Jon Mulvey grew up in the Silverlake area of Los Angeles, and just loved the green and lushness of Griffith Park. He currently lives in Marin County near San Rafael. The lights and sounds of Los Angeles have been changed to a back yard that has a creek and a bridge.
Jon came back to Los Angeles to attend NAMM, where he met with his sponsors Ibanez, Peavey, D’Adario and Dimarzio’s (pick-ups), formerly EMG (active pick-ups). He tries to visit as often as he can, in between his tours. He recently played in New Zealand.
As we talked, the conversation turned to San Diego, which I think has one of the best jazz scenes on the west coast. Jon mentioned that he had played Humphrey’s, and we traded stories about that particular venue.
“I loved growing up here in 70’s and 80’s. The teachers were part of the jazz scene. Although they were not as recognized as a heavy influence, I felt like the new jazz came out of west coast – artists like Tom Scott, Lee Ritenour, Larry Carlton. However, since California has such a temperate climate, the music was not taken seriously, even all the players were here.”
Jon picked up his first guitar at the age of 7, started formal jazz guitar training at age 11, and began touring internationally with top acts at age 15. Jon also spent ten years playing with Mingus, founded by Dorian Mingus (son of legendary jazz bassist/composer Charles Mingus). They incorporated a pop/rock sound because Dorian didn’t want to be compared with his father. Jon spent a lot of time with the Mingus family. “It was a lot of fun to hear stories from Dorian’s mom. We had some amazing times sitting around talking about Miles (Davis), (John) Coltrane and having breakfast while Charlie played the piano.”
Jon taught guitar to Neil Schon’s son, Miles, and also produced his album.
“It takes 28 hours a day to promote an artist the right way. I’m working with a new pop/r&b artist, and the focus is on style as an application, not a hard-set philosophy or religion. My diverse background has provided me with a well-rounded musical education. “
“My mother taught me Bethoven and I loved jazz early on. That led me to taking lessons from Joe Satriani. That time was very fruitful for me because Joe was so interesting and taught me to try music in so many styles. This makes music more appealable, as rock bands have large draws and by supporting these bands, I gained a bigger audience. Working with artists like Robin Trower gave my music different slant and allowed me to bring something different to the music scene.”
After touring around the world, Jon turned his attention to the studio as a sessions musician, where he has been involved in over 1500 recordings. Recently, Jon and Deborah Yates combined to form a new label, Two Hearts, which focuses on world and instrumental music. The label grew out of composition Jon wrote with Deborah as a duet composed of flute and guitar. The combination was a perfect fit to become a label and a brand.
Jon is heading back to New Zealand and South Pacific, then over to Australia’s eastern side. The tour is being billed as An Evening with, and starts with Duo Cuori, then a middle set of rock guitar, and ends with Vortex Tribe (world rythym celebration with African sound). “I’ve always been intrigued by how music came together – bebop came from rockabilly/country acts like Bob Wills & Texas Playboys. Different genres all drew from the initial energy. Why should we limit ourselves to one style when there are lots of styles to be explored. I always wanted to investigate and learn new styles, but never considered myself a master of any one style. I strongly believe in sharing the stage with different styles. That’s what America needs to stop hatred and prejudice – to find value in all the different styles and peoples. We must learn tolerance and keep our minds open. In particular, people need to hurry up and grow up. It seems pretty obvious to me what is right and wrong. I wonder sometimes how people can go off on such strange tangents.
“This & That” is Jon’s newest release, a rock instrumental produced by Tony Levin (Peter Gabriel), and features Stuart Hamm on bass and Jerry Marotta on drums. For more info about this release, and about Jon, check out his websites at www.twoheartsrecords.com and www.jonmulvey.net.
If you’re interested in hearing Jon live at the Canyon Club, opening for Al DiMeola at 7 p.m. on February 17, tickets are available at Jon’s website. Tickets are $19 in advance, and $29 at the door. The Canyon Club is located at 28912 Roadside Drive in Agoura Hills.