Mike Longo: New York ’78
What you are about to hear expresses the energy and spirit of the turbulent and emotional 1970’s. The music that pianist/compose/arranger/author/teacher, Mike Longo. Wrote for this recording reflects his environment, the times, the politics, and the rhythms of his adopted city, New York, during the 70’s. Mike and his friends-and what a heavy bunch they are-created a symphony of the times by layering the rhythms: latin, funk, gospel, rock, and jazz for the faithful. Mike utilized the basic musical tools that were causing the public to dance and buy records, but overlaid those elements with stimulating and challenging jazz ideas. "It became so subtle at times," he said, "that the 4/4 feeling was two or three layers deep with double and triple time levels above it."
Incorporating all the musical, political and aesthetic flavors of the 70’s, Mike created his own device for the interpretation: pairs each of trumpets, trombones and saxes plus a rhythm section of piano, bass, guitar, trap drums and latin percussion. The result: NEW YORK 78.
Mike didn’t miss a beat. But unfortunately someone else did, because the original master cut of Mike’s wonderful compositions lay on a closet shelf, covered with the dust of nearly two decades. Vibrant, but dormant, this collage of songs of the late 70’s was rediscovered and saved from extinction with the wizardry of todays technology!
Around that time (spring 1995), Mike heard that the original bent horn of his dear friend Dizzy Gillespie (the one that Stump & Stumpy danced on at a session) was placed for auction at Christie’s. He needed the comfort of knowing that whoever claimed that special horn understood and truly appreciated its importance. Jeff Brown, (building and construction company owner and life time amateur jazz drummer), impulsively canceeled his last business apointment and that day to attend his first auction! He’d read that Dizzy’s horn would be available and remembered the many times he sat and listened as the man and his horn brought him joy. "Just maybe,"he thought. When the gavel fell late in the auction, Jeff Brown was the new owner. Mike introduced himself and knew after a brief chat that the horn was in good hands. As they became friends, Mike mentioned the still unreleased album. "Hey Jeff, I’ve got this old master – Just maybe…? Artist meets new producer and story continues…
Duane R. Bailey
The selections and the solos:
New York ’78: The "vibe" of the city,; the traffic; the feeling in the air. (Longo, Faddis, Cook, fuller) The Party: the disco fever and attitude. (Longo, Fuller, Davis) Sand In Your Blues: Salsa in South Florida, the music’s jumping off place. Legend has it that if you visit Florida and get sand in your shoes, you will eventually move there. The "Sand In Your Shoes," as popularized by Bobby Short, came from Havana. There is commonality beween south Florida and Havana. (Longo, Hampton, Brecker, Mintzer) A Point Beyond: Based on an African 6/8 rhythm, Mike was trying to suggest more than a simple dance rhythm. (Longo, Brecker, Cook, Hampton) Down Under: Not Australia, but that elusive 4/4 underneath all the other rhythmic activity in double time. (Longo, Mintzer) Keep Searchin’: has a spiritual significance and is expressed through other elements found in Gospel music. (Longo)
Arnold jay smith, The New School, May 1996
∑ Junior Cook - Tenor Sax
∑ Bob Mintzer – Tenor Sax
∑ Slide Hampton – Trombone
∑ Curtis Fuller – Trombone
∑ Randy Brecker – Trumpet
∑ Jon Faddis – Trumpet
∑ Bob Cranshaw – Bass
∑ David Lee – Drumes
∑ Steve Kroon – congas, Latin Percussion
∑ Ben aronow – Synthesizer
∑ John Hickes – clavinette
Mike Longo – Piano, Electric Piano, Composer/Arranger of all tracks