A letter to you, the Listener:
In spring of 2011, I intentionally worked with a singer for the first time which culminated in a performance at the Blue Note here in NYC. Although, at the time, it did not present itself to be of any major musical consequence for my explorations, the experience did linger in my musical mind.
During the summer of 2011, I was planning to record my original instrumental compositions in a quartet format but was strongly sidetracked by a creative impulse which jarred me into producing and recording my last album “A Thousand Summers”. It featured classic songs from the American Song Book and was my first album as a leader featuring a vocalist. This album led to situations where I worked with a number of different singers in performances and gave me further insight into the world of vocalists. Specifically, the strengths and weaknesses of their musicianship as compared to virtuoso instrumentalists. “A Thousand Summers” album was released February of 2012 and broke the National Jazz Radio Chart Top 10 peaking at #8. Quite a feat for an indie album competing with major label releases.
During the summer of 2012, I had a residency of sorts at a new club in Brooklyn. I had composed some new music and had a date in July where I was going to perform this new set of instrumental music in a quartet configuration of piano, bass, drums, and guitar. The usual fare in jazz and I was neither excited nor un-excited by this upcoming performance. Four days before this date, I received a friendly email from the singer I worked with in 2011 who was now back home in the U.K. This pleasant reminiscing of that experience at the Blue Note sparked me to see if I can find a singer four days before the gig.
As fate or luck would have it, the singer appeared right in front of me literally on my computer screen at that moment. And a quick look showed that she had recorded with my peers which piqued my interest further. So following my intuition, I decided to give it a chance. Long story short, we met on a Saturday discussing a bit about the music and she did the gig with me on Tuesday. I knew right away that she was the one for my music.
Through September and October of 2012, I was energized to write this new set of music for guitar and voice frontline backed by a “jazz” rhythm section. I set the recording session to be in December as I knew I wanted my longtime collaborator and friend, Gene Jackson to make the session. The rhythm section members came quite easily as bassist, Thomson Kneeland, and I have been successfully working together from even before “A Thousand Summers”. I knew with his precision and intellect, the bottom would be anchored and would be the perfect foil for Gene Jackson to growl and snarl on the drums but always in a musical manner and never getting in the way of the soloists. David Berkman and I had met some years back and actually did a handful of gigs together in 2008. I remember thinking back then – David sounds great and he should be on an album with my music. The fact that I put out that positive energy back in 2008 seems to have manifested itself rather nicely on this album.
The music on this album is all original and highly personal. Thana composed “Fractica” along with writing the lyrics for my “Fractal Attraction”. She seems to have ESP as her composition fit perfectly with the rest of the music on the album. I can say that this album is perhaps the most auto-biographical of all of my albums. But the beauty of music is in the abstract. So I will let you, the listener, to take your own journey as you listen to this set of music. And there, we shall meet again and again.