This is what Chicago Jazz Magazine had to say about “Sketches” :"…there is no denying his superlative skill on the guitar ...he has created a thoughtful and highly listenable CD…Ness’s playing is derivative of Grant Green’s mid-career recordings…tasteful flights of improvisation..."
This debut album of the Dave Ness Trio has been a long time coming. In some ways, I have been working toward it for my entire professional life: it is an intensely personal project.
Choro #1 was written when I was teaching at Northwestern, and is influenced by my love for Brazilian music, including classical (Villa-Lobos) and other popular styles such as samba, choro, bossa-nova, and jazz. Choros, even though the term means “lament,” have a constant happy motion to them, very much as Bach composed. I just happen to compose this one with Bebop licks.
Blues for N.O. was written in the aftermath of Katrina. This city has great meaning for me as the birthplace of jazz, but also the place where I proposed to my wife. This tune, has a street beat to it, very much a New Orleans groove.
Max was written for my first son, and the energy of this piece suggests the vibrant energy of my son, who is a breathing Samba!
The Illuminati was written after reading Dan Brown’s book, which stirred up ideas about faith and belief. The tune uses a vast contrast in dynamics and also use of space for dramatic effect. It also uses dissonance and a very Thelonious Monk inspired melody.
Working with AACM artist Nicole Mitchell inspired me to write Flamenco 5.4. Her rhythmic and tonal exploration was inspiring to me. I have also had a deep love for flamenco music, and have enjoyed playing flamenco tunes, but also learning the history of flamenco. This tune is in no way an authentic flamenco tune, being in 5/4 time, with also measures of 4/4 and 7/4.
Czekamy was written when I was learning Polish and navigating the international adoption process. Our waiting prayers were answered with the birth of our son Max. This tune uses a very Monk-like melody, using dissonance and space, portraying the anticipation and nervous energy of the situation.
CBH, a ballad, was written for my wife, Corinne, during our undergraduate music studies at Northern Illinois University, long before she was my wife.
Saturday Afternoon was written while I was a student at Northwestern, exploring the “Coltrane changes” and bebop elements.
Eric’s Return was written in honor of my brother Eric’s return to the United States after several years living in India. It uses an irregular meter of 5/4, inspired by Indian music.
Marty, a funk tune, was written for my second son, who loves to groove to music.
Remembering Rufus was written after the untimely death of my dear friend Rufus Brown, a composer, guitarist, and educator. Rufus’ compositions infused a variety of styles and unique humor; in this piece, I combine elements of classical, jazz, and free music.
Goodbye is a solo piece which reflects on the number of people that I’ve had to say farewell to in my life.
Dave Ness 2009