I worked with Greg Gilford, a/k/a Max Gilford, some years ago. He produced and arranged backup vocals, among other things, on my album “Delano” in 1997. He was shy for some years about his prestigious fame at 18, co-founder and performing with “The Thomas Group,” recording with the “Wrecking Crew,” P.F. Sloan, son of the famous 1940’s actress Anne Gwynne and actor Chris Pine’s uncle. I guess some of that prestige explains how his storm trouper temperament would present itself when production sessions hit “sub-standard” results.
Rob Ward, a/k/a “GuruJonz,” introduced us back in the early 90’s when Max use to drive a long gas slugging LTD. He was was living in the Bronx and smoked 2 packs of Pall Mall a day, which he finally kicked in ’98 after an acute health scare. Our common interest in music couldn’t have been more immediate after our first meeting.
His instincts and musicianship were a remarkable tool and influence while producing my Delano album. Like myself, he could play guitar, piano, percussion and sing remarkably well; but his back-up vocal arrangements were right on the money, no different than what one hears in The Thomas Group recordings from back in 1966. I believe he did have perfect pitch, if not a cent or two off.
Below is a track from JMP album “Delano,” 1997 “Dead Man Walkin1.” Max Gilford Back-up vocals and arrangement. This song is for adult audiences only, not recommended for “anyone” under the age of 18.
When writing this tune for my “Delano” album in 1997 a funny thing, Jungian of sorts, was happening in another creative circle on the West Coast.
When studying at UCLA Music Dept in the mid-80s, there was a darling pianist of the music department, a protege – Jake Heggie that studied with Johanna Harris, (soon to be Heggie’s wife) widow to composer, Roy Harris.
Jake and I studied in Paul Des Marais’s composition class, while the other composition majors battled under the wings of Paul Reale or, preferably – Henri Lazarof, my orchestration professor.
F-FWD a few years. In 2001 I heard an NPR promotional stating that my old school “mate” Jake Heggie – just penned music for an “Opera,” on the schedule for performance at the New York City Opera, Dead Man Walking. Truly, truly – fascinating.