Alan Weisman - multi-instrumentalist (drums, piano, guitar, steel drum, percussion) composer, producer, arranger, engineer
As an infant on his parents living room floor in the Bronx, New York, Alan started playing a tom tom from a set of vintage drums to Herb Albert and The Tijuana Brass records, while mesmerized by the album cover of “Whipped Cream and Other Delights.”
He took his first piano lesson in third grade. While growing up, the piano players that really attracted his attention were Monty Alexander, Oscar Peterson, Horace Silver, Bill Evans, Lyle Mays, Dave Grusin, Chuck Leavell and later James Raymond, Renato Neto and Steve Weingart.
Next an electric guitar arrived as a gift and his curiosity was aroused. There was a sound Alan wanted to have...a complete sound...from just strumming the strings, without having to play chords with the left hand. At this time, the seeds of desire to explore open tunings began. While in High School, Alan discovered guitarists Michael Hedges and William Ackerman.
Since the third grade he started to play snare drum rudiments on his bedroom wall as he would fall asleep at night. In eighth grade, he finally got an orange sparkle drum set and decided not to go to school the next day to clean and polish this kit. As it turned out, “The Gene Krupa” story just happened to be the 1 pm movie that afternoon. Next came Carmine Appice’s wonderful book, “Realistic Rock.” From Alan’s brother’s record collection he heard Art Blakey's solo on Blue Monk, Vernell Fournier on “Poinciana” and shortly thereafter, discovered Max Roach and the world of Jazz drumming. Drums lessons with New York City master Jazz drummer Horacee Arnold followed. While listening to WRVR a pioneering Jazz station in New York, Alan discovered Al DiMeola, Pat Metheny, Return To Forever, The Dregs, Jean Luc Ponty, Tom Jobim and Jazz Fusion as well as Calypso music. At this time Alan purchased a steel drum and wrote songs for it and fronted an award winning Jazz Fusion band in high school. As high school graduation approached, Alan was the first drummer to be presented with the “Louis Armstrong Jazz Award.” Alan was also the drummer for the New Jersey “All Shore” and “Region II” Jazz Bands.
During these formative years, he first saw the 1959 Cannes Film Festival winner “Black Orpheus” which was being shown repeatedly on a PBS fund drive. Alan sat there all day watching this movie over and over again amazed by the music from Brazil during Carnival. There are three children that star in the film. One of them Carlinhos Pandeiro De Ouro is now living in LA, teaching Brazilian percussion and doing recording sessions. Carlinhos plays on Alan’s new cd, “Liminality.”
Alan became passionate about this marriage of music and film and his interest in composing began. He was also inspired by Vince Guaraldi’s music for the Charlie Brown television specials. One day, while listening to a local radio station, Alan was amazed by an instrumental song that seamlessly blended Jazz and Latin rhythms with a pop hook. He had to have a recording of this song, “Cast Your Fate To The Wind” and later found it on Vince Guaraldi’s album, “Jazz Impressions Of Black Orpheus.”
Alan’s college years were spent at New York University's Music, Business and Technology program with a major in Recording Technology and minor in music theory and composition while working as Assistant Director of The Music Technology Program. As can be imagined, a lot of his time was spent in the studios there. While at NYU, he got an internship at GRP records in New York City with Dave Grusin and Larry Rosen. This turned into a full time job as Assistant Engineer on eleven cd's, including Billy Cobham's "Power Play" and "Warning", Dave Grusin and Lee Rittenour’s “Harlequin”, Kevin Eubank’s “Opening Night” and Dave Valentin’s “Jungle Garden. This is where he got to meet and work with many of the musicians he respected and admired. On the technical side, he had the opportunities to work with a lot of great engineers and this is where his engineering "ears" started to develop and become refined. One of the facets of this gig was to bring the 1/4” masters over to Ted Jensen at Sterling Sound and sometimes Ted would let Alan sit and listen in the back of his room as he mastered the cd’s.
After receiving an acoustic guitar as a gift and arriving in Los Angeles, Alan played drums in the local club scene with various types of bands, composed music for twenty-eight episodes on environmental sciences that aired on PBS and internationally as well as playing drums for session work for television.
The new CD Liminality was in part inspired after a trip to Brazil, and the many worlds of Brazilian Music, especially Bahia where he saw the most amazing drummers. While in Brazil, he discovered that "The Girl From Ipanema” is a real person and the song is a true story!
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The songs from Liminality have crossed over into 16 genres of music and have charted in Top Ten positions! With such a wide spread appeal this music has a little bit of something for just about everybody!
Liminality is a period of transition, a threshold, where normal limits to thought, self understanding and behavior are relaxed...a situation which can lead to new perspectives. Where one's sense of identity dissolves...to some extent. The result is a unique perspective on what has come before...and what may come next...