I've been playing keys for Leo Nocentelli's Meters Experience for over 20 years, have played and/or recorded with Peter Gabriel, Daniel Lanios, Cyril Neville & more. I am happy to just add the glue or add as much funk as you require. I will add Piano, Hammond Organ, Wurlitzer, Rhodes, Clavinet and or Synth to your tracks.
My job is to serve the song. Under your direction I will add to the parts already there. I have both vintage and modern instruments for what ever is best for the song. I am running the latest versions of ProTools and Logic and using Lynx converter/interfaces. I am a songwriter and a producer so my perspective allows me to see what's needed musically, when it is needed and how much. My hope is that this will be valuable to you and in how I provide service.
Click the 'Contact' above to get in touch. Looking forward to hearing from you.
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Interview with Albert Margolis
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: 1. Clearly communicate your vision and needs upfront. 2. Have faith in the process. 3. Have faith in me.
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: Listening. To the client, to the song, to the other musicians. This is a critical skill as a keyboard player especially since there is such a wide palate of sounds and styles literally at your fingertips. It's imperative to be on target right form the beginning. This ensures that everyone is happy with the process. That's my highest goal.
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: I serve serve song. I bring my years of songwriting, arranging and production to every project but only what's required. Just because I have ten fingers, it doesn't mean they all need to be on every song! Seriously though, if the song cries out for just a single sustained Hammond note to lift a chorus, for instance, that's what I'll do. It always begins and ends with the song.
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: Yes - both. Both are tools and both have their strength and weaknesses in the production process. I will choose one or the other based on what is best to realize the project and what is most appropriate for the given situation.
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: A MacBook Pro, a Kurzweil PC3K8, a Guild acoustic guitar, a Lynx Aurora(n) and Sennheiser headphones
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: I think growing up in a musical household made gravitating to the music a natural progression. My brother taught me to play the guitar when I was seven and by the time I was nine we had a piano in the house. It came with six free lessons and I was the one who got them! I had this amazing teacher who taught me theory and composition and most importantly how to improvise. So I had this catalog of songs by the time I was 10 and at 11 was playing my first gig at my elementary school. All originals. From there it was many original bands through high school and then I majored in composition and performance in college. I graduated from Towson University with a BS in Music. More bands and recordings which lead to playing all up and down the east coast and eventually opening and operating a recording studio in Baltimore. I came to California in '95 and soon landed an audition with Leo Nocentelli of the Meters. I got the gig and played all over the US including the New Orleans Jazz Festival. I've been with Leo ever since.
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: Earthy. Certainly roots at its core, but also with attention to melodic and harmonic elements that are happening around me. This means that I am always listening to the rest of the music, seeing how I can best fit in, add something and most importantly be supportive to the idea of the song without detracting from it. It's a balancing act for sure, but this perspective of serving the song first has served me well in my live and studio endeavors.
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: I've recorded with Peter Gabriel for the forthcoming Leo Nocentelli album. Peter did his parts at his Real World studio in England while I recorded my parts in Los Angeles so we were never in the studio together. My goal is to someday work with Peter in the same room so that I can experience and hopefully join in his creative process. He's probably one of the most innovative artists around. What I admire most is his uncanny ability to not only stay current, but always be forward marching in his artistic expression. I would love to experience that first hand.
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: Create space. It's so easy with literally thousands of instruments and tracks at your fingertips to simply add more and more tracks and sounds, however that fills up the listening space. The hard part for many musicians with that much access is to create space in the music so that it breathes. When music breathes it has the power to grab the listener emotionally. This is what separates an artist from a technician. This is a key perspective that many musicians never achieve. The art of creating space is probably the most valuable lesson I have learned playing with Leo Nocentelli for so many years. He is the master of it.
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: Typically it's organic in nature - singer-songwriter, soul, funk, blues and Americana. As of late I have been creating music for TV, film and ads so there have been a modern focus to my work. I have a love for improvisational music too as I grew up with bands like Little Feat, the Meters and the Allman Brothers so I have a soft spot for the Jam Band. I also grew up listenng to Jackson Brown, James Taylor and CSNY which is probably where I learned how to bring economy of parts and structure to my playing that supports the singer and song. I'm just at home rocking out to some heavy Deep Purple Hammond though!
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: My clients will send me a wav or MP3 file with the mix of the song and some sort of notes. I'll have a brief discussion with my client prior to taking my1st pass so that their vision is clear to me before I begin. Even though I have a clear understanding of my client's vision I will take provide a couple of different approaches so that there is some choice for my clients. This way I can create the track that my client envisions with a targeted approach.
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: I am running both Logic and Pro Tools on a MacBook Pro and record through the Lynx Hilo interface. I'd say it's the most transparent converter available. I use ADAM monitors. I have both a vintage Wurlitzer 200A and a Rhodes '73 electric pianos as well as a Hammond and Leslie to capture the best vintage vibe. I also have large collection of soft synths that range from vintage to modern textures from Arturia and Native Instruments. I also have a Kurzweil PC3K8 that does everything. I love the piano feel!
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: I love the work of Benmont Tench, Bill Payne, Peter Gabriel, Rami Jaffe, Jon Cleary, Rod Argent, Greg Rollie, Chuck Leavell and Bruce Hornsby. These are the guys that continue to inspire me to play my instrument, write and perform daily. On the production side, Brendan O'Brien Daniel Lanois, Eno and F. Reid Shippen continue to amaze me with every project.
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: I love taking what's already there and adding the spice that completes the artist's or producer's vision. This could be as simple as just adding whole notes on the Hammond that just glues the whole song together. It could also be writing a complete piano and or synth arrangement that brings the track to life. It's all about creating the right parts that fit the song with the ultimate goal of serving the song/client.