Alec Wilder's music is a unique blend of American musical traditions – among them jazz and the American popular song – and basic "classical" European forms and techniques. As such it fiercely resists all labeling. Although it often pained Alec that his music was not more widely accepted by either jazz or classical performers, undeterred he wrote a great deal of music of remarkable originality in many forms: sonatas, suites, concertos, operas, ballets, art songs, woodwind quintets, brass quintets, jazz suites – and hundreds of popular songs.
Joe LoCascio has been playing the music of Alec Wilder since 1980, after discovering a slim volume of his songs while haunting a used bookstore. He remembers being intrigued by the cover that featured the famous profile shot of Mr. Wilder – the same one used for the dust jacket of his wonderful volume of letters. He also remembers the price – one dollar. Joe immediately set to playing and (foible of youth) re-harmonizing these incredible melodies. He introduced much of this material to the group he performed with and after a period came to realize these tunes needed no “extra” work done to them – they were perfect as they were! In fact, the beauty of Alec Wilder songs is that they are so melodically perfect; improvising upon them is something that must be seriously considered. One cannot approach these songs merely by “playing the changes.” There is an inner clock to these compositions and it is essential that one be synchronized to it.
Woody Witt and Joe LoCascio began doing duo performances about a decade ago. They were always searching for material and when Joe suggested doing songs of Alec Wilder, Woody jumped at the idea. It was his idea to feature soprano saxophone and I think that voice has worked wonderfully for this recording. Anyhow, I hope you enjoy this collection of songs from an American genius, Alec Wilder.
"Joe LoCascio has an affinity for fashioning the harmonically complex into the simply beautiful. LoCascio has dazzled since his 1986 debut; what's impressive is the way his talent continues to grow.". - Jeff McCord, Texas Monthly
Woody Witt demonstrates a virtuosic conception that embraces not only the familiar Michael Brecker-like approach to the Coltrane heritage but also the bluesy soulful ness of the great Texas tenor stylists.- JazzTimes Magazine