The Paul Hemmings Trio has teamed up with legendary avant garde saxophonist John Tchicai to record their inventive and original "Letter From America." The album features fresh interpretations of ten Hemmings originals that weave their way through an assortment of genres, moods, and soundscapes. The colorful rhythms of drummer Adam Issadore and the rock-solid bass lines of Gaku Takanashi complement Tchicai’s unmistakable tenor saxophone. Hemmings’ guitar playing echoes the genre-blending style which characterizes his compositions and he continues to employ the effects pedals and looping devices that have come to give his music its own distinct sound.
“As a kid living overseas I would listen to Alistair Cooke’s 'Letter From America' on the BBC World Service,” recalls Hemmings when asked about the album’s title. “His perspective as an expatriate reporting from an adopted country made an impression that I took back home with me. Now with the cultural climate in America post-9/11, it’s easy to feel like an outsider right here at home so this album is a kind of response, my own 'Letter From America.'”
Tchicai’s contributions lend an air of urgency to the album and his performance is breathtaking and masterful. He has been hailed as “a legend on two continents” and his saxophone has been heard alongside a who’s-who list of twentieth-century giants, from John Coltrane to John Lennon.
“Making this record was a sort of homecoming,” Hemmings says, “because in a sense my musical life began when I started playing in The Sound & Poetry Source, an experimental workshop group John was leading in Davis, CA when I was a student there in the mid-1990s.”
Their third recording on Leading Tone Records, "Letter From America" is the follow-up to The Paul Hemmings Trio’s critically acclaimed live recording of "Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (Live!)" in which The Trio performed a seamless reinterpretation of the revered Beatles album. Their debut record, "In & Out," was released in 2003 and featured saxophonist Eric Alexander.