Featuring Edward Ratliff (accordion, cornet, trumpet, trombone, celeste, programming) with
Michaël Attias (alto and baritone saxophone)
Beth Schenck (alto and soprano saxophone)
Doug Wieselman (e-flat clarinet)
Nate Radley (acoustic and electric guitar)
Wes Matthews (piano and Hammond B3)
Sean Conly (acoustic and electric bass)
Take Toriyama (drums).
produced by Edward Ratliff
recorded at Kaleidoscope Sound [union city nj], except track 12, at Good and Evil [brooklyn]
mixed by Good and Evil [brooklyn]
mastered by Scott Hull at Masterdisk [nyc]
All compositions by Edward Ratliff (strudelmedia publishing BMI)
contact: strudelmedia.com / edwardratliff.com
A few notes on those moments before:
I love going to the movies—the images, scenes, situations and emotional states I find there (and in the movie-like parts of my life) really inspire me.
I also think about the idea of musical characters. I once attended a master class given by the pianist András Schiff, and while he was working with a student on a Mozart sonata, he suggested that she look at the different melodic lines in the piece as characters in an opera, each with their own personality, motivation and relationship to each other, all moving the story forward in their own way.
My life in New York City also plays a large part in my music, and not just because I have access to some of the finest musicians on the planet. I ride my bike everywhere I go and the great thing is that one can travel through a vast array of diverse cultures within minutes. For example, I can be hanging in Chinatown learning Cantonese names for vegetables and then 10 minutes later be discussing accordion tuning with Italian craftsmen in Midtown.
Although I don’t generally like airports, I’m always happy to arrive at the one in Barcelona. I especially enjoy going to the bar as soon as I arrive and having a café cortado (espresso with a little bit of milk). It’s a fine mood elevator, and that joyous, practically ecstatic feeling I get from the experience is the inspiration for this piece.
End of an Era
Something happened. Later, I was down in my studio on 3rd Street with my accordion and thinking, “things are different now....”
This is a study in repetition, reduced materials, and the use of a smaller-than-usual ensemble for me. I very much like the instrumentation of this trio, and look forward to doing more with it.
Movin’ On Over
Few people today know the ‘70s television show “Movin’ On Over” — a ground-breaking multi-cultural experiment that American television was apparently not ready for. It was the U.S. debut of Bollywood film star Amitabh Bachchan playing an international superspy who tries to retire from the world of intrigue by moving with his family to Chicago and posing as simple vegetarian Indian restaurant owners (his son was played by the then 10-year-old Shahrukh Khan!). His peaceful life was interrupted each week, though, as his old colleagues from the CIA and Interpol (played by Karl Malden and Dirk Bogarde, with Ti Lung as the sidekick Fat Po) came to ask his help on “just one more” case. It’s too bad more people didn’t have the chance to see this fine program; due to an unfortunate warehouse fire, all that remains is this score for the theme music and a clip of the famous “tango erotica” scene (danced by Malden and Bogarde) that occasionally surfaces on the Internet.
I had a dream about my friend Limor, who used to ride around town on a Vespa. In this dream, Limor methodically plans a heist and then, in a burst of speed, escapes (on the Vespa) in an exciting chase along a mountainous coastal highway.
I had the opportunity to spend three weeks with Henry Threadgill at the Atlantic Center for the Arts, and it was a fantastic experience. During that time, Henry proposed a structure that one might use to write a piece of music, and this was my response.
Well-Dressed and Elegant
When I listen to the music of Johnny Hodges, I wonder: how can someone be so cool and so hot at the same time?
Leon’s Last Night
A love theme for Fallen Angels. The story is that Leon has been betrayed by his partner, and he knows it; but that doesn’t keep him from walking straight into the setup. He accepts it, because although he’s his own man, he just wants to be told where to go and what to do (he’s an assassin, by the way).
Funeral March in the style of Jean-Baptiste de Lully
A village band pays somber tribute to a respected colleague who is no more. This performance is dedicated to our drummer Take who tragically passed on to the other side a short time after this recording session.
March for a Lost Cause
I have a particular lost cause in mind, but please feel free to choose your own.
One of my favorite scenes in one of my favorite movies by one of my favorite directors is the famous shopping mall shoot-out in Johnnie To’s “The Mission.” The setting is Tsuen Wan Plaza in Hong Kong as it’s closing for the night. Brother Leung (a triad big brother) has just left a meeting. He’s apprehensive because someone wants him dead, and so he’s hired the top guys to protect him. In this film, Johnnie To drew from Kurosawa’s “Seven Samurai” and his ability in that film to capture the “movement within stillness.” (I think Michaël perfectly expresses the right feeling here with his alto saxophone.) Thanks to Stephen Teo, the eminent Hong Kong film scholar, for letting me borrow this title (he originally coined the phrase “Kowloon Noir” in his book "Director in Action: Johnnie To and the Hong Kong Action Film").
Two figures share a tender waltz, little knowing or caring what lies in store for them.
— notes by edward ratliff