This record was made over the course of eleven days at a studio on the north side of Dublin. I have never made a record like it before.
This project was recorded with one guitar, a classic, floating bridge, large-box Yamaha jazz guitar from the seventies (Gibson L-5 type). It's the type of instrument that radiates history and authority, and was played by countless jazz legends.
My friend Malcolm Cooper gave me the guitar after I asked to borrow it one day. His proviso for this magnanimous gift was that I "do something with it".
That was easy. Ideas seemed to pour out of it every time I played it. I couldn't put it down. After a short while I knew I wanted to do a record with it.
I love a challenge, but it would not be an understatement to say that this was the most challenging project I have ever attempted. It is certainly the most spontaneous, improvised one.
I arrived at the studio with little more than outlines for most of the tunes. As a musician who is used to carefully planning every note of every tune I record, this was a new way to work.
When we started tracking the first day I was, in a word, terrified. Not only was I performing on a new kind of instrument, but all of the tunes were either new compositions or new arrangements of existing ones. Most had to be arranged on the spot between takes.
Bill Shanley's encouragement was invaluable in the first few sessions when I would start to panic. I thank him not only for his excellent ears and musicality, but for some helpful arrangement and production suggestions that have made this a better record.
The recording was made using vintage amplifiers that were on hand at Cauldron, including Noel Redding's Orange bass amp from the sixties. The warm sound of this recording owes much to that amp, as well as to the natural wood-and-stone sound of a basement studio in a wonderful old Dublin building.
I was also fortunate on this project to have Eugene Donohoe's prodigious photographic talent for the CD artwork.
I am thrilled with the results of this project, both for the evolution it represents in my music as well as for the opportunity it afforded me to make a record that I have long wanted to make.
I hope you enjoy the spirit in these tracks. Thanks for listening.