Saturday, November 19, 2011

passion, live

I conceived the album Passion as a studio project. It was never intended to be done live, and the reason I chose the musical style I did with it was in part because of the features of the studio equipment I was working with.

order the CD!

So, it was a surprise to me that I found myself wanting to do the material in a live setting recently. Over the years, I've thought about all those extra CDs in storage, and thought it might be nice to trot them out and sell them somehow. But nothing happened till just tonight. This summer I talked with the owner of a well-known jazz club about the possibility of putting a group together to do the material. She sounded interested. I made some calls to some top-flight players, sent out a press release, and Boom: it's a live gig.

The San Antonio Express-News had a nice big article on it — the music writer Jim Beal gave it a huge plug in the entertainment section of the paper. And I spent a few hours writing out charts for three hours' worth of songs I'd never charted before.

Part of the challenge was to make the music sound right, to have the same heft and rich spectrum that the CD had. I actually brought the old JV-1080 unit to the gig that I'd used in the recording, using many of the same sounds and samples, tweaked here and there to suit the venue (and the year 2011).

The whole thing turned out great. The other musicians liked it. The audience liked it, and it was a packed house, with people having to be seated outside. I liked hearing this stuff that had been a solo project fleshed out by superb musicians: the bassist Jim Kalson, the pianist Anthony Bazzani, and the drummer Johnathan Alexander, all three heavy hitters. They seemed to like the style we were doing, which was enough of a departure for all of us that it felt very fresh; it was, as Jim put it, "smoothy enough" to fit into the style but still interesting and flexible and with plenty of room for group improvisation and musical conversation.

Overall, a nice commercial and artistic success. We may just do it again.


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