Happy Birthday Doug Raney 2017

Tuesday, August 29th, 2017

As I reflect on the loss of my brother for the second year, I have an even greater realization on how much he impacted the lives of people fortunate enough to hear him live, play with and to hang with him. As often happens, an artist impact widens after departing. This is even true from my perspective. I just didn’t appreciate his impact as his brother and our unique situation as musical sons of our illustrious father. As Doug would put our “son of a legend” predicament in his New York street-tough, “I’m still trying to catch up to that motherfu@$#r”.

My brother in a funny way was easier to underestimate because he was not radically different from other guitarists in his approach. It’s that he did so much better than so many other guys. That time feel of his. That gorgeous tone of his, the way he laid into his phrases, and the way seemed to play as if he wasn’t picking. To me many jazz guitarists in comparison to Doug can sound almost like banjo players trying to imitate the saxophone and falling short because the instrument gets in the way. So it is easy to underestimate all that goes into creating that sound that Doug would get out of this difficult instrument and that feeling in the gut you would get when he had you on the hook for his next phrase. And as he matured, that special vintage of his became even more intoxicating. During his comeback years of 2012 and 2013 he may have been playing better than he was at any time in his life. As if because of his ailing body, there was no time to lose or energy to waste other than to produce the most lovely solos he could possibly muster from his guitar.

With that wistful remembrance let me pass along some of the great music that has been shared by a friend and colleague of Doug’s, Hans Backenroth from that time. We are both getting a front row seat on this as much of the music I am also hearing for the first time! The saxophonist is the inimitable Christina von Bülow also pictured above.

Love and respect my brother. I carry on with a heavy heart still.

Happy Birthday Jimmy Raney 2017

Sunday, August 20th, 2017

At this time of year when the many Raney birthday’s emerge:

Jimmy Raney, 1981

Jimmy Raney, Raney ’81 Session (photo by Doug Raney)

James Raney (Doug’s son): Aug 3rd
Jimmy Raney: Aug 20
Jon Raney: Aug 22
Talia Raney (My daughter): Aug 26
Doug Raney: Aug 29

What is it about August?

It makes me reflect on my family, our lives, our legacy and what all of us will do for the remainder of it. Jimmy Raney continues to be a guiding light and inspiration to many, dumbfoundingly underappreciated (also by many) and a bar of musical achievement that may never be reached by anyone in the future. Still, in the time I have left on this earth there is still much to do and frankly much more technical opportunity to create and share his body of work through analysis, media clips, and (as best I can jog my memory) first hand accounts of his life and career. …Continue Reading

Happy Birthday Doug Raney

Monday, August 29th, 2016

It’s still hard to believe he’s gone less than 4 months. All of us his family, friends and fans still mourn his passing. But let us mark this moment on Doug’s date of birth  with the joy and excitement he gave all of us. Listen to your favorite record and groove to one of his great solos. I’m on a vacation right now as per usual at end of August. Working on a transcription of Doug’s ultra-swinging solo to The Touch of Your Lips. 1 chorus done so far. This is the entry music to the website as most of you know. Should be finished up and made available as pdf on the site when I return.

We all miss you my brother



Happy Birthday Jimmy Raney 2016

Monday, August 22nd, 2016

the-masterHey Folks,

In this year’s homage to my father, jazz master Jimmy Raney (1927-1995) I address a few issues at once.

First, “Happy Birthday Dad!”(I am now waving up to him)

Second, The Jimmy Raney book. (I am now looking down at the floor, sheepishly)

So, those of you that know me, waited patiently as I hinted and hinted on this book and it never came to pass.

…Continue Reading

Ever Had One of Those Technology Scream Days?

Wednesday, July 6th, 2016

Sometimes I think technology is out to get me… Seriously:)

lg g3So my phone is really messed up. It’s clicking on its own, dialing people, enabling programs, and moving my little shortcuts to places unknown. After fighting with Verizon to get me a replacement phone, I’m trying to deal with getting some local files off the phone that I’m going to lose when I replace it. Problem is – like many people affected by the recent Android Marshmallow update, file transfer mode is disabled now and there is nothing that can be done to get this phone to switch to anything other than charge mode. …Continue Reading

The Aftermath of Doug Raney’s Passing

Tuesday, June 21st, 2016

MEMORIAL_MRDOUG-11aIt’s been over 6 weeks since my brother’s passing and although there is still the unreality of Doug really being gone, I do feel acceptance setting in and life – more or less – returning to normal.

All the ideas I had that I discussed with Doug:  of helping turn his life around, fixing his teeth, finally getting to do a recording with him, devoting a page where he could answer to his fans and give music tips, now all of this is impossible. So what now?

And now the question facing me is, what do I do with my life? And when I refer to life what is the thing that it is that is returning to normal exactly? Is life my day job? My commitments that I make for myself or for others? My family? Or what a contribute to humanity as a whole that has permanence?

Don’t have the answers unfortunately. …Continue Reading

Doug Raney Memorial

Saturday, May 7th, 2016

Doug RaneyIt is difficult to describe my feelings of grief adequately in words. What is going through my mind evolves from minute to minute. I cry suddenly thinking about an unresolved regret or hearing Doug’s beautiful passionate guitar tone and phrasing on a recording. I laugh suddenly at something I remembered Doug saying. Or I sit in silence contemplating what I must do while I’m here in Denmark to bring Doug’s passing to a proper close for those close to him. …Continue Reading

Goodbye My Brother

Monday, May 2nd, 2016

rp_Doug7-201x300.jpgDoug Raney (1956-2016)

Doug was a very private person. My nature is (was) to protect him from public scrutiny and the airing of all the things that happened to him in his life. Obviously, this is just not realistic. News travels at the speed of light in our day and age so many of you have heard the news. It is unfortunately true. …Continue Reading

World’s Greatest Dad… T-Shirt? Cool new souvenir for jazz guitarist fans

Thursday, January 21st, 2016

Most sons think their Dads are the greatest. The tallest, the smartest, etc. I remember one kid I knew back in Louisville who used to say, “My day-yad is taller than ‘nyone. He’s six-tway-elve”.  Now I remember the kid’s father. Pretty tall but he wasn’t Shaq, ok?  The important thing I guess was that he felt like he was.

JR T-shirtNow of course me, I always thought my Dad was the world’s best guitarist, by a mile. Thing was though, he was and plenty of people, unrelated to me – from novice guitarists to his famous peers  – believed he was. Imagine that for a kid. And they still say it. Incredible. And he is probably one of the smartest guys around too (see this story I published a while back).
…Continue Reading

Blast from the Past: Creating Jazz Lines

Monday, February 9th, 2015

billy-excerptAs a prologue (or epilogue given prior post?) I have to admit that I’m by nature more of a intuitive when it comes to thinking about solos. Plus it’s kind of in my DNA. That said, below is one thing I did work on and think about in terms of architecture. I think it may help as an organizing principle if nothing else for students receiving and not too happy with the “you’ll just hear it” advice. …Continue Reading

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