I chose the title Relentless for this new CD because it is a vital trait required for anyone pursuing a career in the Arts today. As the name implies, the melody is intense and consuming; requiring the musician’s complete focus in order to make it happen. The underlying chord structure borrows from Wayne Shorter’s Fall. Cassa Cerrado (not to be confused with the colorful Latin American TV Show Caso Cerrado) was penned at the conclusion of my organ trio’s 7-month tenure at a Midtown hotel. Borrowing from Afro-Cuban and African influences (6/4 time) with an angular melody, this tune has some serious angst.
The darker, pensive, non-Broadway style treatment of Sondheim’s Not While I’m Around (Sweeney Todd musical) was another great suggestion by my good friend and singer Audrey Lee. References to Herbie Hancock’s Speak Like a Child underlies the frantic mood of It Ain’t Child’s Play, volleying between rhythmic superimpositions and a Samba. It’s an appropriate title for anyone attempting the chord changes.
My ethereal ‘de-rangement’ of Duke’s Solitude was written one week before the recording date. Sometimes it works out better that way. Manuel’s eloquence over the bridge sections are some of my favorite moments on the record. Mr. Moore, a funky Bomba groove in 9/4 that found its home in a quasi-Boogaloo, was written for a music-loving and amicable bartender named John Moore, who often requested John Coltrane’s Cousin Mary (also a Blues in the key of A-flat).
Limbo depicts two separate voices competing for the listener’s attention, keeping one guessing which to follow. This introspective and complex composition resolves in a unified phrase, signaling a moment of clarity. Finally, Abakua is not a reference to the Secret Society, but to the Afro-Cuban body movement class I have enjoyed taking from NYC dancer Frankie Martinez, founder/principal of the Abakua Afro-Latin Dance Company. My Latin dancing (almost 7 years!) has continued to have a profound impact upon my music.