About Dr. Dave® Smooth Jazz Guitarist & Recording Artist
Early on in his musical career, as Dr. Dave was building his rep as a jazz performer, he became part of a popular ensemble called ZZAJJ. One day, the group heard him scatting along as he played spot-on George Benson type licks. They were so impressed with his dual mastery that they began calling him by his unique nickname “Dr. Dave” – and it stuck. Still grooving and living up to his colorful moniker, Dr. Dave is writing, composing and jamming on his new multi-faceted album Carefree. He’s stirring up a spirited storm of healing, soulful melodies and electric guitar funk on a multi-faceted new independent release that draws from the many musical passions of his life: old school R&B/funk, pop, traditional jazz, rock and blues.
With the help of co-writer and drummer Ronnie Stewart, Dr. Dave also delivers a touch of island breeze on the tropical romp “Almost Trinidad” as well as a fusion of reggae and blues on an infectious cover of “Don’t Worry Be Happy” - a song whose title and vibe capture the Carefree spirit perfectly. Dr. Dave’s colorful spin on the Bobby McFerrin classic, the 11 track collection’s first single, is catching on quickly at terrestrial and internet radio. It’s a “Feedback Track” on the Smooth Jazz Top 20 chart, has risen into the Top 30 on the Smoothjazz.com Radar chart, was recently the Most Added track on the Radio Wave Internet Airplay chart and is “chartbound” on the Groove Jazz Music Chart. It is also receiving airplay on over 40 terrestrial and internet outlets throughout North America and internationally everywhere from India to Australia. Dr. Dave will soon be releasing a music video for “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” to YouTube and other outlets.
One of the benefits to being a core performer on the club scene of one of America’s most renowned cities for contemporary jazz is having the opportunity to record with some of its top musicians. On Carefree, Dr. Dave recorded all the rhythm tracks and most of the others live in the studio (at Signature Sound Recording Studio in Southern California) with an amazing crop of musicians, all of whose names appear on the album cover for good measure: bassist Cecil McBee, Jr.; keyboardists Kevin Fournoy and Rob Whitlock, who wrote the brassy, high energy “late night talk show” styled track “Late Night With Dr. Dave”; drummers Ronnie Stewart, Duncan Moore and Kevin Koch (from the popular contemporary jazz fusion band Fattburger); percussionist Tommy Aros (also from Fattburger); saxophonist John Rekevics; and rhythm guitarists Steve Wilcox and Hank Easton. Another key part of Dr. Dave’s musical team is Mike Harris, who engineered the recording and contributed percussion to the mix.
“I’m a self-taught musician and I’ve always found that it’s best to work with top guys who have the formal musical training I never had,” says Dr. Dave. “That ensures that I’m always being challenged to take my game to the next level. The fun part is getting together with these guys, talking about my ideas and how to develop them, and getting to work creating music. I have songs going on in my head all the time, and my goal in recording Carefree and every album I have made was to translate the concepts in my head to tracks that people can hear and enjoy.
Stylistically,” he adds, “I like to say I’m an amalgamation of all of the wonderful players I grew up listening to and emulating, from George Benson and Eric Gale to Carlos Santana. I have loved a lot of guitarists throughout my life...Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy Page, even the surf guitar sound of The Ventures...but I am also influenced by greats on other instruments, particularly saxophonist Stanley Turrentine, whose vibe shines through clearly on “Heck No!,” an upbeat shuffle with a bluesy feel. And it goes without saying that the funk and improvisation on ‘G.B. Style’ is my way of paying homage to George Benson. I grew up listening to and playing rock and roll, but from the moment I heard his solo in the middle of ‘This Masquerade,’ I was hooked on jazz.”
Other key tracks on Carefree include the easy rolling, old school mid tempo funk driven title track; a playful bluesy soul-jazz twist on The Beatles’ “Come Together” that weaves in jazzy bass line similarities of Freddie Hubbard’s “Povo”; the crisp and poppin’ hypnotic blues-jazz flavored “C” Jam Blues; the whimsically soulful “Cecil’s Groove”; the mystical, whimsical romantic ballad “Sylvia”; and “Feels So Good,” an easy flowing old school soul wrap-up track whose title and dreamy vibe capture the Carefree spirit of the entire set.
Longtime fans of contemporary jazz may remember Dr. Dave from his initial success as a recording artist in the mid-90s, when his albums I Like It Like That, Smooth and Cruisin’ made big splashes in the early days of the smooth jazz format and hit the Gavin Report charts. Smooth featured performances from jazz greats Freddie Hubbard, Ernie Watts and the late Fattburger members Carl Evans, Jr. and Hollis Gentry. Cruisin’ had sax and flute legends, brothers Ronnie and Hubert Laws. Amazingly, Dr. Dave became a popular artist while at the same time continuing his successful practice as a licensed psychotherapist.
After that initial run, Dr. Dave switched gears and moved for a time to Brazil, where he performed for several years. He got back in the recording groove, and geared up for Carefree, his first set of all new tracks in many years, by releasing two compilations of earlier material – some of which had never been played on radio. In 2013, he released Love Potion, a collection of romantic songs, which he followed with the perfectly titled The Doctor Is In, full of Dr. Dave’s early up-tempo tracks. The smooth jazz format’s embrace of these recordings inspired Dr. Dave to return to the scene full force with Carefree.
In 2008, Dr. Dave, drawing on the many years he devoted to music and his practice as a Doctor of clinical psychology - and marking his recent transformation into more of a philosopher - published a book titled after his given last name called “Hatherillisms: Philosophies for Living” (available through Amazon.com). One of his quotes is: “Often music touches people in ways that words alone cannot. God made you unique. May you see what God meant you to be and then have the courage to act on it.” Back on track with his new album, Dr. Dave is doing just that, having a blast getting those melodies out of his head so that the world can hear all the music he’s been waiting to share for so long. No wonder he’s feeling so Carefree these days.