In this article, I would like to draw your attention to an artist who, like Chiz Harris (see previous article), played a key role in the realization of the album The L.A. Project: musician (trumpetist and flugelhornist), composer and producer Tony Guerrero.
Tony Guerrero (born in 1966) started playing the trumpet at the age of 9. He soon started experimenting with various other instruments, including the clarinet, flute, saxophone, guitar and piano. He was hooked in no time, and decided to pursue a career in music. His high school and college years were full of self-study, lessons and self-propelled band projects. This was also the period in which he developed a love of jazz music. He frequently played in local jazz clubs and, with his band VISION, managed to get his first record deal with White Light Productions. His career really took off with the release of his first album TIARA in 1998 – with guest performances by artists including Grant Geissman, Phil Keaggy, Max Bennett and Merry Clayton. The following year, he reached an even wider audience when his next album Different Places became a big radio hit.
Apart from the many fabulous albums Tony has since released and contributed to as a musician, he has also made great strides as a songwriter and producer. He has produced a wide variety of albums, ranging from jazz to country and even rock music.
Being a deeply religious man, he has recently shifted his focus towards writing and producing his own Christian (pop) music. Tony Guerrero is very active as a musician for several charitable and non-profit organizations, particularly aimed at music programmes.
It is hard to imagine a bigger contrast than that between Tony, a serious, religious, talented and dedicated artist (like most of his – younger – generation) and our exuberant musical friend Chiz Harris, discussed in the previous article. Whereas Chiz, representative of the older generation, introduced us to the wild (out-of-control) sex, drugs and rock ‘n roll side of the L.A. music scene, Tony Guerrero lent a serious, business-like note to the project. He introduced us to many valuable contacts, was an incredibly invaluable partner in the process, and raised several of our songs to a higher level with his brilliant trumpet playing.
Although we really connected with Tony on a musical level, our different backgrounds (Him being deeply religious and Frank and I feeling more at home with the ‘party’ attitude of the older generation of musicians) sometimes led to conflicts. One passage from the song ‘Let’s Party’ (“…Oh good God, hit me, yes hit me”) put the relationship on edge. Fortunately, removing the Lord from the somewhat risqué verse eventually saved our friendship!
Despite our differences in background and attitude, I have a huge appreciation for Tony. A shared love of music transcends any difference of opinion! Tony Guerrero, an extraordinary musician, a valued friend and an essential link in my musical history!