Tuesday, November 1, 2011

My 22nd CD as a leader, "Living For The City", Now Available on Itunes

News, lads! My 22nd as a leader, is available on Itunes. It's called "Living For The City", and it features me on piano(duh!), Josh Ginsburg on Bass, and EJ Strickland on drums. It's on the Steeplechase label, a company based in Denmark. I've had a pretty long association with Steeplechase and it's proprietor, Nils Winther. I've lost track of how many I have recorded for Winther, but you can actually count as well as buy them on Itunes.

Here's a long boring story that goes nowhere: I actually did my first recording for Steeplechase in 1995, my first year in New York City! It came about due to a last minute cancellation by a well known pianist(I changed his name for the story). I was home from one of my first extended European tours, jet lagging pretty hard. It was 7pm, and I was ready to go to sleep. Just as I'm dozing off, I get a phone call from tenor saxophonist Jed Levy. "Harry Phillips didn't show up for my recording; can you be at Sound on Sound Studios in midtown in an hour?" I was in Brooklyn, and I knew I could be there, but I was afraid that Phillips might show and then I would have been dragged out of bed for nothing. "Can I get 100 bucks for my trouble?" Levy agreed and I threw on some clothes and ran to the subway. I made it to the studio, and sure enough, Phillips was not there. I met Winther, bassist Ron McClure, and drummer Gerry Gibbs. I sightread the music, and within 5 hours, we had finished a recording. Winther told me that Phillips was supposed to record a trio date in two days, and would I like to record a trio date of my own? That's what led to my first CD, "Activism", featuring Dwayne Burno on bass and Ralph Peterson on drums.

It's interesting, a decade and a half later,what has changed and what hasn't. Steeplechase records two CDs per studio day, so we usually don't expect more than 5 hours to make a 60 minute CD. It's a bit on the pressure side of things, but after years of doing Cds this way, I'm accustomed to it. It's a different mentality; it's nothing like doing pop recording, where you piece stuff together and spend hours trying to get the perfect take and so forth. It's almost like a live gig: whatever comes out is what goes on the recording. I like to try for one take if possible. It's actually a somewhat pure, honest way of recording. My first CD took 5 or 6 hours, probably because I was nervous. Now, 15 years later, I try to be done in 2 to 3 hours if possible.

"Living For The City", recorded in December of 2010, is a snapshot of a working trio; I've done a lot of gigs with Ginsburg and Strickland over the past few years. I picked music that was simple and spontaneous, music that we could just play and get a vibe. Good thing, too, because I was really sick while recording this. I think I had some kind of food poisoning, in addition to a bad cold, and it wasn't helped by the fact that my son Liam still wasn't sleeping through the night. I was taking a lot of Nyquil in order to sleep, and I had been out the night before recording with Greg Tardy(his new CD is called "Monuments", also available on Itunes). The studio was in New Jersey, and I and my family were staying on the  Upper East Side. Josh Ginsburg was supposed to pick me up, and I slept through my alarm and Ginsburg's phone calls. Finally, somehow,  I woke up, ran down to Ginsburg's car, and we made it to New Jersey just in time for the start of the recording.

I'm happy with how the CD came out. If you'd like to get a preview of what this trio sounds like, here are a few youtube links. I hope you'll be motivated to download the CD from what you hear on these clips.

1 comment:

  1. I was enthralled with "Enjoy it while it lasts." Do you expect this to come out in physical CD or higer-res download? I'd sure like to buy it at more than MP3 quality? -- Mike in Portland


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