Los Angeles-based pianist and composer Kait Dunton's first album, "Real & Imagined" is now available! Recorded in February of 2008, after completing her Masters of Music in Jazz Piano Performance from the University of North Texas, "Real & Imagined" is an extraordinary debut of her whimsical yet rhythmic and deeply-felt compositional style. An imaginative take on the acoustic jazz piano trio, Kait's original music blends elements of jazz, Latin, folk, and groove genres into a fresh new improvisational and compositional voice. It features Ross Pederson on the drums and Daniel Foose on the bass.
Please visit Kait's website for more info and to hear on-site sound clips!
Kait Dunton is a California native who, after many years living in Charlottesville, Virginia and Denton, Texas, has now come full circle to live and work in her hometown of Pasadena, California. Kait developed an affinity for jazz at a young age rather ironically: by sight-reading compilations of jazz standards and solos arranged for the piano. Browsing through local record shops (most notably Opus, in Old Town, Pasadena, now, sadly, long gone the way of most independent record stores) led her ear to classic jazz recordings like "Somethin' Else" and "We Three". Not until attending college at the University of Virginia in 2001, however, did she encounter and learn the fundamentals of improvisation under the tutelage of jazz trumpetist and composer, John D'earth - also the director of the UVa Jazz Ensemble. He and Kait struck up a fortuitous friendship, the source of many improvisation, composition, and life lessons, as well as Kait's eventual decision to apply to graduate school for jazz studies. Encouraging her to play and write freely in her individual style, John was an early catalyst and the original mentor to the imaginative and engaging composer and performer that Kait is today.
Graduating from UVa (with a BA in Spanish) and entering the College of Music at the University of North Texas in 2005, Kait entered into an intensive program of jazz theory, history and performance where she had the opportunity to play in and compose for classic big bands, contemporary electric ensembles, jazz chamber groups, and her own Kait Dunton Trio. In the summer of 2006, Kait traveled to Alberta, Canada, to take part in the Jazz and Creative Music Workshop at Banff, under the direction of Dave Douglas. It was here that she composed and performed her most adventurous compositions to date, and set the bar for her current through-composed and imaginative compositional style. She became a Teaching Fellow at UNT in the Fall of 2006, where she directed the contemporary repertory group, the UNT Zebras, as well as taught group piano classes until December of 2007. In October of 2007 she gave her Jazz Piano Masters Recital, where she performed "Machine 2", "Machine", and other songs from her forthcoming album for the first time.
When not at work or at the piano, Kait enjoys eating, reading, drinking coffee, and hittin' the dance floor (real or imagined).
Special thanks to Erik Herbst at Panhandle House, in Denton, TX, for recording and mixing "Real & Imagined", to Phil Bulla at A1 Platinum in Monroe, NY, for mastering the album, and to Dallas-based Jin Kim at jinkimphotography.com for the album photography.
"Machine 2" is a piece that started as a 2-bar fragment in a quiet room at dusk up in Banff, Canada. Not until a much later moment behind a piano in Pasadena was this piece re-thought and expanded. If you can figure out the meter(s), I'll send you a CD. Ross and Daniel and I are still debating it. Despite the unusual time feel, this piece reflects a compositional moment that was less thought out and more happenstance, suggesting that free-flowing or perhaps "organic" composition is possible and playable.
"Train of Thought" plays out a thought process. An idea or image or memory emerges in our mind and is transformed as other thoughts and memories interact with it. As we follow the course of our memory, we experience interruptions and moments of more or less reflection. So, too, does the song change and break with the interruption of new ideas.
The title "Phase/Faze" can be sourced to a paragraph of Bryan Garner's Modern American Usage, a book on grammar and style which, despite my exciting description, is really an excellent and well-written guide on English language usage (if you're into those things). For example, I didn't realize that the word "faze" even existed, and is the correct form of what I would usually write as "phase". "The sudden meter change didn't faze him at all!" for example. In relation to the song, however, it describes the way the song goes through different "phases", as if someone were shifting a dial on the radio (remember those?). The second half of the song is really the "phase/faze", as the melody passes through a sort of phase-shifter and elongates and slows. Don't be fazed.
"Real & Imagined" is a journey of your choice.
"Machine" is a piece in multiple parts. It reflects the more positive aspect of our social machinery, in the bustling, productive city way, but also in the personal way of our own, quietly thinking selves.
"Home" is a simple piece for our real and imagined homes, those that exist in touch and in memory.
"Epilogue", as seen in books, is the little section at the end. The tale of what happened after.