MP3 Garrison Elliott - I´ve Got My Fingers Crossed
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12 MP3 Songs
JAZZ: Jazz Vocals, JAZZ: Swing/Big Band
A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Garrison Elliott's history as an artist and musician is a smorgasbord of creative twists and turns. An accomplished singer/multi-instrumentalist/recording engineer/arranger/producer, at various points in his life he has also been a puppeteer; an actor; a teacher; a model; a singer of Eastern Onion telegrams; a law student; a busker and more. His newly-released "I've Got My Fingers Crossed" is a brief glimpse into an extraordinarily interesting and complex life.
The youngest of 3 children, Elliott's childhood years were not exactly middle-of-the-road, heartland American. His father, Archie, was a dedicated amateur puppeteer and 2-time president of Puppeteers of America. As early as he can remember, Garrison was a full fledged member of the family's puppet troupe, and by the age of 7 he had begun recording sound effects, music and dialog for their performances.
But all was not puppets and strings during the young Elliott's formative years. His mother, a pianist, nurtured her son's interest in music, starting him on piano lessons when he was ten. She later enrolled him in the Cleveland Institute of Music, where he studied clarinet and later, saxophone and flute. By high school, Garrison's interest in performing had shifted away from puppetry, fully to music, and since it was clear that woodwinds had no place in rock and roll, he added yet another instrument, the bass guitar, playing in a succession of local and regional bands.
High school completed, Garrison headed for California to become a famous musician. Though the experience left him with plenty of stories to tell, fame wasn't in the picture so the 20-year-old returned to his puppeteering roots, signing on with Scollins Marionettes of Cleveland. Behind the wheel of his own fire-engine red Scollins Marionettes circus truck he hit the road with his one-man marionette show, dropping the stage on the side of the truck and performing at major malls and fairgrounds throughout the United States and Canada. Three years later when Scollins landed a contract to produce the national tour of Hanna-Barbera's popular "Banana Splits", Elliott was tagged to lead the troupe and play the part of "Fleegle". Twelve months later, the TV series was cancelled and the tour ended, an event Garrison interpreted as an opportunity to once again pursue his love for music.
A five-year stint in Nashville with country rock band, The Nashville HooHa's, was followed by two years at Berklee College of Music studying Arranging and Composition, which was followed by two years of college in Gainesville, Florida where he briefly - VERY briefly - thought of becoming a lawyer. Coming to his senses, our hero fled Gainesville in his ancient, dented and rusting green Ford station wagon and hit the highway, headed for the West Coast. Though determined to make his mark on L.A.'s music scene, Garrison's appointment with fame was sidetracked when his aging chariot chugged to a halt on the side of the road in Atlanta. A phone call to good friend and well-known puppeteer, Pegg Callahan, changed his plans permanently.
For the next six years, Elliott and Pegg partnered in the popular adult and children's puppet duo, "Mr. Arpeggio and Pegg's Puppets". He performed the role of Mr. Arpeggio and recorded soundtracks for their performances. As he developed his production skills, he began to produce projects for others, including a local radio commercial for Eastern Onion Singing Telegrams. That commercial developed into a national campaign, and Bert Elliott Sound grew into a thriving audio post production company, providing services for corporate clients such as Coca Cola, IBM, Bell South, and Delta Airlines. He also maintained a busy performing life as a musician, believing that by doing so he could successfully straddle the divide between corporate and creative. He performed with a variety of club bands throughout the region, and toured with the Classics IV and Ben E. King. But in 1991, needing a creative kick in the pants... and hungry for something more than his comfortable Atlanta life could give him... Garrison decided to take the leap and live his lifelong dream to play music in the streets of Europe. So with a pack on his back and a saxophone under his arm, he headed for Paris.
Less than a month into his travels, his perspective on life was permanently skewed by a chance encounter. Resting outside a train station in Copenhagen after an all night trip from Amsterdam, he looked up to see the derby-hat-and-feather-boa-wearing, over-the-shoulder-washtub-bass-carrying Danny Fitzgerald, Europe's most famous "busker", or street musician. Captivated by the man's vagabond panache, Garrison grabbed his pack and followed, introducing himself to the diminutive, yet larger than life character. Fitzgerald was headed for yet another afternoon of street theater with "The Lost and Wandering Blues and Jazz Band", a ragtag group of performers he led. In less than an hour, Elliott was a busker in good standing, welcomed as a new member of The Lost and Wandering Blues and Jazz Band... and forever changed.
Elliott remained in Europe another 2 months, and has since returned numerous times to renew his busking credentials with Fitzgerald and company. He credits the leader of The Lost and Wandering Blues and Jazz Band with introducing him to many of the songs on "I've Got My Fingers Crossed", and inspiring him to complete the project.
With the release of his debut CD, Garrison Elliott pays tribute to an era of timeless, uniquely American music. Eleven of the twelve tracks are classics... though some are more familiar than others. Only the final track on the CD is an original Garrison Elliott/Marty "The Wolf" Kappelman song. Listening to this music, the word, "honest" comes to mind. No posing. No ego. Simple, straightforward delivery. Impeccable performances. This is music that can be appreciated at any level. A student of music? You'll listen long and hard to find better musicianship. An engineer? The recording could be used for a master class. A romantic? Turn down the lights, kick off your shoes and invite your honey to join you on the couch.
Garrison Elliott is a work in progress, with a story to tell. You may never know all the details, but read carefully between the lines of "I've Got My Fingers Crossed", and you may catch a glimpse of an interesting, complicated life few of us have the talent... or the courage... to live.
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