This CD is dedicated to the soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines who have sacrificed life and limb for freedom and democracy in the Middle East.
About "Duos & Trios"
I began this project after an inspirational phone call from George Fuller of KRML (Carmel, CA). George called me after I sent him my "Live At Biddy McGraw's" CD and we had a great conversation about jazz and radio. The thing he said that was the impetus behind this recording was how much he liked the sax/guitar combo instead of the usual sax/piano. This was significant to me as I had a conversation with Horace Silver about recording "Song For My Father" for the "Live at Biddy McGraw's" CD. When we discussed the arrangement I mentioned it was a quartet with no piano, he was intrigued and said he wanted to hear it. That, coupled with George's conversation, gave birth to the idea of doing a recording of small combos in non-standard instrumentations. Short tunes designed to fill time slots between DJ's, programs, and to close out sets. This was, in essence, a concept project for airplay that would help DJ's get some interesting programming, make transitions smoother and give the listeners something hip and fun. The sax/guitar, sax/bass and sax/keyboard were to give a different sound than is normally found in the majority of jazz recordings. Plus I'm a guitar nut; I don't know how I ended up playing sax (my dad, mom and grandfather all played sax, so I guess it’s not a huge mystery); guitar is my favorite instrument, and I love playing sax/guitar duos.
As I didn't have a strong musical direction for the project, I brought in my long-time mentor and friend, Jeffrey Dawkins, to be my producer. I told him what the concept was
and that I wanted a "dirty, swinging, hip, little record." I wanted to use my right-hand man, Jay Stapleton, for the guitar and a couple of other players that I admired and liked to play with. Jay brought in a lot of original songs that have his modern approach, lyrical melodies, and moody spaciousness that Jeffery and I thought were ideal for the
project. I brought in a couple of tunes, wrote one for recording, and Jay and I collaborated on another. Not all of them made the final cut. For additional players I wanted to use Dennis Caiazza on bass, Jay and I had a lot of experience with him and he's a freight train of groove. I also wanted to use Dave Captein on bass, I'm a fan and
think he's an incredible player.
I totally agreed with Jeffrey's suggestion of Grammy nominee Janice Scroggins on keyboards, she's fabulous and knocked the tunes we did out of the park! Since this project, she has entered my staple of players and I always enjoy her extraordinary musicianship.
Like all independent recordings, this took place in bits and pieces (or duos and trios!) over a couple of years as I could afford it and find the time to get it done. We went to 3 studios, coordinated gigs so Jay could come up from California, recorded rehearsals in my dining room, and worked on it whenever we could. Chronologically speaking, this project was started about half-way through the completion of my acid jazz CD, "Bump." The tunes were selected for their jazz appeal, classic sensibilities, and how well they lent themselves to small combo arrangements. I had some specific ideas about the duos for "Georgia" (I think bass/soprano arrangement is great!), "Surrey," and "America;" while Jeffrey made some great calls with "Sugar Mountain" and "Harlem Nocturne." "My Name is Burns" is written for Burns, the hippest cat ever to hang out Jazz de Opus in Portland, OR. No first name, no last name; simply, and as he always introduced himself, "My name is Burns."
Since the concept of this CD wasn't musically thematic, and the recording sessions so far apart, keeping consistency and programming in mind was difficult. Fortunately, the project grew some legs and began to shape its own identity. That's reflected in the tracks that exceed 3 minutes. Of course, playing the form of "Harlem Nocturne" twice puts it over 4 minutes, and we stretched others as they musically demanded it. As we began picking tunes for the CD, it was pretty easy choosing what fit and what didn't. What was very different on this recording was lack of stress and tense situations that normally accompany these things. That's not to say there aren't a couple of "events" that will be (and have been) brought up from time to time, but this was a good effort all around and captures a pure, raw joy and emotional depth that is satisfying and good to listen to. This is my art, my music; it is the creative efforts of my friends, my fellow jazz artists, and my producer. This is jazz; dig it!
I would like to thank Jay, Janice, Dave, and Dennis for their musicianship and contributions to this CD. Thanks to Jay for his tunes and friendship. Thank you to Jeffrey; it's a been good work, and I appreciate your wisdom and effort. Thanks to my parents for their endless support, my fans for buying my records, coming to my gigs, commenting on my "editorials," and just listening. Thank you to Kinn Edwards for allowing me to start working my duos and to Michael Shea for my trios. Special thanks to Marina for the sacrifices of being with a saxophonist. I know it ain't easy baby, late nights, sleepless weekends, and long drives. You're the best; you make my life better, and you make me a better man. I love you, and I hope you hear it in the music.
Executive Producer Noah Peterson
Producer Jeffrey Dawkins for Tiger Strikes Media
Recorded at Cool Blue Studio, Superdigital & Tiger Strikes Studio
Engineered by John Reynolds, Rick McMillen & Jeffrey Dawkins
Mixed at Dead Aunt Thelma's by Dean Baskerville, Jeffrey Dawkins, Noah Peterson
Mastered at NW Media by Todd Chatalas
Art Director: Jeffrey Dawkins
CD Art: Bart Pustkowski
Photos: John Klicker & Julie Keefe, (And one shot by Marina Aragaki)
Personnel: Noah Peterson, alto and soprano sax; Jay Stapleton, guitar; Janice
Scroggins, keyboard; Dennis Caiazza, bass (tracks 2, 5, 10, 13, 14); Dave Captein, bass
(tracks 1, 3, 4, 8)