Eric Revis releases his highly anticipated debut CD, Tales of The Stuttering Mime from 11:11 Records. Critically acclaimed sideman who started his professional career with Betty Carter and for the past seven years has been a member of Branford Marsalis' quartet now steps into the arena as a leader. His first album is wide open and personal.
"Life is a continuum. It must move forward," states Revis. His music reflects this philosophy. Revis' compositions draw upon his life experiences of moving forward: Growing up in Fresno, CA, where he taught himself how to play the bass; Moving to Texas where he encountered jazz; Studying with Ellis Marsalis at the University of New Orleans, where he met likes of Nicholas Payton and Brian Blade; Meeting Betty Carter who opened up new doors for Revis; Inevitable move to the New York City where Revis played in rooms like the Knitting Factory and the Smalls with musicians in the downtown scene. You can hear in his writing the rich tapestry of people he encountered, music he embraced, and experiences he cherishes.
"I strive be as honest as possible" Revis says. "This is about being comfortable in my own skin and coming into my own musically. Taking my life and music, refining them to get to the essence of what's important." To achieve the goal, Revis called upon his close friends and collaborators including Jeff "Tain" Watts. "Tain is the ultimate orchestrator and arranger. He thinks of a tune in its entirety, where it's going, and its continuous flow." Revis appreciates this approach to music. He feels that it's easy for any jazz musician to be myopic in their playing and compositions and put too much emphasis on chord progressions or scales rather than focusing on the message and feeling that music carries. Revis sees the forward movement in jazz today as something to be embraced. We live in a time when there is room for it all-music that honors our roots, embraces the present, and envisions the future.
Tales From The Stuttering Mime is a labor of love for all of the musicians involved. It was recorded primarily in one day at Sound On Sound Studios in New York (tracks #1 and #10 were recorded at Sear Sound in 2003) with Dana Murray, who co-produced the album with Revis. The album features Watts (drums), JD Allen (tenor sax), Duane Eubanks (trumpet), Orrin Evans (piano), Oz Noy (guitar), and Yosvany Terry (alto saxophone). All of these musicians share a long musical friendship with Revis except for Oz Noy, who understood Revis' musical vision and philosophy immediately after their initial meeting. Engineer Dana Murray flew in from Nebraska for the sessions, and Watts showed up for one of the sessions with his luggage as he was on his way to the airport, just to play cymbals. The album also boasts many special guests, including Gregoire Maret on harmonica, Doug Wamble on banjo, Sherman Irby on alto saxophone, Khalil Kwame Bell on percussion, and Myron Walden on bass clarinet and alto saxophone. There is even a washboard and string quartet.
"Everything about this album, from the content to the band, is highly personal," says Revis about Tales. All ten original tunes are about people, places, and important influences in his life. "Miles Sebastian" is a loving tribute to Revis' son, with whom he co-wrote the tune. It opens with an answering machine message from Miles to his father, leading into Revis' rich bass tones accompanied by a string quartet. "Phi," a gorgeous tune featuring Evans on piano, was inspired by Keith Jarrett and the Paul Motian Trio, as well as by the book, "The Golden Ratio." Two other tunes find literary inspiration, stemming from Revis' lifelong passion for literature and philosophy. "Black Elk Speaks" is inspired by the book of the same title and "The Enemy Flying" is taken from Shakespeare.
With Tales Of The Stuttering Mime, Revis shows us himself and invites the listener on this musical journey that is his life.
Tales Of The Stuttering Mime is available at www.cdbaby.com at this time.