listening to this CD, I noticed my blood pressure dropped a few points.
For a native NYC resident that can only mean a good thing. Why? I
picture a sultry South Florida night, palm trees swaying, a/c humming,
a coconut cooler in my hand and as I lounge sitting poolside Reno
del Mar are spinning their twin flamenco-jazz guitar sound. For those
just tuning in to my fantasy, Reno del Mar features the dueling acoustic
guitars of Mark Wilsey and Phil Lipman, two cats who
have been playing together for 30+ years and both are from New Jersey
originally. Somehow 25 years ago, these guys migrated to Arizona so
you can alternate my South Florida cool Jazziz smooth sound with the
Sedona / New Mexico desert flamenco vision while adding in a healthy
respect for the refined Nashville smooth country flecked jazz of the
man, Chet Atkins. Thats just how adept Phil and Mark are at
blending their all original, yet quite derivative guitar sound. A
couple highlights here, Feral Kitten Waltz as well as
Cant Handle That Rag sound like the kind of songs
Chet would flip for and for that matter, add in a touch of vintage
Les Paul style jazz guitar finesse to the mix! A gifted guitarist
and composer, Mark Wilsey handles many of the compositions with Phil
Lipman co-writing on a few tracks as well as contributing Eds
Bossa. The duos smooth as silk guitar stylings are balanced
out by the refined rhythm section of Jeff Rodenkirch (bass)
and Dave Walton (drums). There may be an eager urge for genre
typicrats to label these guys as being just smooth jazz. Sure theres
that breezy, catchy, tropical sort of vista here, yet scratch underneath
and youll also find a solid foundation of pop instrumental,
country / bluegrass, flamenco and a even a touch of Steve Howe style
Guitar-eclectica thats bound to please guitar enthusiasts, audio
buffs and music lovers, play after play. www.renodelmar.com
WEB EXPRESS 3000 presents
Phil Lipman and Mark Wilsey
of RENO DEL MAR
Guitars Center Stage
Guitarists making waves in the music world,
their new recordings and gear!
LIPMAN: Mark and I grew up in Edison, New Jersey in the same neighborhood.
I was lucky to have had a persistent guitar teacher in the 1st grade
who taught me the importance of practicing. Mark and I met in junior
high school and we quickly discovered we had a lot of common influences
including country, jazz, Grateful Dead, etc... I am mainly a guitar
player, acoustic and electric. I can play rudimentary bass as well.
MARK WILSEY: I started playing music at the age of 12. I took
some drum lessons and practiced Buddy Rich paradiddles. There was
a piano in the house and I taught myself to play stuff by ear. When
I was 14 a friend gave me a flute. I taught myself how to play some
Jethro Tull and Moody Blues on the flute. After a year I started jamming
with guitar players. I liked guitar so I started borrowing guitars
from the people I was jamming with. Later my parents bought me a Penco
acoustic guitar and I started studying Mel Bay guitar method with
Chris Phoebus at a local music store. Chris was a great guy and a
great guitar player. He wrote out some blues changes for me to jam
with. Some were basic and others were pretty complicated, with chromaticism
and substitutions. A friend of mine, Mary Sara Bransfield, lent me
her brothers late 50s Gibson ES 125 for a summer. It was
a sweet guitar. I was lucky to have that for a while. I played it
constantly and years later I bought one and still have it.
My sisters boyfriend, Joey Ruscito, an excellent piano player
and singer, turned me on to the Grateful Dead. He loaned me the American
Beauty and Workingmans Dead albums. I was still playing
the Penco acoustic mostly, but I bought a cheap electric hollow body
and an Alamo tube amp.
I met Phil around this time, it was probably 1974, and we have been
playing together ever since. We both loved the Dead album Bears
Choice and played all those songs. I remember teaching myself
all the songs from the Credence Clearwater album Willie and the
Poor Boys. That is a great album for beginning guitar players
When I met Phil, he came over to my house with my girlfriend, Karen
Stern. Karen was an amazing classical harpist. She was national champion
for years as a child. When we were dating she was on hiatus from playing
the harp because it had become such a grind. She had two nice classical
guitars that I loved to play. They were the first nylon string guitars
for me and as time went on, the nylon string became my instrument
of choice. Me, Phil and some other boys from the neighborhood would
jam on Grateful Dead songs in my parents garage. Later I bought my
first real electric for two hundred dollars, an early 60s Gibson
I went to college at Northeastern University in Boston for a year
in 1975. While I was there I played in a bluegrass band, a blues duo
with a harmonica player, and a medieval ensemble with recorders. I
lived with my parents in the fall of 1976 and took lessons in a group
adult continuing education setting. The teacher and I became friends
and he would come over my house after the class and show me cool stuff
to play like Santana and the Allman Brothers In Memory
of Elizabeth Reed.
to Tucson, Arizona in 1977. I started taking lessons from Steve Slim
Edelman. Slim was a former roadie for the Grateful Dead. He could
play a lot of different styles on guitar and also played banjo, fiddle,
bass and dobro. Slim showed me some stuff I was interested in from
the Hillbilly Jazz album that David Bromberg and Vasar Clemens
put out. The songs Panhandle Rag and Breakfast Feud
(of Benny Goodman and Charlie Christian fame) were two of the songs
he showed me. Phil and I still love to play those songs. I wrote two
songs, Cant Handle That Rag and Food Fight
that are similar to those so we could play and record them without
infringing on any copyrights. Cant Handle That Rag
is the third song on our CD. I love that jumping, two step swing stuff.
I moved to Bisbee, Arizona in 1978. I was working in the co-op and
told a woman I worked with that I played guitar. The next day her
boyfriend comes in and asks me if I played the bass. I didnt,
but I said sure. I didnt have a bass. He said he
had a bass I could use and told me to come to his house for rehearsal.
I get to rehearsal and he drops jazz charts in front of me. So I was
playing bass and jazz for the first time simultaneously. We did Miles
Davis, Theolonius Monk, Herbie Hancock, stuff like that. I got fired
from that band because the leader said I played guitar better than
he did! A few months later I started playing guitar and bass, and
singing in a country/reggae/Grateful Dead band called Crystal Pickins.
That was a lot of fun.
I moved back to Tucson and entered the University of Arizona School
of Music. I received a bachelors degree in jazz and contemporary media.
I majored in guitar and minored in voice. The guitar professor at
the University of Arizona was Larry Munson. He was a great player
and a cool guy. He played jazz and classical and could sight-read
anything. He left the university because he was offered a position
at USC teaching in the commercial/jazz guitar program. Larry was replaced
by Thomas Patterson. Tom is all classical and built a very strong
classical guitar program. Tom brought in some excellent graduate students
and one of them, Rick Hetland, had some jazz background. Rick was
assigned the jazz guitar students left over from the Larry Munson
era, and Phil and I both studied with him.
I wound up working in Slims music store giving lessons and covering
the counter. Slim taught me some mandolin and banjo. Phil moved to
Tucson and he and I did some bluegrass gigs with Phil on guitar, me
on mandolin, and Slim on fiddle, banjo, and dobro. Phil and I started
a group called Antelope that is similar to Reno del Mar.
We played as a duo and as a quartet. We played a lot of jazz standards,
but also did some originals. We still play some of the songs we wrote
back then including The Bohemian which is on our CD.
I played guitar and sang in a reggae/ska band in the late 70s
and early 80s called the Uptones. We were voted Tucsons
band of the year in 1982. We did covers and originals. I wrote seventy
five percent of the original stuff we did. I played my Gibson SG through
various Fender amps, with an Ibanez AD202 analog processor for delay,
chorus and flanging. The AD 202 is a great analog processor with nice
chorus, delay and flange sounds.
After the reggae band, I dropped out of the music scene for a while.
I still played, but not professionally. I bought some home recording
gear and continued to write and record my tunes. Phil moved to Boston
and was attending Berklee School of Music. Phil and I and a singer/songwriter
pianist/guitarist named Chris Scelfo would send tapes to each other.
We had compatible gear and could add parts and send them back and
forth. It was cassette so it was hissy, but we did some good collaborating.
I went back east every summer and would spend time with Phil jamming
and hanging out.
I had a rock/country trio for a few years called Wreckage. I played
bass and guitar and sang. It was great exploring the power trio combo.
You have to fill up the sound more as a guitarist and a bassist when
there are just the three instruments. I started accumulating more
guitars and amps during this time. I got a Jackson/Charvel Model 1A
with active EMG pickups and a real Floyd Rose system for a hundred
fifty dollars. I just sold this guitar. I changed out the pickups
for some Carvin high output passive pickups. They are very versatile.
I had a Marshall Jubilee head that I played through two 4-12 vintage
Vox cabinets with old Celestion speakers in it. That set-up sounded
huge. I traded one of the cabinets and the Jubilee for a new reissue
Fender Vibro-Verb. The Vibroverb is a great amp, but I wish I still
had that Jubilee.
Phil moved back to Tucson around 10 years ago. I wasnt playing
much at that time. He gave me a G&L Broadcaster to inspire me
to play more. It worked. We started Reno del Mar around 4 years ago.
Its pretty amazing to be playing music with the same person
for over 35 years. I feel really lucky, especially since it is Phil
who is a very solid dude and an excellent musician.
The name of this band and the CD is Reno Del Mar. It was recorded
at my home studio, Undisclosed Location in Tucson, AZ. The players
were Mark Wilsey (co-leader) on mostly nylon string guitar, some dobro,
some electric baritone, me, Phil Lipman on steel string acoustics,
Jeff Rodenkirch on basses, Dave Walton on drums and percussion. It
was recorded analog to a two inch tape machine. We play live a lot,
and these arrangements reflect years of collaboration and tones and
arrangements we have been working on for a long time. We didn't use
MW: I have a Ramirez model 2CWE classical guitar that I used
for most of my parts on the CD. It has a great sound and plays nicely.
Mike Lennon set it up. When we perform live, I use a Taylor NS32CE.
This guitar has the smaller scale neck and narrower fret board width
like a flamenco guitar. I play it through a Fishman Aura Imaging processor,
Boss tremolo and delay pedals, and lastly a Boss volume pedal. This
signal is sent to a Fishman SA220 Solo Performance tower. The SA220
is awesome. Nice balanced sound with a surprising amount of low end.
PL: I primarily played two Martins which belong to an old friend of
mine. I had them rebuilt here in Tucson by Rainbow Guitars. They were
in unplayable condition. One, which is on the album cover, is a 1930's
small-body 00-17 and the bigger-sounding instrument is an incredible
1937 D-18. I use D'Addario strings. When playing live I use a Sunrise
pickup and pre-amp into the Fishman SA220.
MW: Phil and I originally connected musically around a fondness
for the Grateful Dead, and particularly the Bears Choice
album. We played bluegrass, blues, folk, etc. together. Early on,
people like David Bromberg, John Prine, Charlie Daniels, The Allman
Brothers, Bruce Springsteen, Johnny Winter, Jimi Hendrix, Crosby Stills
Nash & Young, and Joni Mitchell permeated our listening. As I
mentioned earlier, a very influential album was Hillbilly Jazz.
Later, as our knowledge grew and our chops got better, we started
playing and writing jazz stuff. We started listening to Miles Davis,
John Coltrane, Charlie Parker, Charles Mingus and Theolonius Monk.
The guitar playing of Django Reinhardt and Charlie Christian were
both very expanding. More recently, the playing of John Scofield,
Bill Frisell, Jim Hall and Martin Taylor have influenced us.
Living in the Southwest USA, there is a lot of Mexican guitar music
all over the radio and at various live events. Traveling to Spain,
I heard flamenco guitarists in venues where everybody stopped talking
when the music started
what a concept! I like what Rodrigo y
Gabriella do with mixing flamenco and rock. Gabriella blows my mind
with her rhythm playing. There may be other people who play rhythm
like her, but I havent heard them. I love her attitude. They
make so music music and so much sound for just two people playing
guitars. Of course they play their guitars like drums some of the
PL: We play several nights a month here in Tucson, AZ. We
have been fortunate to have been able to play at some of the best
local venues, including Kingfisher, Bluefin, Hacienda Del Sol, Maynards,
the Frog and Firkin and many private events. We have over 100 new
songs that we're itching to record, and we hope to have something
done by the end of the year.
Mark: Our website is: www.renodelmar.com
It was designed by Nimbit who also did our CD design, MySpace page,
Facebook page, and CD duplication. You can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org