Composer Suzanne Ciani is widely recognized as a bold electronic music pioneer. But younger musicians may not realize just how much boldness she needed to fight the prejudices against female composers that prevailed only a few decades ago.
Not many musicians have had the opportunity to sit at the feet of the some of the century's greatest musicians the way David Paich has - literally.
"I got a taste of great musicianship at an early age," says Toto's keyboardist, who, being the son of legendary composer/arranger Marty Paich, practically grew up in Hollywood's recording studios in the '60s. "I was fortunate in being able to witness record-making with great artists from age five on. I got to watch people like Lena Horne, Ray Charles, Ella Fitzgerald."
A Perfect Circle guitarist Troy Van Leeuwen commands a well-rounded view of current heavy rock. He sees his band as a natural evolution from '90s progressive-metal groups such as Tool - which just happens to be the other band of A Perfect Circle frontman Maynard James Keenan. How's that for circular?
Want a career like Mike Garson's? Playing piano for rock innovators Smashing Pumpkins, Nine Inch Nails, and David Bowie... collaborating with jazz giants such as Freddie Hubbard and Stanley Clarke... composing hundreds of modern classical pieces?
Michael Omartian is not only responsible for producing hundreds of hit records, but also a world record: he is the only producer to have scored number-one records in three decades, the '70s, '80s and '90s.
Michael Bolton, Christopher Cross, Amy Grant, Donna Summer, Whitney Houston, Vince Gill, the Jacksons, Cher, Rod Stewart, Barry Manilow, Trisha Yearwood, Alison Kraus, Marty Stuart, and Clint Black represent just a fraction of the artists whose records the 54-year-old producer has overseen. He has also co-written many hits, played keyboards for the likes of Dolly Parton, Eric Clapton, Michael Jackson, Barbra Streisand, Julio Iglesias, and Steely Dan, and released several solo albums.
Even though keyboardist Tim Carmon has played with the likes of B.B. King, Eric Clapton, Babyface, Buddy Guy, Stevie Wonder, Gladys Knight, and Macy Gray, he may be best known to millions for his daytime television roles, such as the piano-playing Kip on The Young and the Restless. But Carmon insists that he is always a musician first.
It's Sunday, and Saturday Night Live guitarist Lucasz Gottwald is recounting how he spent the previous night: "It was the first show of the season. Besides playing in the house band, I wrote three compositions for this week's show, and Eminem rapped over one of them. Things got hairy in a few places - remember, the show really is live. Last night they were changing the order of the sketches while the show was in progress." Gottwald pauses, then adds, "People regularly lose it."
When you're one of the most in-demand talents in the ultra-competitive remix field, you can't settle for anything less than the most powerful, high-tech tools, right? Well . . .
Producer, songwriter and keyboardist Alan "Grip" Smith describes his style as "old school/new school." "Old school R&B was really musical, in the sense that it was very chordal and song-oriented," he says. "I try to combine that with the more groove-based, rhythmically syncopated new school style."