~ Eli's music treads uncharted waters....he has the potential to be a formidable force in the evolution of Jazz! - Herbie Hancock
~ Kevin is all-encompassing, phenomenally so! - John Scofield
Liner Notes (by Doug Weiss) :
One of the things that has always fascinates me is the way Art perseveres even against long odds. Beethoven wrote his later works while being almost totally deaf. Olivier Messiaen wrote and performed his “Quartet for the End of Time” while in a concentration camp during the German occupation of France in World War two.
And there are many other less extreme examples, such as Miles Davis sketching the ideas for his classic recording “Kind of Blue” in a taxicab.
When inspiration strikes, certain kinds of people pay close attention. They drop what they are doing, block out all distraction and try to unravel the mystery that is presenting itself. These people are called Artists.
Eli Degibri and Kevin Hays, while on tour together with the Al Foster Quartet, started to feel this inspiration. After 21 nights of playing together, we all knew that we had that elusive yet fundamental quality of all great jazz music, “chemistry”.
This means each band member fully supporting the Leaders’ musical vision, without judgment or pre-conceived notions of what the Music was supposed to be.
Eli and Kevin began cooking up ideas for this duo project in the back of the 1988 Fiat Ducato Maxi Hymermobil that served as our tour bus. Some phrases of singing, often followed by laughter or earnest discussion, were heard from those riding up front. At sound checks, after we had our thing together, they might try a little tune or work out a phrase. Both seemed to always have their minds turning for an idea.
At the end of the tour Kevin booked the legendary Ton studio Bauer, and the result is the music you will soon hear. This recording catches both musicians with chops up, fully attuned to each other, open to the possibilities.
In a duo setting, the fact that there are fewer band members means that each musician has more responsibility. The Saxophone may solo, accompany, or even play the bass part; The Piano, already considered an Orchestra unto itself, must be treated with respect for the power it can wield.
Kevin’s harmonic shading, the total range with which he handles the instrument, as well as his legendary swing come shining through. He is free to utilize every nuance available from the dual instruments of mind and Steinway.
Eli loves to soar, to sing his truth out loud. This recording captures the remarkable breadth of this man’s music, from tender and sublime to fiery and raw.
The sound captured is remarkable in its quality; This is how a piano can sound when properly tuned, voiced, miked, and touched. The beauty of the Saxophone sound is unlike any I have heard recorded before. You hear every note, as well as the space surrounding the notes. I hope you enjoy this music as much as I. Tell your friends, this record is not to be missed!