Here is number FIVE in the ongoing Piano Trios Project. This features Drummers, Phil Hey & Matt Wilson, plus Pianists, Dave Frishberg, Art Hirahara, Lars Jansson, Frank Kimbrough & Bryan Nichols. As some of you know, I spent a number of years touring the globe with musical groups like The Maynard Ferguson Orchestra, Chuck Mangione, Doc Severinsen, (lots of trumpet players!). I also spent some time with the Paul Winter Consort and blues guitar legend Roy Buchanan (polar opposites!). I have found that my favorite setting is Piano, Bass & Drums. The classic trio format in the style of Bill Evans, Keith Jarrett, Oscar Peterson, and so on.
We start with a little tune I wrote. CILANTRO features Sweden's incredible jazz pianist, Lars Jansson. Thanks to Dr. David Milne at UW River Falls, for bringing Lars over to participate in jazz workshops at the University. We had a fine series of concerts and sessions with Mr. Jansson. The song sprang into my head one morning upon awakening and was obviously a result of working on Mr. Jansson's music for the workshops over the previous few days. Half-asleep, I sang it into my iPhone and retrieved it later in the day and wrote it down. Special thanks to Lars for sight-reading this thing at the recording session!
Art Hirahara is one I've often shared the stage with, accompanying the brilliant jazz vocalist Stacey Kent. I feel fortunate to have played with Art in these setting with Ms. Kent in appearances throughout North America. Originally from California, now residing in New York, Mr. Hirahara is one of those amazing musicians who can be perfect for any situation. Here we do three songs; Wayne Shorter's energetic waltz, UNITED, Mr. Hirahara's gorgeous original ballad, WHERE THE HEART IS, and finally Cole Porter's relatively "off the beaten path" ditty, DREAM DANCING.
MN vocal star, Connie evingson is responsible for my connection with Minnesota's original hipster, Dave Frishberg. She was recording an "all Frishberg" CD project for which I was honored to be on board playing bass. I am so delighted to have Dave here doing a rumba version of one of my all time yet elusive favorites; RUBY.
Award winning pianist Bryan Nichols and drum guru / bandleader Matt Wilson team up for an exciting escapade or two in the midst of this disc. I saw Matt's incredible show at the Dakota with his band ARTS & CRAFTS. I knew I had to ask if he would agree to a quick session here with our modernist jazz pianist Bryan. Sure enough, it turned out to be a great match! Here we have 2 originals, one by each of these cats, and it turns this disc into a real adventure, with Matt's ADVENTURELAND and Bryan's APART.
Finally, well almost... Frank Kimbrough is certainly one of America's most amazing talents on piano. Now on staff at Julliard, I am so incredibly lucky to have met Frank on a gig with Dewey Redman. It was by chance, once again, I had played for a while with the great saxophonist in St. Paul at the Artists' Quarter and at the Jazz Showcase in Chicago. Dewey asked me to play the San Francisco Jazz Festival and that's where I met Frank, at soundcheck! We hit the stage and played some of the most stunning music ever. Then Frank was in Minneapolis and we played again as a trio. His free-flowing bluesy HOPE is a wonderful work of art. Finally, we close the disc with a loose version of INDIAN SUMMER, a song written by Victor Herbert in the early 1900s.
Meanwhile, if it were not for my good pal & drumming ace Phil Hey, this disc would not have happened. Truly one of the most swinging and knowledgable cats on the planet, Mr. Hey appears throughout this project. Many thanks directly to you, brother Hey...