The title song, "Chauncey Street," was written in the 1990's. My first band was a funk band called "The Whole Damn Family," led by Kevin Williams. I had to get off at the Chauncey St. station on the J train for our rehearsals. It wasn’t the safe neighborhood it is now. I made Kevin meet me at the station, and I wouldn’t go unless he was there. This song conjures up that time for me -- the excitement and energy of a neighborhood that was both scary and alluring.
"‘F’" It: Well, you know what that saying is. Sometimes in life you have to just go for it. It's a long tune, with several different feels, from funk to straight ahead and back.
"Wired" is a Latin jazz tune. It has a concise head and a wonderful groove.
"Without Struggle" is one of my favorites. The title alludes to the Frederick Douglas saying, "Without a struggle can be no progress." This music is meant to reflect the internal struggles we have and the changes we can make when we overcome those struggles. Brian Fishler takes a wonderful solo on the entire structure of the tune. “Rain" is a ballad that has a surprise ending that seems to come out of nowhere. Parts of the tune evoke the feeling that rains gives you—serene and mysterious.
"Heat" is just that: hot. It’s funky, and it swings. Great solos by all, and wonderful playing by the bass player, Peter Brendler.
"10, 9, 8, 7…" was influenced by Sam Jones’s tune "Del Sasser," which has become a standard in the bebop repertoire. I love its intricate design, great rhythm section hits, and slick melody with assertive punctuation throughout. The title is meant to connote a musical explosion of sorts.
"Avishai" is written in honor of bassist Avishai Cohen. I love the freedom"My Blues" is unusual in that it has a 7/4 figure to open the tune, but it transitions quickly into straight-ahead swing in 4/4 time.
"For Freddie" was composed in honor of Freddie Hubbard, whom I revere. I listen to him all the time. I was going for the more advanced, modal harmonies Freddie worked with later in his career.
The final tune is called "180 Degrees." Change is a huge theme in my life and in my work. Cultivating the ability to effect change on oneself and others through the power of music is, I believe, my life’s calling.