” I was so blown away; he wasn't a guy who complimented like that, although he let you know when he was happy. I didn't know what to say, but I did know that I had to play my ass off for him. And that night the crowd went nuts when I played my extended solo in “Enigmatic Ocean.” There are many other stories like this one, but you get the idea. After a couple years with Jean-Luc, he felt that his band was getting too rock and roll and he let Steve Smith, myself and Alan Zavod go. Shortly after that, I joined with Lenny White. He was the drummer with Return To Forever, and known as one of the best drummers ever. This band was incredible. Donald Blackman, kbds, and Nick Moroch on guitar, and my hero, Marcus Miller. Marcus and I got very tight and I showed him guitar licks and he taught me how to slap on the bass, and “to not play, like a white boy.” Although I had been interested in R and B and funk, these guys made sure I knew about the groove. Lenny made me watch the hi hat. Donald worked with me and lovingly told me that I was playing like a honky. He was the funkmeister for sure. We did an album in L.A. and rented a great house in the hills. Chaka Khan lived with us and did the recording. Larry Dunn from Earth Wind and Fire produced. Larry let me watch him for weeks, and I must say my producer chops are largely what I learned from him. During the weeks we stayed there, I wrote a tune "Struttin" in thanks to Marcus for his great inspiration. Well it ended up on the record and was played extensively around the world. This was the first time that a bandleader that I had been with let the guys write. While I was doing a concert in L.A. with Lenny at the Roxy, Jean Luc walked through the doors. I was so pleased to see him. He asked if I would have lunch with him and I was thrilled. He told me that he wanted to make a change and that he had a world tour and a live album, and he would double my old salary if I'd come back. Holy S... I said, “YES!!!!” So we stayed together for many more years and although it was hard to leave Lenny, I made the right decision. I moved to L.A. and noticed that I was getting studio work for jazzy parts. I loved rock and played it a lot, but the industry didn't know that. I had to do something, and quickly. I called my friend Hernando Cartwright who had rejected every pop song I wrote, but saw me every two weeks anyway, and said can you please find me a rock band that I could shine in. A week later I was in the studio with Bryan Adams. He was very nice, but I was a little shocked at first. He said, “Man, I don't wanna hear any jazz licks. Go out there, turn up, and play!” I was set free, and the whole thing worked well. Having played with Bryan was a gift and also changed and empowered my career. I was now called for work with all styles. I also have worked with Bill Conti and Ashley Irwin and so many other great artists; it’s amazing. Ashley Irwin, is my close friend now and he is an inspiration and a one in a million composer. He writes with such sensitivity, beauty, and purity that I hardly ever see anywhere else. He also has been a guardian angel, and is responsible for me meeting Bill Conti. The middle of the 80’s and the 90’s were some of the most exciting times for me. I played with the rock band Glass Moon, and we became superstars in Puerto Rico. They were a great bunch of guys from North Carolina. I loved going there to rehearse and eventually recorded two albums on Atlantic with them at the famed Electric Ladyland studios in New York. My work in TV was booming ,thanks to friend and composer Jonathon Wolff! I was playing on shows like Seinfeld, Married With Children, Melrose Place, Dynasty, Saved By the Bell and many more. I even sang and played on Beverly Hills 90210. John E. Oliver became my adopted father and mentor and showed me off every chance he had. He was president of Film Service, which provided musicians for sessions and sidelines (like extras for film). I had appearances on Perfect Strangers, Love Boat, and the movie Deliberate Stranger, the story of Ted Bundy. In the film, I played the hippie guitarist on the campus in Florida before Ted Bundy killed. Jonathon has not only been there for me professionally but he was instrumental in "saving" my life when I had problems in the late 90's. The late 80’s brought some great work.I I was playing guitar for the last two years of The Merv Griffen Show. I was subbing for Pat Kelly. I loved doing Merv’s show, especially the pleasure of working with people like Buddy Rich and comedians like Don Rickles. I also had the pleasure of working high-end casuals, (general business, club dates corporate work) with L.A. great Allen Weiss of Sounds of Music. He helped me to become a strong M.C. and bandleader. I also loved my work for Jack Bielen’s Fifth Avenue Orchestras. I have the pleasure of still working for L.A. legendary bandleader and entertainment company owner Ron Rubin of Ron Rubin Events. I had the pleasure of playing with people like Iggy Pop, Tanya Tucker, Poison, the Temptations, and the Gatlin Bros., thanks to my continued TV work. At the same time, I had the distinct pleasure of doing a year of touring with virtuoso Chick Corea and his Electrik Band. Playing with him, John Pattitucci, and Dave Wekl was an extraordinary time. I soon joined the Grammy Award winning band Manhattan Transfer, touring and recording on a album with them. It was a great time. One of the most amazing things to happen during this same time period was my involvement with Hispanic music. My career, my knowledge of music, my notoriety around the world were all sealed when I began working in this market. Jose Silva was the guy who really helped me, loved me, and brought me to the people. We did the first known rap record in Spanish. We recorded constantly, and I even wrote and co-produced some great records with him. One of my favorite artists was Gustavo Alarco. Soon I was working with the great engineer Brian Stott at Milagro Studios and working with the genius Horacio Lanzi. What a fantastic compsoer and producer. Eventually, I became the guitarist for Gloria Trevi. She is the biggest pop female artist in Mexico and her only competition was Selina. What a great couple of years I’ve had with friend and composer/producer Daniel Indart, President of Latin Music Specialists. Along with his partner and studio singer Sara, and his associate Danny (a fine guitarist in his own right), we conquered the Anglo-Hispanic jingle market. Albertsons, Wells Fargo, Carl’s Jr, major motion pictures, a complete library of great music, and even music for video arcade games have been some things I’ve shared with them. I love those guys a lot and continue to work with them to this day. In 1994 I was trapped in my studio in the L.A. earthquake. Although I was only scratched up a little, I suffered emotional and mental problems after this catastrophe. Eventually, after losing much of my worldly possessions, doing stupid things, like throwing checks out of my car window, drummer friend Bob Leatherbarrow and Jonathon Wolff suggested that I get help. They knew that my problems like being broke and underweight were not due to typical reasons you’d think of, like substance abuse. I saw a wonderful psychiatrist by the name of Richard Elpers, and after being diagnosed with posttraumatic stress disorder, I was on my way to recovery. My book Hear The Silence has just been released (2006) and is an inspirational book for people who may be depressed or who are having tough times.. It is a book about all the great things that people don’t notice, and all the things I learned after hitting bottom and being homeless and broke, even while my career moved along! I am currently living in Utah. I am the musical director for the Brunson Brother recording studio., and along with Gaynor and Arlan Brunson, run a national production facility. We are bringing L.A. quality recording, arranging, jingle writing, film scoring and orchestration to the exploding Utah music scene. I am excited about being the big guy here and being introduced to an enormous amount of fresh and exciting talent. I also do lots of arranging , sessions and production at JMB studios. J Marc Bailey is a successful country artist and a close friend, and together we have produced some great music both for his record and other artists. Since 2002 I've teamed up with my buddy from New York, amazing composer David Dachinger of DD music. We have cornered the sports market and have our compositions on ABC, and CBS sports as well as PGA Golf and College football. This musical team is something very special, especially since we went to high school and college together. It's so fantastic that years later we would team up and have so much success. I still go to Los Angeles quite a bit and work with great producers like Christian De Walden and Carlo Nasi. In fact I just did a record with them and joined up with Abe Laboriel as well as Paul Jackson JR for the project. Currently I am working on a a new solo album (the first since 1989) which will be hymns done in a contemporary -jazz style. I am also working on a new world album. I've decided to play live again starting 2006 and will begin that by being a clinician for DIGITECH in October of 2006. They are planning a tour to entertain people as well as market their great products. I am very grateful to be endorsing Gander Guitars, with my own signature model now, and also the GNX 3000 for DIGITECH. I realize every day that I would be unknown and nobody without you, the fans, I thank you, each and every one, for helping me to realize my dreams. Don’t hesitate to email me; I will always try to respond.