|George Duke, a great musician and a nice guy|
|What the screen looks like for Mainstage|
The editing capabilities are incredible. You can layer, split, transpose, add effects, tweak, and even set the tuning as you like. The ease of editing within the computer is so much easier than on a keyboard. And you can add so many sounds, and create your own much easier. Additionally, you can run audio through Mainstage and use the effects for maybe a real guitar, or a real Rhodes.
I've been using a laptop for synths for many years; I probably first attempted it with Lonnie Plaxico's band. I then started using it regularly for my Mad Science trio; I used it to augment the Hammond B-3, or Nord Electro, which is a much more portable substitute for a real Hammond. Buster Williams asked me to bring my set up many times, and I also used it for a tour with Lenny White's band. I think one of the reasons Jack DeJohnette asked me to join his band was because he wanted me to do some synth stuff.
I've never shied away from playing keyboards. And to be honest, I've never considered myself very good at it. There are players like Adam Holzman or Scott Kinsey who are really first call for that type of thing. But because I've tried to incorporate it into what I already can do, I think I've gotten some work that I might not have if I only billed myself as a "jazz pianist."
I sort of regret the fact that I missed the 70's and the real analog gear. But the cost and effort to play analog synths in working situations is a huge hassle. The amount of variety I've been able to get out of Mainstage would be impossible in the 70's. I'm hoping to get deeper inside the program and see what new sounds I can create in the future.