the gamut - A Music Industry Antidote
"Gamut: 1.)...the gamut of dramatic emotion from grief to joy. 2.)...the whole series of recognized musical notes.", Webster's Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary.
When I beget this project, I calculated a time frame of 4 to 6 months for the arranging, recording, mixing, mastering and production of this endeavor. Fourteen months later I am sitting here typing up these liner notes. This was a much bigger mission than I had envisioned.
Having played professionally as a Jazz Saxophonist, a Rock and Roll Guitarist, a Country-Western Bassist, a Blues Pianist and a Folk Harmonica player, I felt that I had the tools to venture this aural mosaic. Even so, many times throughout this undertaking, I was frustrated by its enormity.
Upon conception, I knew that the Music Industry (the Music Industry is self-titled as such!) would never warm to this undertaking as commercially viable. This would be an endeavor much too eclectic for the conventional marketers. I knew from the jump that I would have to follow my own muse on this project and record and release it independently. Fortunately, I have a symbiotic relationship with the inquisitive and musically sophisticated audience that I have gleaned over the years. We have higher expectations of each other than what the present industry of music offers.
This independence has been both a boon and a bust for me. The bust, of course, is that this project will be completely ignored by the industry of music. However, the boon, which more than makes up for the bust, is the complete liberty to pursue my best artistic, rather than commercial, instincts.
Never would the industry of music allow a Latin Groove to be followed by a Gospel song, followed by Hard Rock, followed by a 50's Pop tune to be followed by R&B and then Jazz and then Country and then Funk. And on and on. Scandalous! The industry of music recognizes that the average listener does not have the ear savvy for this diverse a rendering. And the industry is probably correct. But the audience I play to has never been of the average. Mind you, this is not an elitist effort. I trust that there will be some attraction for all music tastes on the project.
Because I have followed my own musings rather than the dictates of the industry of music, I was able to make artistic decisions outside of corporate accountability. As such, I was able to do more challenging arrangements with the music. Incorporating a full minute of an accapella bongo solo at the end of "Knee Deep In The Blues" was done for no other reason than it was the right artistic decision. And, when told by a great jazz pianist friend that the realm of Jazz Swing and the pulse of Funk were too disparate to ever jibe, well, of course I had no choice at that point but to write "Running With The Dogs". Scores of other music industry taboos can be found within that would have never gotten past the suits of the corporate music world.
To span the chasms of these grooves, and for the entertainment of my musically discerning friends, I have incorporated a most particular lick, or musical phrase, into the bulk of these tunes. Many and varied are the grooves where you will find this melodic idea. You will find this riff in the marimba solo in the Latin Groove. It is the opening flute lick on the Pop Jazz tune. And the outro guitar solo on the Hard Rock tune. This riff is used in the closing bars of the harmonica lick at the end of the "Beat" Jazz tune and lurks in the harmony horn arrangement in the third verse of the Blues song. I have even utilized this melodic idea as the vocal melody for the bridge in the Gospel / Duet song. I consider this little phrase my Alfred Hitchcock walk on lick. I hope that you have as much fun exploring this musical snippet, hither and yon, as I have enjoyed the challenge of fitting this riff into these manifold styles.
Now I completely understand the corporate world's need to limit their scope of artistic ventures to those homogenized projects that have the best financial return. I am not anti-capitalist. And although I understand why this project would be too much for the industry of music to bear, the audience that I have cultivated over the years would expect and accept nothing less from me. They have needed to be challenged as much as I have needed to challenge myself. This is a project much bigger than myself. This is a project that I owe to the aurally restless souls that are not satisfied with being compartmentalized into a selective, and musically limited genus. This endeavor is for those with a wider musical perspective who will not settle for the corporate music status quo. I will always have this independence in common with my audience. And we must always demand more of each other than the musical dictates of corporate music.
For you, for myself, I offer these musical musings as an antidote to the Music Industry.
A special thank you to the many artists, musical and graphic, that participated in this project, whose talents and insights have helped to generate this most particular production. Thank you, too, to family and good friends who were understanding and supportive during my long exile in the studio. And an extra special note of gratitude to the enchanted world of Pie and the Hooverman whose patience, equanimity and encouragement accommodated my manic insanity throughout the many trials and tribulations of this effort.
To learn more about Ted Czuk, his music, history and song genesis, please visit Ted at www.tedczuk.com