"Man, that lead alto player is real easy to phrase with!" — Steve Motz, after recording the second saxophone part on the first tune of the first recording session.
While I would normally say that three horn players can't sound like a big band, the magic of Jeremy Stephens and Johnny Sandlin proves that they can! The horn parts on this CD were recorded three at a time by only three musicians, prompting some uneasy looks between the engineers on the first day. It all seems to work in the end, though!
The compositions and arrangements on this CD span a period of more than a dozen years, but the bulk of them were created between 2000-2002. "Hey, Where You Frumba?" was written in September, 2002, following a two-week study trip to Cuba. It was an attempt to bring back some of the sounds I heard on the island. "Left Over Vowels" was written for a jazz sextet tour of Sweden in 1989; the big band arrangement followed in 2000. The title refers to the Swedish alphabet, which has entirely too many vowels. "Bad Hair Day Blues" was written in 1993 – when I still had hair! "When the Saints Go Marching In" was arranged in 2001.
Five of the tunes were commissioned by audience members at a series of Valentine concerts by the jazz ensemble at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. "Dearest" and "Slow Dancing with Cindy" were commissioned by Dale Hutchens for his wife in 2001 and 2002. "Sax a Deux" was commissioned by Gretchen Rider for her son and daughter-in-law in 2001. "El Amor Cubano: La Mujer o el Caballo?" ("Love of a Cuban Man: The Woman or the Horse?") was commissioned by Sue Kirkpatrick for her husband in 2002. The title refers to the fact that she had recently married a Cuban man who had recently purchased a horse. Her husband, Jorge Aunon, commissioned a song for her in the same concert, but named it after his horse, "Siboney."
The newest tune on the CD, "Itchin' in the Kitchen," is dedicated to my wife and executive producer (in all things) Donna Lamb. She wants me to mention that the title has no real significance.
— Don Bowyer, April 2003
Don Bowyer, trombones, vocals
Ken Watters, trumpets, vocals
Steve Motz, woodwinds, vocals
John Miller, piano
Keith Taylor, piano, vocals
Jim Cavender, bass, guitar
Dave Gannett, bass, tuba, vocals
Tom Branch, drums, percussion, vocals
Solomon Grable, drums, percussion
All compositions by Don Bowyer, except "When the Saints Go Marching In." All arrangements by Don Bowyer.
All arrangements available from Walrus Music Publishing.
Recorded November 17, 2002, through March 25, 2003, at Duck Tape Music Studios in Decatur, Alabama. Recorded, mixed, and mastered by Jeremy Stephens and Johnny Sandlin, Duck Tape Music Studios.
Don Bowyer plays a 1941 King 2B trombone, but he'll switch if anyone offers a sponsorship.
Thanks to: The musicians and engineers; Donna, April, Kristy, Yvonne, Sue, Jorge, Cil, Margery, Carolyn, Bonnie, Ron, Andy, Charlotte, Phil, Ingrid, Ken, Pam, Judy, Harry, Danny, Debbie, Dale, Cindy, William T, Andrée, Bhavani, Deb, Augusta, Shaunah, James, Roger, Ewa, Del, Dan, the collective Bowyers, the UAH Jazz Ensemble and UAH Music Students, the gang at WLRH, and Walrus Music Publishing. Also to those two or three people who have been inadvertently omitted. Finally, to the memory of Dr. David Graves, who would have shaken his head and sighed.
© 2003 – Dolphin Don's Music School
Executive Producer: Donna Lamb, Lamb Commercial Services