Life Is Good


For guitar fans, the new CD from Bay area fretboard master James "Jimmy" Mac will be one of the quickest hours they ever spend. A wild amalgamation of jazzy, funky, rockin’ guitar instrumentals, Life Is Good is a top form follow up to Mac’s 2006 CD, Just A Kid Havin’ Fun. Mac describes Life Is Good as being, ‘Compositionally a big improvement in melodic diversity.’ Mac’s guitar work simply shines on these instrumental tracks with the guitarist adding, ‘Getting Damien Masterson in on this project totally breathed new life in to this project. His Harmonica work is brilliant.’ Mac also cites the excellent back-up playing by Jimi Fischer on bass/drums and synth. Guitar fans into guitar heroes like Jeff Beck and rising guitar aces like Scott Bradoka will be blown away by Mac’s guitar sounds, slide work and fusion compositions. Thirteen modern fusion classics, Life Is Good is guaranteed to put a smile on your face. www.jamminwithjimmy.com


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Musical Background

How long haven’t I played would be an easier question to answer. Anyway, I’d say 30 years between guitar and violin. I studied at William Patterson College and privately with Bob DeVos, Bill Connors, Mario Escudero and Leonid Bolotine. All Music intrigues me. Blues, jazz (especially Parker), classical and cultural music such as HuongThanh/Nguyen Le. But it was in my second year of music theory under the direction of Dr. Jeff Kresky my eyes were opened to harmonic development outside of the traditional classical approach. After hearing Blow By Blow and Wired I was hooked on instrumental guitar music!

New CD

The new CD will be the best example of my guitar and compositional skills to date. Its a combination of “Live“ material and new studio compositions and one track from my New Jersey days with Dave Larue and Van Romaine. Since all the tracks were with different drummers there is a new energy discovered in each track that demonstrates the skills of that rhythm section. Plus a host of great guests. For those fans who enjoyed my other CDs, this CD will be a great introduction to my new format with co-production by Andrew Higgins (bassist on the project.) Composition is my primary concern and I enjoy the challenge of composing and integrating different instruments into guitar based compositions. Experimenting with pedal steel and violin as instruments of interest while focusing on using them in a non-stereotypical format. I would rather implement the sonic characteristics of these instruments outside of their expected roles. The album was recorded in Digital Performer and Pro Tools. The live stuff was culled from a full day of jams on tunes from my first CD but they were rewritten for “live” performance and thanks to Andrew’s musicianship and creativity post-production time, gave these tracks new life. This collection of recordings is truly a group project and not just a Jimmy Mac guitar record. The new studio tracks were recorded at Studio 101 in Marin County and at various private studios through out the Bay area.

Favorite Guitars

My favorite guitar is my Sadowsky Custom Telecaster. I also use an old Strat and a Gibson SG for slide. As for amps: old Fender Twin and a Blues Deluxe but Mesa Boogie’s are in the mix as well. All demos are done with my PODxt Live and I use Fulltone, Eventide and Digitech pedals. For rhythm I use my Tele through a Twin clean. The primary effect used is the Eventide Modfactor—great pedal for customized chorus as well as other killer sounds. For solos I use all sorts of goo – Fulltone Wah, OCD, Octavia ultra, Digitech Whammy II, The Vox Satchurator, Ibanex Tube Screamer. Then again I also use plug-in digital-delays for post-production so there you go. Anything goes! As for strings, I have a varied gauge selection so its not standard and I use different vendors such as GHS or D’Addario. Oh yeah a Taylor acoustic.

Musical Influences

Jeff Beck is certainly a major influence but I really dig Scott Henderson, Robben Ford, Gary Moore and Oz Noy. As for albums—any Jeff Beck record, Tribal Tech, Corridors Of Power by Gary Moore…hmmm a lot of of non-guitar records as well. As a former violinist I have always enjoyed the Bach Partitas and Sonatas for solo violin as well as the cello works. I love a good R&B vocalist like Stevie Wonder and 70’s funk bands like the Ohio Players, Chaka Khan , Sly Stone etc. The blues is always in my playing so B.B., Albert and Freddie and the messengers that followed like Mike Bloomfield, Clapton and Peter Green are a big influence too. But I can’t dismiss the impact of jazz. In fact, I probably down play it but almost everyone that hears me live calls me a jazz player so thanks to years of Wes, Martino and my great teacher Bob DeVos, I guess I’m guilty as charged.

Upcoming Plans

Well, I would like to get the new CD out by this fall 2009 and do a live gig to support it. Since I do all the business work...there is a demand for my old Three Point Play catalog. I never re-released the work I did with Three Point Play. Kim Stone, Dave LaRue & Fisher played bass. Mike Stern did some guitar and whole host of guests including Broadway guitarist Chris Cicchino (Toxic Avenger and soon to be in Rock of Ages). Good record. 9/11 was release date and it never hit the stores. Eversonic went out of biz and wouldn't return my stock. It was good stuff...a lot of out-takes etc. I need to free up time to do the new artwork and select the appropriate tracks. Double OT was the title. The distributor and label are out of business and I have been contacted by several fans and a few distributors with interest in carrying the CD. It’s a very unstable industry as far as I’m concerned so I focus on what I can do as opposed to what I can’t.

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