Jeff Jaskowiak, Joe Filisko, and Larry Ortega
Friendship by Jasko’ Filisko and Ortega, is an endeavor of love, heart, passion, perseverance and timing, as true friendship is. The songs on this project came from many decades of writing. A couple came from the 70’s, one from the 80’s, most from the 90’s, one from the 00’s, and even one from as late as 2019. Some of the parts were recorded in the 90’s and the rest from 2000 to 2007 and from 2016 to 2020 and mixed and mastered in 2021. Why so long? Life. I was building things like recording studios, music businesses, university recording majors, homes and friendships. I describe this music as thrashing acoustic.
Joe Filisko is the melodic force, performing melodies and solos with power, grace and bronco agility. This album shows the wide breath of possibilities of the harmonica in colors, textures, orchestrations, ferocity and beauty, like no other harmonica album ever recorded, but of course you’d bet I say that. When you listen, I believe you will agree. Do a search on Joe Filisko.
I met Joe at Joliet Junior College in 1984 as a guitar student and he has been a dear, encouraging and steadfast friend since. By the way, Joe switched to harmonica because he was tired of schlepping backbreaking amps. His decision blossomed into an effervescent new world for him. Take a listen.
Larry Ortega drummer, percussionist, music programmer and lifetime nutty friend has blessed this recording with unbelievable performances with the strength and elegance of Shadowfax, driving creative, responsive, rhythmic energy and nuance making it a listening pleasure every time.
I had booked Larry in December of 2019 for March 11-13, 2020 to record drums and percussion. When Larry came in March all was good, then the calls started coming. All his gigs for the rest of the month and April cancelled. The next day took out May, June, July and August of 2020, the 1st year of Covid. Larry said, “I guess we have more time to record.” I said “Yes!!!”
The lemons turned into a scrumptious and delightful work of art. The lifetime of revering and emanating the groove flourished into swashbuckling risk and harnessed brilliance in creating musical jewels of drumming and percussive genius with the nuance of a gem maker. Larry is drummer, percussionist extraordinaire. It was an honor and a joy to work on this project with a giant in the rhythm and creative music world. He has been a life-long friend since 1979. I love the drums and percussion. I believe you will too.
Now me, the madman behind the curtain. I am Jeff Jaskowiak. I started playing guitar with my cousins and friends when I was ten. I have been bitten since then. I was extremely lucky to study with Mick Goodrick, Gary Burton and Pat Methney at the Jamey Aebersold Jazz clinics in late high school and early college years. These teachers shined the lights and pointed to the paths that speed up understanding and developing chops. Some of my compositional inspirations are Michael Hedges, Antoine Dufour, Joe Satriani, Vicente Amigo, Broce Cockburn, Sting, Jaco Pastorius, Michael Manring, Louis Johnson, Victor Wotten and Bill Coleman to name a few. As you can see my love is for guitar and bass, especially acoustic guitars, and great composers. These are ineffable mentors to stand on the shoulders of.
You might wonder why the break between 2007 and 2016? Well our old place was having drive-by shootings so we moved and it took me two years to build a new studio while I was a super adjunct at the University of St. Francis in Joliet, IL . The Admins at the University asked me to create a recording major which is called DARA, Digital Audio Recording Arts program in 2009 which was first a concentration in Music department. DARA became its own major in 2015. In the years 2013-5, I had to get my Masters degree. So in 2016, I shaved my head and vowed since my masters was done and the major was launched to record the bass parts and get this venture rebooted. Joe was a giant inspirer, investor and intimidator throughout, for which I am grateful. But the insanity payed off. I am thrilled at the performances and the recording. I learned a ton in regard to tracking, editing, mixing and mastering always striving for clear, full and balanced. I’m very happy with my takes and these compositions. I strove for the best I could play, and record and I believe I drew out the best of my life long comrades. We’ve been waiting for this moment for a long time. Enjoy!