While visiting the Butterfly House at the St. Louis Zoo late in May 2016 with my young daughters I snapped a photo that turned into my first recorded composition.
I have always felt a greater sense of “artistic transcendence” in an Art Museum than a Concert Hall. Reflecting and interpreting the natural world has been the gathering place of painters for 30,000 years. I include myself in their number with the only distinction being my canvas is invisible and I paint with sound.
Some Thing In The Water
Inspired by Dr. Neil Shubin and Dr. Ted Daeschler’s 2004 discovery in the Canadian Arctic, dubbed “Tiktaalik” by indigenous locals, Some Thing In The Water is a response to the ancient question “how did I get here?”
The River Was There
(all the grasshoppers were black)
The title is taken from the short story Big Two Hearted River by Ernest Hemingway. I first read in Field & Stream Magazine while waiting for it to stop raining on a fishing trip with my uncle Fred in the mid 1970’s. It features sounds from outer space recorded by NASA and experimental alto saxophone playing.
For 30,000 years human beings have represented the horse on cave walls, stage and film. Unbridled is my interpretation of the unique relationship between humans and horses. Specifically the powerfully graceful feminine side of late 20th Century Midwestern horse culture.
Get That Happy Feeling
(the life and times of H Bomb Ferguson)
The invention of the Long Playing Record opened up a new medium for artistic exploration. Get That Happy Feeling is a homage to the late great Cincinnati bluesman H Bomb Ferguson who I had the opportunity to play with in my early years as a saxophone player.
Everybody Digs Jimmy McGary
Jimmy McGary was THE saxophone player in Cincinnati Ohio from the 1950’s until his death in 1993. His hard swinging soaked in the blues style earned him a loyal following of listeners and musicians alike. The tune was composed around many of Jimmy’s favorite tenor saxophone techniques that made him sound like he was talking to you every time he picked up his horn.
East Night ‘32
The central themes of East Night ‘32 were composed in 1989 reworked and presented here as a reflection on the academic experience of my grandparents. Howard Hall and Betty Siegl grew up during the Great Depression in Cincinnati Ohio where as teens worked in factories during the day and attended high school after the closing whistle well into the night. Howard persisted until he graduated at twenty-three.
Little Goat Morning
I composed the opening melody while enjoying coffee at my favorite spot in the West Loop Chicago. The piece was originally to be recorded with a piano player I appreciated very much but tragically died before a recording session could be scheduled. The piece is dedicated to him.
Yes To Everything
In the end that's all we have.
Pale Blue Dot
In the words of Carl Sagan, “we are like butterflies who flutter for a day and think it is forever. We are a way for the cosmos to know itself”. So why not a waltz?
“You Named your Dog The Ooze?”I am fond of saying to my students “Music is not a language. It’s better !” How often has something in your life taken on greater meaning just by realizing he she or it has acquired a nickname?
Steve Davis - Drums
Ben Wheeler - Bass
Dave Black - Guitar (tracks 2,4,5)
Eddie Heinzelman - Guitars (tracks 7,8)
Kim Portnoy - Piano (tracks 3,9)
Patrick Harbison - Trumpet (tracks 4,7)
Geoffrey Nimmo as himself (track 3)
Soprano Alto & Tenor Saxophone, Flute
Piano on Track 1 All Instruments on Track 10
Field Recordings Mixing & Mastering