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Jim Duffy: Home

Hello, this is Three Dots Music, the home base for the musical activities of Jim Duffy.


New: Some music tracks are now available on YouTube, on the 3dotsmusic channel. 


Untitled No. 40 (2015)

"Untitled No. 40 (2015)," by Brooklyn-based artist Linda Kamille Schmidt.

It's flashe and graphite on mylar. And it will appear on the front cover of my next CD, which will be called "Pale Afternoon," and which will be released this calendar year on Three Dots Records.

This will be my third full-length release of instrumental pop tunes. "Pale Afternoon" was recorded, mixed and masteed from the spring of 2012 through the fall of 2015, though in relatively few studio sessions. "I made it very quickly, over a long period of time," says Duffy, who is also myself.

The record started with tracks from a core group composed of Jim Duffy on Wurlitzer electric piano, Dennis Diken, world-famous as founding and current member of the Smithereens, on drums, Paul Page, who tours the world with Ian Hunter, on bass, and Lance Doss, who has toured and recorded with John Cale, among many others, on guitars and lap steel.

"Pale Afternoon" also features Kevin Kendrick on vibraphone, Michael Evans on percussion, Sam Kulik on trombone and Claire Daly on baritone sax.

The album was recorded and mixed by Greg Duffin and Mario Viele at Cowboy Technical Services, Brooklyn, NY. Mastered by Scott Hull at Masterdisk.

"Pale Afternoon" has 11 original tunes of three or four minutes each. The music is in a style similar to the first two records - what I call "moody and bouncy instrumental music." The difference is that although the music remains simple in conception and construction, it has developed and evolved. It's more harmonically adventurous, and more of the tunes count to six instead of four or eight. More to the point, I believe each tune gets to a more specific feeling. As Lennie Tristano said, music should come from the id, not the ego.

My heartfelt thanks go out to everyone who participated. There's not really any such thing as a "solo" record. Even if you're a recluse and keep to yourself, you need help from a lot of people in order to realize your musical inklings and make them available for the world at large.

"Pale Afternoon" will be officially released, to the extent such a micro-release is "official," in January 2016. I expect to have copies of the CD - artwork and all - by mid-November. And I'll soon be posting previews on the Music page. 


Latest blog post: Embracing Imperfection: No one has ever made a perfect album, and no one ever will.


Duffy Bway cropped


(Jim Duffy on Broadway, 2014. Photo by Amy L. Anderson)


Thank you for visiting, and welcome. To hear some tunes, please visit the expanded Music page.

To read the latest posts and essays -- and to comment -- please go to the Blog section. For updates on upcoming events, please see the Calendar pageTo buy CDs or downloads, please go here.


Jim Duffy -- that's me -- is a New York-based composer, keyboard player, session musician and occasional electric bassist and melodica player

Mostly I focus on composing, recording and performing original instrumental music, usually playing a mid-1960s Wurlitzer electric piano. My first album of original tunes -- I still call them albums -- was "Side One," which was released in 2004. My second album, "Mood Lit," was released in 2009. The third installment is in the works.

In the 1980s, I co-founded and played bass guitar in the Boston band Rods and Cones, which was known for quirky grooves and for the unbridled performances of singer Chris Kelley.

In the 1990s, in New York, I co-founded and played keyboard for the band Martin's Folly, along with singer and guitarist Chris Gray. We explored many forms of 20th century U.S. music.

In the oughts, I started recording original instrumental tracks, playing Wurlitzer electric piano and acoustic piano along with Dennis Diken on drums, Paul Page on bass and Lance Doss on guitar and lap steel. This group sometimes performs live as the Jim Duffy Combo.

Instrumental tunes are the main thing right now. A third full-length studio recording is in the works, plus some live performances.

And I'm part of a group called Mitra Sumara. We perform Persian pop music from the pre-revolutionary Iran, music from the 1960s and 1970s.

Mitra Sumara is led by Yvette Perez on vocals and features Peter Zummo on trombone, Sam Kulik on bass guitar, Julian Maile on Guitar, Jim Duffy on keyboard, Michael Evans on percussion and Brian Geltner on drums.

I have also played on records by the Bottle Rockets, Sour Jazz, Greg Trooper, Reid Paley, the Fleshtones, Speedball Baby, Florence Dore, Eric "Roscoe" Ambel, Joe Flood, the Damnwells, Jim Koeppel, Will Rigby and many others. And I have performed on stage with rock and roll pioneer Freddy "Boom Boom" Cannon, rockabilly queen Wanda Jackson and many others.

Meanwhile, I've been composing and recording the next full-length release of instrumental tunes. Also, playing some acoustic piano.

Again, thanks for visiting. Please have a look around, and a listen.


The instrument of the future:  

Hohner melodica


Assorted posts and essays:

Embracing Imperfection: No one has ever made a perfect album, and no one ever will.

Recent and Upcoming Live Music Events: Let's listen to stuff that's way further out than what we ourselves do. 

"Low-Tech Notes": Why the melodica will prevail in the long run.

Notes on Composing: Description of an inefficient but inevitable working method.

Grafitti From 1976, Newly Exposed: An archeological find and photo essay on the New York Harbor waterfront.

Recent Listening: Mary Lou Williams, 801 Live, John Zorn

Opus No. 3 Is Under Way, and you're the first to know!

Random Notes and Updates: What this post lacks in flash, it makes up for in sincerity.

Non-Expression in Music: Does this essay make my ass look pretentious?

Rocking With Wanda: Rock and roll pioneer Wanda Jackson is finally getting her due. Here are some reminiscences from my brief stint as Wanda's piano player.

Last Call at the Lakeside Lounge: Notes on a rocking little venue's 15-year run, and its closing.

Notes From Zuccotti Park: Observations from a nearby office building.

Thank You, Burt Bacharach: Let's appreciate this man while we still have him.

While You Were Out: Experimental activities of a confidential nature.

The House of Hits: How my old Boston band Rods and Cones met a high-rolling starmaker, with world-shaking consequences -- but not for us!

Herm, Part 1: Time-traveling to a Saturday afternoon in 1981 when we tried to write an album.

The Early Rods and Cones, 1982: When you try to create something, you often end up with something quite different.

'Education in Love': Rods and Cones' greatest hit.

The Elliot Mouser Floating Blues Band: Thirty years after this band blew my mind, I started playing some gigs with them...

Play Me, I'm Yours: Sixty pianos, outdoors in New York, courtesy of British artist Luke Jerram. Here's a hands-on report.

Frank, Before and After, 1989. Here are some non-musical notes from a strange, outlier period.

Notes on Hank Jones (1918-2010): He was a jazz pianist with a magic touch and a graceful manner to match.

Dealing With the Dead, Part 1 and Part 2: Is it possible to hear the Grateful Dead without absolutely loving them or despising them?



Valeria, LED display

Photo by Valeria Hermida in San Isidro, Argentina.



To see recent video of Mitra Sumara performing at Le Poisson Rouge in New York, click here.



Here is a clip of Mitra Sumara performing at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 12, 2012:




To see the entire concert of Mitra Sumara at the Kennedy Center, click here.