Neal Miner (bass)
Michael Kanan (piano)
Joe Strasser (drums)
Recorded at Michael Kanan's studio, Brooklyn, NY, September 12 and October 6, 2008. Mixed and Mastered by Walter Fishbacher at Lofish studios, New York, NY. Photography and design by Tory Williams.
Produced by Neal Miner.
©2009 Gut String Records. All rights reserved.
Happy Hour pays tribute to a favorite watering hole for many jazz musicians in New York City, the Corner Bistro. Tucked away in the West Village of Manhattan, the Corner Bistro has been an important landmark meeting place to jazz musicians for generations. After a gig, if they’re looking to unwind, talk to friends, have a burger, and a drink while listening to some jazz gems on the jukebox, the Corner Bistro is the perfect spot. The atmosphere is relaxed, cozy and transports all who enter its doors back to another time.
The music on this recording is a collection of favorite standards, original music and arrangements by bassist, Neal Miner. As well as being a bass feature CD, Happy Hour also spotlights the talents of Miner’s long time band mates, Michael Kanan on piano and drummer, Joe Strasser.
This project, a labor of love, was completely “hands on” in every sense of the phrase. The music evolved slowly over a year as Neal and Michael practiced together while on tour with vocalist, Jane Monheit. These practice sessions took place back stage, in hotel rooms, and at jazz clubs, during the day, off hours.
Once the music started to take shape as a duo, Joe Strasser came on to round out the group. Then, with some newly acquired recording equipment, at Michael Kanan’s studio in downtown Brooklyn, they documented the results of this creative process. The music was mixed and mastered at Lofish studios.
This project was totally self produced with one main objective, to present the music exactly as it sounds live.
About Neal Miner’s original music:
Doghouse Blues - Doghouse is one of the many nicknames for the bass. This tune is a blues line that features the bass, and allows all the musicians to introduce themselves individually.
Boilermaker - Defined as a shot of whiskey and a beer. This tune celebrates a favorite bar room elixir for the bassist and drummer of this trio.
At the Bistro - This line was written over the chord changes of Jerome Kern’s classic, All The Things You Are. It aims to capture the carefree atmosphere of its namesake.
The Changing Scene - One of Miner's earlier compositions, the title connotes the ever shifting terrain of the jazz scene in New York City.
Happy Hour - The title track of this CD takes you right inside the Corner Bistro with the actual sounds and conversations that can be heard on a nightly basis. Listen for them at the beginning and end of this track.
~ Sam Chambers 2009