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Sunday, October 7, 2007

Album Update #1 - background

Making a jazz album is like trying to catch lightning in a bottle. You need to prepare, have all your tools and charts together, bring all the right people into the same place at the same time, and then... you gotta let go. And if everything goes right, lightning strikes, the magic happens, and the sum ends up way greater than the parts.
After months of preparation, testing out songs, writing and re-writing charts, checking out studios and calling players, all the pieces came together on September 4th and 5th, 2007. These were the two days set up to record my 5th jazz album.
I see each album as a progression, as a movement forward in time. And each album gets better! There were a few pieces of feedback that I got after "Compared To What?" was released in 2005: people wanted to hear more songs that they recognized; they wanted to hear more piano; and there were many requests to hear me, Brian Bromberg and Alex Acuna work more as a piano trio.
So the new album aims to fill those requests: There are 7 cover tunes, and 4 originals. Brian, Alex and I perform 6 of the 11 songs as a piano trio. And I guess you will all have to deal with more piano solos.
Brian Bromberg agreed to not only play his "downright upright" bass on the album, he also agreed to produce the album with me! This is huge, and I am so glad he offered to do this. (Brian, by the way has one of the Top 10 smooth jazz albums in the nation currently, called Downright Upright.)
Alex Acuna also came along. Again to my good fortune, Brian and Alex have been working together often (actually they just got back from touring with Lee Ritenour), so they were TIGHT!
For the horns on this album I also called on the two guys that helped out on the last couple of CDs: Justo Almario and John Fumo. Justo and Alex go way back, and they know how to get inside the rhythm. And I just love the way John plays - sometimes he gets so close to channeling Miles that I think he might be a gypsy medium or something.
I wrote one track, called "Wes' Coast", which is a tribute to the old Riverside recordings that Wes Montgomery did. I needed the best guitarist in LA to nail that style, and I got him: Pat Kelley came in and played on that tune, as well as one other. And then I invited Courtney Lemmon to return for another funky vocal track to round out the album.
So now it is time to dive into the actual day...

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