JP Cervoni is an established session guitar player; he was born in Italy, and he has lived and worked in Los Angeles for over thirty years. As of late, he has released some interesting music and has been involved in remarkable projects, such as the reunion of The Babys, some productions with legendary drummer Simon Phillips, and a trio of music by Jimi Hendrix, with the original bass player from Buddy Miles band and Kofi Baker on drums (Ginger Baker’s son).
JP, how did you start your career?
Well, my first great gig was playing guitar in Buddy Miles’s band; that happened more than thirty years ago, and it was a blast, considering that Buddy played with Jimi Hendrix!…
That’s certainly uncommon! And, like Jimi, you are also left handed, right?
Yes, I am, and on top of that, I play a regular right handed guitar turned around, instead of a left handed instrument, and that looks quite unique… Between you and me, I think that’s one of the reasons why I think I originally got the gig.
I am sure you mainly got the guitar player spot because of the NOTES you played… In fact, in the past couple of decades you collaborated with a bunch of other great musicians in the Los Angeles area – do you want to tell us more about it?
Well, recently I released an album which testifies that. After over 30 years of work as a session player in the Los Angeles area, I collected some of the material I was called to play on, and put it together as a cohesive project. After finishing an album for a client, it has always been my habit to keep a copy of it, so basically I made a selection of tracks coming from different sources and remastered them to give them new life. I had lots of fun playing with people like bass player Marco Mendoza, drummer Vinnie Colaiuta, guitarist Scott Henderson and many others, so I wanted to celebrate that!
What was the challenge in doing that?
We had to do a good job in mastering in order to make them sound even, since they obviously came from very different recording medias.
Any episode in the album which you want to mention?
Ike Willis on the vocals and Albert Wing on saxophone, both from Frank Zappa’s band, on the track “Jazzmean,” the great Joey Heredia on drums, and on another tune Cleto Escobedo and Jeff Buckle, both top LA session players and old friends of mine.
And how about some guitar moment you’re particularly fond of?
I love playing blues, so in most if my solos you can feel that; in this song called “Sweet You” I play with a specific clean sound from top to end, in the style of Steve Ray Vaughan: that is an approach I really feel close to, trying to tell a whole story with just one sound…