Mike Pachelli takes tribute tunes next level on “High Standards”


Guitarist Mike Pachelli is known for his eclectic approaches to music-making. His current project, “High Standards” came about when he asked a fellow musician, Tony Levin, about collaborating on a jazz song. The response? “Let’s do an entire album!” And thus, “High Standards” was born.

“High Standards” is a collection of 10 songs that includes the original composed by Pachelli, “Yardbird Blues.” The song features the legendary Keb’ Mo’.

“High Standards” has some upbeat songs that even though they were or originally peppy, that they maintain that feel as a guitar instrumental is somewhat surprising.

One of the not-to-be-missed tracks on the album is “When You’re Smiling.” The song opens the album and sets the tone for the songs to come.

A bit about Mike Pachelli

“High Standards” is Pachelli’s 18th album. Through his studies with Mike Pass, and years of playing in concert halls, night clubs and recording studios. Pachelli’s experience includes playing all over the US and Europe with a variety of and blues musicians.

Aside from playing, Pachelli is known for his technical acumen. Other musicians have noted his ability to understand and apply technical musical theories. Pachelli has also created YouTube videos in which he instructs millions of viewers about music theory. Pachelli also plays with a jazzy blues band, works as a sideman for prominent artists.

“When You’re Smiling” by Mike Pachelli

The song’s opening and continual guitar motif, is a shoulder-swaying set of notes. The full soundscape engages listeners. The song’s original feel and approach is there, even with Pachelli’s energized guitar taking over the lyrical line. For people who are familiar with the original will recognize the feel and the lyrics, even when they are played by a guitar. If a listener was not familiar with the song, maybe they wouldn’t be able to pick out the lyrics from the guitar’s notes. The soundscape is rounded out by the nimble bass and swinging drums.

The song has the feel of a romp, and listeners are taken along for the ride. And while the ending isn’t as abrupt as some, when the song ends, listeners will feel as though they have gone on a journey, albeit a brief one.

“High Standards” will be available Sept. 1, 2019.


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Dodie Miller-Gould is a native of Fort Wayne, Indiana who lives in New York City where she studies creative nonfiction at Columbia University. She has BA and MA degrees in English from Indiana University-Purdue University, Fort Wayne, and an MFA in Fiction from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Her research interests include popular music and culture, 1920s jazz, and blues, confessional poetry, and the rhetoric of fiction. She has presented at numerous conferences in rhetoric and composition, and creative writing. Her creative works have appeared in Tenth Muse, Apostrophe, The Flying Island, Scavenger's Newsletter and elsewhere. She has won university-based awards for creative work and literary criticism.

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