editors at MWE3.com are always up for a great guitar album that's
not afraid to combine a wealth of fretboard moves and strategies and
that's just what you get with Once In A While, the 2010 CD
from Canadian guitarist Sandro Camerin. Based up in the Vancouver,
British Columbia part of Canada, Sandro often performs both as
and as a part of various groups. Co-produced by Sandro, keyboardist
Henri Lorieau and Frank Ludwig, the 13 track Once
In A While also features key contributions from great players
such as drummer Jerry Adolf and others. One minute theres
an upbeat kind of smooth meets cool jazz/fusion vibe in play and then
there's another outstanding track here called The Falls,
where Sandro conjures up a touch of prog in the night, while moving
across the sound stage in style. Fans of Steve Morse, Albert Lee,
Hank Marvin and even Mahavishnu era McLaughlin will dig that track
but theres plenty of other original tracks composed by Camerin
that would be of interest among fans of Santana, Metheny and Ritenour
or, for that matter any number of the best players working today.
Further commenting on the release MWE3.com reviews editor and noted
L.A. based guitarist / musicologist Eric Paulos notes, There's
an unspoiled sort of seed of inspiration here. And while it's always
easier to critique someone else's hard labor than to outdo it, this
record kicks guitar ass. There's also a bit of Celtic vibe somewhere
behind the scenes here and the work is all extremely tasteful and
fresh. As a bonus, Henri Lorieau plays wicked keyboards as evidenced
by the intro on "The Picture of Happiness." His keys are
reminiscent of Allan Zovad's fluid synth work on the early Jean Luc
Ponty albums. Featuring a number of cool / smooth jazz and guitar-based
fusion tracks, all featuring Sandro center stage, cutting loose on
a range of electric and acoustic guitars, Once In A While is
a valuable audio asset and an all around splendid, upbeat spin
for fans of instrumental jazz and rock fusion. www.SandroCamerin.ca
MUSIC WEB EXPRESS 3000
presents SANDRO CAMERIN
Guitars Center Stage
Guitarists making waves in the music world,
their new recordings and gear!
was seven when I first picked up a guitar and, as fate would have
it, we lucked into the perfect teacher for me. He was classically
trained in Europe but had moved to Canada in order to set up a music
school. He was able to play a wide range of instruments but always
stressed the basics - technique, reading and theory. Well, we really
hit it off, my mom would tell me that while most of the students left
the lessons angry or upset I was always happy and skipping. I think
that I must be one of the few guitarist around who actually played
through all of the Mel Bay books. Shortly before my 15th Birthday
I received a call from my teacher asking if Id be interested
in working with a few beginners. It turned out to be great gig for
me and the only part time job that I ever had. I rented my own space
after high school and built up my own clientele which I still maintain
to this day.
Ive always been an avid transcriber so, as a teenager, I gradually
worked my way through as much Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin and Jimi Hendrix
as I could while teaching during the week and playing at various parties
and weddings on the weekends. One day a drummer friend of mine asked
me if Id like to catch the Mahavishnu Orchestra concert with
him. Id never heard of them but that evening changed my life.
I watched John McLaughlin, bathed in white light, playing these incredible
riffs on a double neck SG in time signatures that I couldnt
even count. It was like nothing Id never heard before. It seemed
completely surreal at the time but I knew then and there that I wanted
to know what, and how he was playing that music . Enter my fusion
phase with the likes of John Abercrombie, Larry Coryell, Pat Martino
and later Mike Stern and John Scofield blazing new trails for all
guitarists to follow. My biggest influences personally would have
to be in order ... John McLaughlin, Pat Martino and Mike Stern. I
love the way all three players are able to sustain a line through
multiple measures while maintaining a musical quality to it all.
As an artist I finally took the plunge in the mid eighties and recorded
a pair of albums that garnered a lot of attention in Canada. Both
albums were surprisingly successful but the lack of local venues and
tour support meant that your live exposure was very limited.
After wrapping up a series of promo gigs I met my wife and settled
back into my teaching, session work and gigging routine while paying
mortgages and being a dad to our now 15 year old son. Hes actually
turning into a pretty decent player himself.
new album Once In A While comes as a result of a project gone
badly astray. I had been enjoying considerable success in Canada from
my previous albums Real To Reel and Shadows In The Dark
but now I was looking to do something a little more organic and intimate.
I was really into the acoustic guitar then and had already written
some cool tunes that I thought would make a great album project. Unfortunately,
I made the fatal mistake of giving up too much creative control along
the way and, in the end, I could hardly recognize my own tunes any
more. Only three of them turned out as Id envisioned them. It
was all really disappointing but, not to be discouraged, I went out
and bought a Mac and some serious recording gear with the intention
of completing the remaining tracks on my own. That would prove to
take quite some time because my life got to be ridiculously busy right
around then. I was teaching 40 hours a week, gigging on the weekends
and doing a fair amount session work for everyone but myself. Add
to that the fact that we were just starting our family and, what should
have taken months to complete, turned into years. So finally, after
many late nights and a summer locked up in my studio, the last six
tunes were finished. I then combined those with the original three
and added four more from the previous albums. Voila! Once In A
While was a reality. Im really pleased with how it turned
out and, if nothing else, I learned a lot from the whole experience.
Here are a few personal notes on the individual tracks.
I had already written a pretty solid arrangement for the title track
Once In A While so I knew exactly what instrumentation
I wanted. It all came together really quickly. There are no boundaries
in the digital world so I had to be careful not to over produce the
tunes to the point where there was no room for guitars any more. My
Godin Multiac (http://www.godinguitars.com/)
with the XLR input is the featured guitar on this tune.
Mike Kinal of Kinal Guitars and Basses (http://www.kinal.com/)
had just finished building an L-5 archtop type guitar for me and I
instantly fell in love with the acoustic properties of the instrument.
Mikes a genius with wood and that really comes through when
you pick up and play one of his guitars. Quality and craftsmanship
all the way. The Center of Gravity came out of one of
those L-5 inspired moments.
What.....jazz on a flat top acoustic? Why not! I used a beautiful
Guild F-50 Blonde (http://www.guildguitars.com/)
with a carved back on West Coast Expresso. Henri Lorieau
is a genius and a legend around the Vancouver studio scene. He has
this incredibly intuitive knack for knowing exactly what a tune needs
and then he just rolls up his sleeves and dives in. My solo at the
end was great fun. We only did one take but I did have the evening
before to prepare for it. You may also recognize Doug Edwards name
from the band Skylark. Great bass player!
For the tune Luna I wanted to flex my jazz muscles a little
more so there are a lot more chord changes within the form. Once again
the Godin Multiac is the featured guitar with the Kinal L-5 showing
up in support. For the solo I stuck a B-Band in my favorite Kinal
KT travel guitar and it just fit right in. The ambient whale noises
took some doing. Eventually I decided to go with my Kinal Tele with
an old DeArmond pickup in the neck position using a bottleneck slide
and a volume pedal. It was all processed through my Line 6 pod.
wrote A Little Bit of Paradise after a rather memorable
Mexican vacation. My Guild F-50 is, once again, the featured guitar
on this deceptively tricky piece. It was great fun to record and I
think that all comes through on the finished mix. I still chuckle
every time I think of five grown men hunched over a keyboard simultaneously
tapping out the various percussion parts.
A Crater On Venus is a very introspective and seriously
West Coast groove. Salt and cedar throughout. My Kinal L-5 Voyager
was the perfect guitar for this tune. Thanks to Daryl Bennett for
the marvelous percussion work.
I was in a Fender Strat phase when I wrote the tune The Picture
Of Happiness but it was really Ron Johnstones skillful
keyboard work that set the tone for this piece. His lines are always
so fluid and lyrical.
The Falls was a very visual piece right from the start.
I used my Kinal KT for the picked rhythm. The initial melody lines
are played on the Godin Multiac with my Les Paul (http://www2.gibson.com/Gibson.aspx)
replacing it during the rapid fire tumbling sequence. Yes, thats
definitely a written part! I got really experimental with the end
segment and ultimately decided to have each sound, acoustic, electric,
classical and slide take its own turn in the mix.
Henri Lorieau knew exactly what I was going for on the tune Saturna.
He somehow managed to create the perfect mystical backdrop without
changing a single note from my original arrangement. My Guild F-50
is featured on both the rhythm and melody parts.
I just stumbled onto a reference to the great jockey Johnny Longden
and became fascinated with his whole life story. Longdens
Sweep tries to capture the feeling that he must have had as
he headed for the finish line during his final victory in the Triple
Crown. I restrung one of my guitars Nashville style and doubled it
with one of my KTs for the picked arpeggio rhythm part. The
melody and solo are all Godin Multiac.
For The Water Mirror" I wanted to create a steamy tropical
setting for the main section. No chords, just tuned percussion setting
the mood. Then in the solo section I meant business throwing in a
lot of chords using tritone substitutions. There had to be some kind
of transformation just as there had been in the original story. I
played Godin Multiac for the main melody with my Kinal Tele for both
the clean and overdrive parts. It all went through my Line 6 Pod.
The River of Peace may be my favorite piece on the CD.
I was totally into the sound of the Kinal L-5 Voyager when I wrote
the tune. I love the simplicity. Percussionist Daryl Bennett brought
his usual bag of tricks and helped to shape something beautiful.
Farm Hands didnt really suit the overall vibe of
the CD so I decided to included it as a bonus track. My Kinal Tele
handles all of the electric duties with a touch of KT acoustic for
first pro guitar that I bought was a Gibson Les Paul and I still own
it and love it to this day despite some terrible servicing experiences.
I used it in the center section of The Falls.
In the studio you find out pretty quick that no one guitar can do
it all so, more out of necessity than anything else, Ive gradually
amassed a decent collection of both electric and acoustic instruments.
If I had to start from scratch I think that the one electric that
Id couldnt live without would be a Fender Telecaster type.
Simple, easy to maintain and, with the right pickups, extremely versatile.
I had Mike Kinal make one for me a few years ago. The best thing about
owning a custom made instrument is that you can discuss different
aspects like wood types, scale lengths, radiuses and electronics throughout
the whole process. On mine we went with an alder body (I like the
sound and weight of alder), maple neck and rosewood fingerboard with
an old DeArmond pickup (http://www.dearmondguitars.com/pickups.html)
in the neck position and a Lindy Fralin (http://www.fralinpickups.com/)
at the bridge. Its featured a lot on the new CD.
Ive played through just about every amp brand out there, finally
gravitating back to the old Fender products. The Deluxe Reverb is
still my favorite in the studio. Sadly, most of this gear is fast
being replaced by the newer modeling technology in the studio. Im
not convinced about the live applications just yet though.
Ive used DR strings exclusively for quite some time now. They
have great tone and feel plus they tend to last longer.
When Im recording Ill try using a variety of pedals and
gadgets for ambient effects but, generally speaking, Ive always
felt that the less you stick between the guitar signal and the recording
machine the better.
Hendrix - Are You Experienced? - Jimi had a very unique way
of doing things that has now become an integral part of the whole
Led Zeppelin I - IV - I know that it was considered hard rock
but there was so much improvising going on that it may as well have
Deep Purple - Machine Head - Ritchie Blackmore has such great
Jeff Beck - Blow by Blow - Very sophisticated instrumentals
and you werent waiting for some token 30 second guitar solo
John McLaughlin - All of the Mahavishnu Records and beyond... Impossible
stuff. I almost quit when I heard him the first time. Mediocrity is
easy and John McLaughlin just doesnt do easy.
Pat Martino - Joyous Lake - The lines are so precise yet it
all stays so musical. Its like hes weaving some very fine
cloth. Pat Martino taught me all about Dorian substitution. Hes
a master at it!
John Abercrombie - Timeless - Very spacious grooves but dynamic
at the same time. New applications for all of my pentatonic scales.
Tony Williams - Believe It! - (featuring Allan Holdsworth.)
It was like ....Wow! Whered this guy come from! Ouch! Do I really
have to stretch that far?
Davis - We Want Miles (featuring Mike Stern) - I like the way
Mike Stern can combine some tasty blues/rock riffs with his trademark
long harmonic minor lines within the same solo. Miles Davis would
often take it way out there and then leave Mike to find his own way
through. He always does!
Pat Metheny - Off Ramp - Pats a really interesting writer
and can take an album in several directions without losing sight of
his audience. His Roland guitar synth sound became a trade mark so
no one else could ever use it again. (laughter)
John McLaughlin, Al DiMeola and Paco DeLucia - Friday Night in
San Francisco - Perhaps the best concert Ive ever attended
was this trio live in Vancouver. You could tell that they were all
really into it. Steve Morse opened solo and joined the trio for the
last few numbers. What a show!
question I get asked the most is...Where can we buy your old stuff?
The tunes have already been digitized and remastered. Its just
a matter of setting the wheels in motion and getting some kind of
distribution in place, be it digital or hard copies.
Next on my list is to dot the is and cross the ts on another
bunch of half finished material thats been sitting around for
a while. Id like to have those tunes ready for release at the
same time as the old catalogue.
Tours and promo will largely depend on the kind of buzz that I can
generate over the next few months. Im off to Europe in July
for a working holiday. Theres been a fair bit of interest in
the CD over and itll be nice to develop a few new connections
on another continent. The industry has changed so much that its
hard to get a bead on where to best spend your time and money so as
to be as effective as possible. Interviews like this can go a long
way towards garnering the right kind of attention. The new album has
also been submitted to various agencies for consideration re: the
Canadian music award circuit and, at least some of, the broadcast
media should already have their copies in hand.
In the mean time, Ill continue to teach and help other artists
with their tracks. Ive also got this great steady gig on the
weekends at an upscale restaurant called Federicos in Vancouver.
I get to play anything I want for a couple of hours and the audience
really digs it. I recently worked out a version of Smoke On
the Water thats in a jazz standard style. You can just
see the heads turning when the people finally realize what the tune
actually is! (laughter!)
site is www.sandrocamerin.ca
Theres a studio page on it with some lesson resources
that may be of interest to guitarists who are trying to get up to
the next level. E-mails are always welcome. I try and personally respond
to each and every one. Once again, thanks and best of luck to everyone