Steve Khan's Kamarica Lead Sheet


See Steve's Hand-Written Lead Sheet

Steve Khan's lead sheet:
"Kamarica"(Khan, Jackson, Badrena, Weckl, Jordan)

    During my recent years where I spent so much time in Venezuela, I was deeply touched when I learned that this recording was held in such special regard by the leaders of Guaco, Venezuela's most famous supergroup! And, this is a group whose music I greatly admire. One lost night, I was lucky enough to meet lead vocalist and band leader, Gustavo Aguado for the first time, and, of all things, he came up to me and began to sing, of all things, the guitar figure from "Kamarica" from the "PUBLIC ACCESS" recording. I was stunned, shocked beyond belief, but greatly humbled and honored. And, more than this, struck by the realization that if, music like this, gets the distribution and is afforded the chance to be heard, there is no telling just who it can reach. For the good and even the not-so-good, I remain very grateful to GRP for this. Rafael Greco, my dearest friend in Venezuela, and a former but longtime member of Guaco, explained to me that the group used to use the "PUBLIC ACCESS" CD to 'warm-up' their audiences before their own shows. I still shake my head in wonderment at this.
    As I have explained in most of the related and recent analyses posted at Korner 2, my guitar of choice for this piece was my ESP Strat. It obviously offers the right sonic palette for such a tune. The basic groove is, in essence, a shuffle with a 'swing' to it. However, it was always intended that Dave Weckl would not allude to the shuffle in his drum approach. PUBLIC ACCESS So, he plays in a more straight, up-and-down, fashion. The bass groove that I wrote out for Anthony Jackson also shuffles with a 'swing' to it. I remember that this bass line was created on my Rhodes at home. I wasn't even certain that it could work, because it is just so damn 'notey'. But, as he often does, Anthony took it on as a personal challenge, and made it work. The percussive contributions of Manolo Badrena are no less incredible. As he is a most mercurial player, sometimes, out of nowhere, he can play something so swingin' and so brilliant that you wonder why he didn't do that from the beginning, and this is exactly what happened when we were recording this track. At one point, during one of the [A] sections, he played an amazing double-time figure with a small chekeré and once we heard that, we all told him that he had to overdub that each time the [A] section appeared. Watching him perform this part as an overdub was no less remarkable because it was the first time I had ever seen someone play something this complex by alternately hitting the instrument with his hand, and then against his leg. When I listen to how fast it all is, it remains as a miracle to me. Gracias Manolo!!!

[I2] Bass enters
[A] - Manolo vocal
[A'] - Manolo w/ coro
[A2] - Guitar melody
[A'] - Manolo w/ coro
[A2] - Guitar melody w/ 2nd ending
[B] - muted Guitar melody
[A2] - Guitar melody w/ break figure
[C] - Interlude - Latin feel
[C2] - Manolo vocal
[C2] - Manolo vocal w/ 2nd ending - D.S.
[A'] - Manolo w/ coro - take Coda
[D] Guitar solo - Open
[D2] On cue - D.D.S.
[C2] - Manolo vocal
[C2] - Manolo vocal w/ 2nd ending - Double Coda
[E] - Drum solo
[E2] - On cue - Fade w/ coro vocalese

    Once again, the [A] vocal sections feature Manolo, and on the repeats, he is joined by the full coro of four additional vocalists. The lyrics, as you can see below, are once again written in various dialects unknown to me. But, I am sharing the words with you as Manolo dictated them to me many years ago. I recall when the moment arrived to record Manolo's vocals, because I was dreading this! The sonic process requires that Manolo double, and then, triple track his vocals. But, 'space cadet' that he is, he would finish one phrase, and then, as a producer might say to any vocalist: "O.K., double that!" To which, he would look at me quizzically and say: "What? I don't remember what I just did!" Well, after a few go-rounds of this, my frustration grew to the point where, I had to leave the studio, and actually walk around the neighborhood to chill out. In the end, only Anthony had the patience to guide Manolo through the vocals. For me, this aspect of the recording was pure torture, and contributed greatly to my going way over my originally projected budget!
    The vocal sections are followed by a guitar driven melody section at [A2]. From a guitarist's perspective, the project featured the most sophisticated sound processing equipment I had ever employed on any of my recordings. After years of having my refrigerator-sized rack sitting, collecting dust, in Los Angeles, I finally had it 'air-lifted' to Bob Bradshaw's shop. He was kind enough to get it all worked out just in time for the rehearsals and the recording sessions. "Kamarica" involves the most switching, and though the sounds are not all that wild, I could never have performed all those sonic changes, while playing live, without Bob's inventive switching system, and his personal help. For this, I remain forever grateful. So, the first effect you hear is that the melody at [A2] is simply enhanced by an octave, using the BOSS OC-2 pedal, which was housed in a drawer at the top of the rack. If you are following along with the written lead sheet, and listening to the soundclip or the recording, you will notice that something very strange happens on the repeat of [A2] as we head towards the 2nd Ending, which you see on the 2nd system of Pg. 2. Instead of playing the full 6 bars before taking the 2nd Ending, we only play 4 bars! What now occurs to me is that somehow, we must have made an error, and to repair it, we simply edited out 2 bars of the phrase. However, if we were to play this tune today, it should be a full 8-bar section!!!
    After a reprise of Manolo's vocal with the coro at [A'], [A2] is repeated, but this time the group comes way down in dynamics as we move on to the [B] muted guitar melody. This is really the only section where Dave Weckl uses a more shuffley/swingy oriented beat, which comes from his ride cymbal.PUBLIC ACCESS From here, it is on to letter [C], where the Latin influences begin to seep into the music. From the guitar perspective, I am certain that the voicing style, which I employed, was influenced by the way that Chick Corea played on Cal Tjader's "SOUL BURST" recording from '66. One thing that I can share with you all, concerning Manolo's lyrics, those which I can understand, is that he seems to have two running themes and sentiments in all his writing: [1] is filled with "peace," "love," and the various images, flower power, which surround those universal desires; [2] could be directed at anyone or anything, and that is: "you messed up my life, get out o' my face, and leave me alone!!!" So, what you will read below at [C2] definitely comes more from the "peace"/"love" perspective!!! After this section, which mostly features lyrics in Spanish, we reprise [A] and then, take the Coda and arrive at [D] for the guitar solo.

Egbarun unyale
ogodo olodo
ala meyi kole kole
Kamarica chekete, yalode
aloko tabara odo

Luna que encuentras ya
kekerete se que
la espuma ya cristal es
y piedras allí
veras de todos colores
y de todas las tierras
y yo te preguntaré
Molokai, Lanai

Donde escondiste tú?
la piedra luminosa
Donde se escribieron?
aquellas descifraciónes
que tú ni yo
sabremos descifrar
pero ellos si saben
donde estaran?
Qué sera de mi?

    Though the only written instructions, harmonically speaking, for the guitar improvisation at [D] is that we playing over the G7 dominant area that letters [A] [A2] and [B] were based around. Of course, during those sections, you heard Anthony Jackson playing a lot of notes and constantly. When [D] arrived, and we never discussed this, suddenly Anthony began to play the most outrageous sounding long tones, and with a rhythmic placement that only he could come-up with, it is truly bliss-inducing to be allowed to play over the textures that he creates. When you add in the astral colors of Manolo Badrena, it is like performing a film score for a series of scenes as yet unwritten. It remains hard to believe that we are playing over only one chord. At about 4:28, Anthony allows his last note to ring-out and then he lays out for about 4-bars, and then re-enters with more incredible notes in counter rhythms to what the rest of us are doing. He is simply brilliant! For my approach to such an improvisation, I rely on bits and pieces of the melodic material which has appeared before in the composed sections. So, you should hear melodic groupings which sound vaguely familiar, but then, they are expanded upon and developed. At about the 5:03 mark, I once again employed the Bradshaw rig, and commanded it to go to a TC 1210 Spatial Expander preset for a series of chordal passages which are, without question, inspired by McCoy Tyner. At 5:21, I return to single notes for a final 8-bars before giving everyone the 'cue' to move forward by playing [D2]. This brings us to a Double D.S., and directly back to a final reprise of [C2].
    PUBLIC ACCESSAfter the 2nd Ending of [C2], we take the Double Coda and arrive at [E] for another spectacular drum solo from Dave Weckl. Perhaps this is the perfect moment to share with everyone that, when this project was conceived and I knew that I would have to pay for it all myself, both Anthony Jackson and Dave Weckl volunteered to play for nothing! This gesture of friendship, and it is one that bespeaks of a 'brotherhood' that exists, at times, between fellow musicians, is something I have never forgotten, and it is something that I never will forget. And, should the moment ever arise when Anthony or Dave needs me for something, I will be there in a heartbeat, and happy to play for nothing! When Dave was done with the solo, we just hit a stride and faded over that same figure. Later, I had Lani Groves and Vivian Cherry sing in vocalese to beef-up the sense of melody carried by the top voice of the guitar.
    At the time, "PUBLIC ACCESS" was the third recording that I had paid for out of my own pocket. Believe it or not, it ended up costing me some $38,000 and, when all was said and done, I was only able to recoup $27,000. When one pays for their own recording, you have to know from the outset that you are never going to see your investment, financially speaking, fully returned. To expect that is to be a fool! However, there are always things that happen, during the process, which contribute to making things more expensive than they had to be. For example, I knew that Larry Rosen could be brutal about taking a recording and then, on his whim, chopping up the tracks, resequencing everything to make it more 'radio friendly.' Well, I was willing to 'play the game' but not to that extreme. So, in order to preserve the integrity of what we had created, I told him that I would pay for special "Radio Edit" CDs, IF he would promise to leave the 'consumer version' of the recording intact. And so, we had a deal, but it became even more expensive for me. However, what choice did I have? It is all so strange because Larry was a drummer and completely flipped when he heard Dave Weckl's performances. Dave Grusin also loved the recording, but the line between what might be 'artistic' and what is 'business' can quickly become blurred, and then, soon disappears. So, one must do everything in their power to protect their work. Otherwise, a disaster could occur. It is another way of saying that: "Your work does not end when the last notes have been played. It has only just begun!!!"

[Photos of Manolo Badrena, Anthony Jackson, and Dave Weckl
by the late David Tan]

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