NYC--Yamaha Artist Tony DeSare is well known for crossing boundaries. His agility in interpreting American standards has landed him on serious jazz stages from Birdland to the Vail Jazz Festival, and even on the hallowed piano bench beside Marion McPartland. As an aficionado of more modern classics (and as true child of the 80s) DeSare has also paid tribute to rockers from Journey to Bon Jovi and Prince. In a live show, he’s just as likely to kick out licks (literally — with his size 10 Chuck Taylors in Great Balls of Fire), as mist your eyes with his original ballad “How I Will Say I Love You.”
So, it’s no surprise that in making his last album, PiANO
(2013), he decided to eschew all conventional combo instrumentations in favor of creating EVERY SINGLE SOUND on his Yamaha Disklavier DC3X. Using combinations of traditional piano playing with various inside-the-piano techniques and a few creative microphone placements, DeSare creates illusions of a wide array of ensembles.
Because he could depend on the Disklavier’s accurate capture of his own performance, he was able to record the piano part, then experiment with things like microphone placements and blending sounds during playback.
, you may THINK you hear electric guitars, harps, a Fender Rhodes, shakers, and tons of percussion instruments throughout the album, but Tony swears his only musical instrument was the Disklavier! Just to prove it, he shared a few secrets he used:A Lot To Say
To create the effect of a plucked bass, I recorded the bass line on the Disklavier, then played it back while half-damping the affected strings. (Without a Disklavier, this would require REALLY long arms!)Just One of Those Things
This one has become a favorite on DisklavierTV and includes a really fun video with shadows dancing. Again, lots of plucked strings and percussion effects from miking close to the soundboard.You Give Love A Bad Name
The BIG kettle drum sound is from miking the sound board and slamming my fists under the wood under the keys. There are also lots of reverb effects and overdubbed vocals.Where Love Lives
I got the guitar and harp-like parts by plucking every note by hand. The “shaker” comes from rubbing my palm on the unfinished wood portion of the inside of the piano and miking it very close. Christmas For You and Me
The very pure-sounding bell-like tone comes from a “reverse-attack” method: I played the notes in backwards order, then reversed the recording for this effect. There are also a lot of plucked strings.
True to his roots, there are a couple of tracks in which DeSare uses just the piano for its own unique richness—don’t miss the soulful rendering of Journey’s Faithfully
, sung with only piano accompaniment, and Autumn Leaves
, which has become DeSare’s signature etude. Both were recorded on the 9’ Yamaha CFIIIS Concert Grand at Skywalker Sound.
Ultimately, every track reveals a different dimension of the piano, reminding us why Disklavier continues to lead the pack of technology-equipped acoustic instruments and why Yamaha continues to be chosen by artists from every genre.
You can hear samples from PiANO
, download tracks, and purchase CDs and Tony DeSare HERE
, or at music retailers everywhere.
and let us know if you have news of a recording or event that used a Disklavier in a novel way!