Paul Pesco

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Paul Pesco
Pesco in June 2013
Pesco in June 2013
Background information
Born (1959-05-13) May 13, 1959 (age 65)
Canandaigua, New York, U.S.
GenresPop, funk, jazz fusion
Occupation(s)Session musician, film score composer
Instrument(s)Guitar, bass guitar, keyboards

Paul Pesco (born May 13, 1959) is an American session guitarist, singer-songwriter, film score composer and record producer.


Pesco was born in Canandaigua, New York, to a Sicilian father (an opera singer and voice instructor) and Korean mother (an author).[1] The family lived for a time in Germany during Paul's youth before returning to New York.[1] He graduated from Northport High School in 1977.[2] As of November 2012, Pesco resides in Millbrook, New York, where he maintains a home recording studio.[3]

Beginning on the piano, Pesco would gradually build up a working proficiency with several different instruments before finding a natural fit with the guitar. He began seriously pursuing a career in music by working as a rehearsal technician at S.I.R. Studios, where he had brushes with numerous prominent artists. Having already played on some early sessions by a then-relatively unknown Madonna, Pesco was offered a position as a "utility man" (playing second guitar and keyboards) with Atlantic Starr on the band's 1982 tour, which would be his first prolific gig. Following this tour, Pesco was again recruited by Madonna to record on her self-titled debut album.[3]

Soon thereafter, Pesco joined up with the innovative techno funk group the System, performing on the band's studio albums as well as tours and becoming an instrumental part of launching the group's career. It was through his work with the System that he first came to the attention of the group Hall & Oates, with whom he would soon develop a long-term association.

These early gigs segued into future sessions with other high-profile artists, and his session career blossomed from there. He played on demos for disco artist Lourett Russell Grant. He became an in-demand session player throughout the 1980s and has remained one of the most sought-after session musicians into the present.

Meanwhile, Pesco had also maintained his working relationship with Madonna, having recorded and toured with her (the first album, songs "Lucky Star" and "Burning Up" as well as The Virgin Tour in 1985 and the Erotica album and subsequent Girlie Show World Tour in 1993). The Madonna demos on which he had played guitar prior to touring with Atlantic Starr initially secured her recording contract with Sire Records in the early 1980s, which have since been released as the Pre-Madonna album.[4]

Other highlights[edit]

In 1986, Pesco played on Steve Winwood's album Back in the High Life (on the song "The Finer Things") and on tour.

In 1989, Pesco released a solo album, Make It Reality, which featured himself on lead vocals, guitar, and often other instruments, backed by other session musicians.

In 1991, Pesco joined C+C Music Factory, creating the guitar parts for "Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now)", "Things That Make You Go Hmmm...", among many other songs.[5]

In 2001, he became musical director and guitarist for Jennifer Lopez, for her promotional tour and NBC music special. Pesco had worked with J-Lo in the studio, playing guitar on the song "Play" from her second album J.Lo.

In late 2002, he joined the house band for morning talk show The Wayne Brady Show on ABC. Around the same time, he worked on several film soundtracks including Around the Bend, Be Cool, Happy Feet and Robots with composer John Powell, the Brando documentary and the comedic short film, Basta Pasta with composer Andrea Morricone.

Pesco has also composed and performed on soundtracks for films such as Roxanne, Earth Girls Are Easy, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Encino Man, Wild Orchid, Coming to America, Fried Green Tomatoes, Boca and Tap.

In 2005, Pesco co-composed the musical score for the documentary film The Canary Effect from director Robin Davey.

Pesco has recorded and toured with Joan Baez.

He is a member and co-producer of John Blackwell's John Blackwell Project (4ever Jia album).

He is also a member of drummer Dave Weckl's group (Multiplicity album).

Association with Hall and Oates[edit]

Pesco was the lead guitarist and musical director of the rock and soul duo Hall & Oates.[6] He also performed the same role for Daryl Hall's successful reality music television program, Live from Daryl's House,[6] and toured with Hall's solo band.

H&O were aware of Pesco because of his studio track record with the System,[6] and also his prolific work with many other artists. Initially, that led to Pesco playing guitar on their Ooh Yeah! album in 1988. He joined Hall & Oates again in 1996 for the recording sessions and tour for the Marigold Sky album.

He remained with the band until 2001, when he began working with Jennifer Lopez.

In 2010, Pesco rejoined Hall & Oates upon the death of the band's longtime bassist, Tom "T-Bone" Wolk.[7] He remained with the band through 2013 and had a highly visible role during Live from Daryl's House broadcasts.[3]

On January 6, 2014, Pesco publicly acknowledged his departure from the Live from Daryl's House show and the Hall & Oates band. On his Facebook page, Pesco wrote, "I am no longer involved with LFDH or H&O ... I was replaced ... Not sure why ... Sorry that I couldn't be more informative."[8] He added, "No one is more disappointed than I am ... I loved being a part of LFDH."[9] He concluded, "Sometimes the tail wags the dog. I think Daryl and John made a decision based on misinformation and lies... It's a shame..."[10]

He appeared on June 26 at Summerfest 2014 in Milwaukee.

Gear / endorsements[edit]

Solo discography[edit]


  • Make It Reality (Sire), 1989


  • "Black Is Black" (Sire)
  • "I'm Hypnotized" (Sire)
  • "The Politics of Love" (Sire)[14]


Year Album Artist Role
2021 A Sailor from the moon (Mike Blum Remix) Lord feat. Begüm Günceler & Tom Hooker Guitar
2013 Sex, Love & Reggae Gyptian Guitar
2012 All of Me Estelle Guitar
2012 Kaleidoscope Dream Miguel Composer, Guitar
2012 The Crossing Sophie B. Hawkins Guitar
2011 Endless Planets Austin Peralta Mixing, producer
2011 Laughing Down Crying Daryl Hall Composer, Guitar (Acoustic), Guitar (Electric), Photography, producer
2011 My Life II... The Journey Continues (Act 1) Mary J. Blige Guitar
2010 By Request (album) Paulo Gonzo Guitar
2010 Sacred Journey of Ku-Kai Vol. 4 Kitaro Guitar (Acoustic), Guitar (Electric)
2009 Do What You Want, Be What You Are: The Music of Daryl Hall & John Oates Daryl Hall & John Oates Composer
2009 The Collection Whitney Houston Guitar
2009 The Element of Freedom Alicia Keys Guitar (Acoustic), Guitar (Electric)
2009 The End: A New Beginning John Krondes Guitar (Electric)
2008 Greatest Hits (Steel Box Collection) Cyndi Lauper Main Personnel
2008 Original Album Classics Cyndi Lauper Main Personnel
2007 Jazz Club: Jazz for the Road Guitar (Electric)
2007 Sacred Journey of Ku-Kai Vol. 3 Kitaro Guitar (Electric)
2006 Fresh and Furious: Hip Hop's Beginning Grandmaster Flash Drum Programming, Guitar
2006 Happy Feet Original Soundtrack Guitar
2006 Reflections (A Retrospective) Mary J. Blige Guitar
2006 Spiritual Garden Kitaro Guitar, Main Personnel
2005 Abdel Wright Abdel Wright Guitar, Main Personnel
2005 Multiplicity Dave Weckl Guitar, Member of Attributed Artist
2005 Robots Original Score John Powell Bagpipes
2005 Sounds of Life: A Musical Journey for Childbirth and Beyond Guitar
2005 The Essential Daryl Hall & John Oates Daryl Hall & John Oates Composer, lyricist
2005 X-Periment/Pleasure Seekers The System Composer, Guitar
2004 Seldom Blues Alexander Zonjic Guest Artist, Guitar, Main Personnel
2004 Ultimate Daryl Hall + John Oates Daryl Hall & John Oates Composer
2003 Do It for Love Daryl Hall & John Oates Composer, Guitar (Acoustic)
2003 Live in Concert Daryl Hall & John Oates Composer
2003 Sacred Journey of Ku-Kai Kitaro Guitar (Electric), Slide Guitar
2003 Sophistication Grady Nichols Guitar, Guitar (Rhythm), Main Personnel, Soloist
2002 O2 O-Town Guest Artist, Guitar (Acoustic), Guitar (Electric)
2002 Duboc Carol Duboc Guitar
2002 Groovology Gerald Albright Guest Artist, Guitar (Electric)
2002 VH1 Behind the Music: The Daryl Hall and John Oates Collection Daryl Hall & John Oates Composer
2001 Ballads Mary J. Blige Guitar
2001 Dirty Little Secret Stella Soleil Guest Artist, Guitar
2001 Hypnotic Paul Taylor Guitar, Main Personnel
2001 J.Lo Jennifer Lopez Guitar
2001 Love Session Silk Guest Artist, Guitar
2001 MYOB Deborah Gibson Guitar
2001 The Very Best of Miki Howard Miki Howard Guitar, Main Personnel
2000 Against All Odds Take 5 Guitar
2000 Another Rosie Christmas Rosie O'Donnell Guitar
2000 Love Songs Najee Guitar
2000 Movimiento perpetuo Sentidos Opuestos Guitar
2000 Tamar Tamar Braxton Guitar
2000 X K-Ci & JoJo Guitar
1999 G Gerald Levert Guitar
1999 Mary Mary J. Blige Guitar
1999 On the 6 Jennifer Lopez Guitar
1999 Smoke This Lynch Mob Engineer, Guest Artist, Guitar, Keyboards, producer, Vox Organ
1999 The Game Chico DeBarge Guitar
1999 Tonight Silk Guitar
1998 All the Colors Sonny Southon Guest Artist, Guitar
1998 For Art's Sake Art Porter Jr. Guitar
1998 Pre-Madonna Madonna Guitar
1998 Midnight Jeff Lorber Guitar
1997 Forever More Charito Guitar, Percussion
1997 Marigold Sky Daryl Hall & John Oates Guitar
1996 Billy Mann Billy Mann Guitar (Electric), Sitar
1996 Ladae! Ladae! Guitar
1996 Second Wind Herb Alpert Guest Artist, Guitar
1996 The Craft Guitar
1996 Women: Live from Mountain Stage Guitar, Vocals (Background)
1995 Faith Faith Evans Unknown Contributor Role
1995 Let's Go Bang Jennifer Love Hewitt Guitar (Electric)
1995 Ring Them Bells Joan Baez Dobro, Guitar, Vocals
1995 Roberta Roberta Flack Guitar (Acoustic), Guitar (Electric)
1995 The Finer Things Steve Winwood Guitar
1995 Your Heart's in Good Hands Al Green Guitar
1994 Always & Forever Eternal Guitar, Sitar
1994 Cindy Mizelle Cindy Mizelle Guitar
1994 My Life Mary J. Blige Guitar
1994 Undercover Art Porter Jr. Guitar, Guitar (Electric), Wah Wah Guitar
1994 Vive en mí Manuel Mijares Guitar
1994 West Side Stories Jeff Lorber Guitar (Rhythm), Wah Wah Guitar
1993 The Colour of My Love Celine Dion Guitar
1993 Music Box Mariah Carey Guitar
1993 21 Really Cool Songs Sugar Beats Musician, Unknown Contributor Role
1993 A Matter of Time Vertical Hold Guitar
1993 L.A. Blues Authority Volume II: Glenn Hughes – Blues Glenn Hughes Guitar
1993 Call Me Nightlife Nokko Guitar
1993 Don't Look Back Al Green Guitar
1993 I'm No Angel Carole Davis Bass, composer, engineer, Guitar, producer, Vocals (Background)
1993 Magical Duos Saxophone
1993 Nick Scotti Nick Scotti Guitar
1993 The Donna Summer Anthology Donna Summer Guitar
1992 Celine Dion Celine Dion Guitar
1992 Buffy the Vampire Slayer Original Soundtrack Guitar, Keyboards
1992 Cool Bob James Guest Artist, Guitar (Rhythm)
1992 Deeper and Deeper Madonna Guitar
1992 Encino Man Original Soundtrack Guitar, Programming
1992 Erotica Madonna Guitar
1992 Exposé Exposé Guitar
1992 Greatest Remixes Vol. 1 Clivillés & Cole Guitar, Vocals
1992 Just an Illusion Najee Guitar
1992 Live Patti Austin Guitar
1992 Pocket City Art Porter Jr. Guitar
1992 Sin Red Valeria Lynch Guitar
1992 Sofia Shinas Sofia Shinas Guitar
1992 Time for Love Freddie Jackson Guitar
1992 Tyler Tyler Collins Guitar, Guitar (Acoustic)
1991 Aidalai Mecano Guest Artist
1991 Different Story Deborah Blando Guitar
1991 Emotions Mariah Carey Guitar
1991 Just One Night Samantha Fox Guitar
1991 Mistaken Identity Donna Summer Guitar, Guitar (Acoustic)
1991 No More Games/The Remix Album New Kids on the Block Unknown Contributor Role
1991 Ricca Ricca Guitar
1991 Victims Steel Pulse Guitar
1991 What Comes Naturally Sheena Easton Guitar
1990 Mariah Carey Mariah Carey Guitar
1990 Unison Celine Dion Guitar
1990 1990 David Rudder Composer
1990 Contribution Mica Paris Guitar
1990 Gonna Make You Sweat C+C Music Factory Guitar
1990 Make the Difference Tracie Spencer Guitar
1990 Anything Is Possible Debbie Gibson Guitar
1990 Swingin' Dino Guest Artist, Guitar
1990 Wild Orchid Original Soundtrack Associate Producer, composer, producer
1989 24/7 Dino Guitar
1989 A Night to Remember Cyndi Lauper Guitar
1989 Desert Wind Ofra Haza Guitar
1989 Home Stephanie Mills Guitar
1989 Master of the Game James "J.T." Taylor Guitar
1989 Passion in the Heart Shirley Lewis Guitar
1989 Raw Alyson Williams Guest Artist, Guitar
1989 Riverdance Peter Moffitt Guitar, Guitar (Acoustic), Guitar (Electric)
1989 So Happy Eddie Murphy Guitar
1988 CK Chaka Khan Guitar
1988 Roll with It Steve Winwood Guitar
1987 Don't Disturb This Groove The System Guest Artist, Guitar
1987 Finer Things in Life Chuck Stanley Guitar
1987 Never Never Land Simon F. Guitar (Electric)
1987 Scars of Love TKA Guitar
1987 The Hunger Michael Bolton Guitar
1987 Whitney Whitney Houston Guitar
1986 Come Share My Love Miki Howard Guitar
1986 Back in the High Life Steve Winwood Guitar
1986 One Step Closer Gavin Christopher Guitar, Keyboards
1986 Destiny Chaka Khan Guitar, Guitar (Electric)
1986 Dial My Number Pauli Carman Guitar
1986 Heartbeat Don Johnson Bass, Guitar, Guitar (Acoustic)
1986 Hot Together The Pointer Sisters Guitar
1986 Inside Out Philip Bailey Composer
1986 Never Felt So Good James Ingram Guitar
1986 Souvenirs Jenny Burton Guitar
1986 While the City Sleeps... George Benson Guitar
1985 Chillin' The Force M.D.'s Drum Programming, Guitar
1985 Everybody's Crazy Michael Bolton Guitar
1985 How Could It Be Eddie Murphy Guitar
1985 Pleasure Seekers The System Composer, Guitar
1985 Street Called Desire René & Angela Guest Artist, Guitar
1985 They Said It Couldn't Be Done Grandmaster Flash Additional Personnel, Drum Programming, Guitar
1985 Love Games Evan Rogers Guitar
1984 Chinese Wall Philip Bailey Composer
1984 I Feel for You Chaka Khan Guitar
1984 Let Me Be the One Angela Bofill Composer, Drum Programming, Guitar
1984 Step By Step Jeff Lorber Bass, Guitar
1984 X-Periment The System Guitar, Primary Artist
1983 Doin' It My Way Howard Johnson Guitar
1983 Madonna (album) Madonna Guest Artist, Guitar


  1. ^ a b Waugh, Lisa. [ Paul Pesco – Musician Extra rice Archived October 12, 2013, at the Wayback Machine,, August 18, 2011 (accessed January 31, 2016).
  2. ^ Paul Pesco page on, post dated March 21, 2013 at 2:19 pm (accessed January 31, 2016)
  3. ^ a b c Paul Pesco Sits Down with AMS – Paul Pesco AMS Interview Retrieved April 1, 2014.
  4. ^ "Biography". Jango. Retrieved November 11, 2013.
  5. ^ "C+C Music Factory Biography". Billboard. Retrieved December 12, 2013.
  6. ^ a b c Waugh, Lisa. "Paul Pesco – Musician Extraordinaire". Rock World Magazine. Archived from the original on October 12, 2013. Retrieved November 11, 2013.
  7. ^ Baltin, Steve. "Daryl Hall Finds Happiness in a 'Very F-ed Up World'". Rolling Stone. Retrieved December 12, 2013.
  8. ^ Paul Pesco post, January 6, 2014 at 6:52 am (retrieved January 31, 2016)
  9. ^ Paul Pesco post, January 6, 2014 at 7:45 am (retrieved January 31, 2016)
  10. ^ Paul Pesco post, January 6, 2014 at 4:47 pm (retrieved January 31, 2016)
  11. ^ "Pod X3 Live: I'm a believer!". Line6. Retrieved November 11, 2013.
  12. ^ "Paul Pesco". Fishman Pickups. Archived from the original on June 6, 2013. Retrieved November 11, 2013.
  13. ^ "Paul Pesco". K for Musicians. QSC Audio Products. Retrieved November 11, 2013.
  14. ^ Paul Pesco- "The Politics of Love" single Retrieved December 21, 2013.

External links[edit]