IM: So tell us something about your new CD.
HB: First of all, for those who know me primarily as a Panman, this is not a Pan CD but there is pan on half of the tunes.
This is a collection of some of my best tunes produced by Phil Hawkins and featuring some of the best Latin jazz musicians in the San Francisco Bay Area.
IM: What can we expect to hear artistically when we play this CD?
HB: The CD reflects the influence of the different idioms I’ve been exposed to over the years. I think the melodies are enchanting, the progressions are interesting and the rhythms are infectious. Top all of that with insightful lyrics and a generous sprinkling of jazz solos. That’s what’s cooking.
IM: The album is entitled ‘See Ya in St. Lucia’. It is also the title of song #2 on the CD. How did you arrive at that?
HB: Being from St. Lucia, that was the epicenter of my musical influences. That’s evident in tunes like ‘Mawen Romaine’ and ‘Hotel Gastonette’ with the heavy infusion of Kweyol music and lyrics. See Ya is a musical journey back to the source. Homecoming you might say.
IM: What’s in there for the pan lover and your pan fans?
HB: There are pan solos on four tunes: ‘See Ya’, Carijama, Hotel Gastonette and Pan Is De Ting. Actually two of the tunes, ‘Carijama’ and ‘Pan is de Ting’ were written specifically for pan. I hope pan players check them out and enjoy playing them. In 2010 PIDT was arranged by Tom Miller and recorded as the title tune on the San Francisco Panhandlers most recent album.
IM: Of the ten songs, how many are originals.
HB: I wrote 9 of the ten tunes. The last tune is a short rendition of a Haitian Kweyol folk tune, giving thanks to the Creator, as my outro.
IM: What was it like collaborating with Phil Hawkins?
HB: Just great. I always loved Phil’s work and I thought if he could put his touch to my music we could create something really beautiful. The outcome exceeded my expectations. It took my tunes to a whole different level.
IM: The album appears to be very Caribbean eclectic. How would you categorize it?
HB: That’s a fair assessment. It’s raw Caribbean in one sense but smoothed out with some jazzy accoutrements. The songs stretch from salsa to funk, to samba, calypso, soca, zouk and reggae…all skillfully blended into one enjoyable set.
IM: What are your expectations for the album?
HB: Like every artist, I hope it sells a million…but in the meantime I hope to See Ya in St. Lucia…