Dance for the New World
Wide range of vibe from smooth to rap. Features the Smooth Jazz smash "Wednesday" and a wide variety of cool grooves-as well as an all star cast including Eric Marienthal, Wilton Felder, Brenda Russell, Greg Vail, Val Watson, and more. Available through Amazon.com.
I started this project
in 1995. I've always lived for creating things, and my music has been
the primary source of my passion since I was young. I wanted to do
something different this time around, as I noticed that the world was
going through some radical changes. My personal world was as well at
I started out with the groove
for "Obsession". I had been sitting in with a band one night,
just hanging out with friends, and I noticed a girl sitting across the
room. One of those faces that just takes your breath away. While I
stared at her in awe, I knew a couple of things: 1) this is the kind of
beauty that launches the thousand ships that writers write about...and
2) she would never be mine. Sometimes, you just go with your
"The Time Has Come" was born out of my feelings about God, and the confusion that I see in my own soul, and in the world we live in. During this period, a lot of things were bothering me: Why is so much weird stuff happening on the planet? Why are people losing their minds? Sometimes, being an artist is a weird thing......you feel things, but you can't speak them. There was and is a lot of impending doom stuff out there.. Somehow, I was trying to balance the light and dark in my own self...and see what was going on out there. I could see that my Christian friends were of no help: most of them were struggling with their own dual natures, and failing miserably. My girlfriend was of no help, she was too worried about basic things like not having a driver's license, getting to work, etc. The church was of no help: too much hypocrisy. I just had to go inside, and find something for this one. Some of my friends who regularly visited my Friday gig were into the groove of "The Time Has Come" because I had just been playing the groove on its own at the gig. When I added the body of the song to the groove, and changed the key up to the relative major, I knew I was on to something. The melody sound was something that had been floating around in my head since an early 1995 trip to London. I wanted to add a bit of a glassy touch to the piano melody in octaves to give it a different sort of a sound. The feeling that I get from this song is one of hope and calm in the midst of inner wondering and confusion.
Ah... "Island Girls". One of my favorite topics lol....This one's just a happy little ditty that makes you forget about life, and want to dance at the islands mon. Every project needs one of these.
"Wednesday" is from my days with a new found love, and copious consumption of Samuel Adams. A few months had passed, I was in love with someone new, had a Wednesday gig, and was playing around with a series of four chords one day in the studio. I had met Zachary Breaux by this time, and was still tripping on the great musical experience I had with Ronnie Laws on the "Brotherhood" CD, which, in my opinion, contains his finest work since "Pressure Sensitive". Except for "Stairway to the Stars" from "Deep Soul", but that's a story I'll have to tell another time. Ronnie and Zach were both fond of four chord vamps, and I was as well. The question of course was, what are the four chords, and how long will it take you to get tired of them? The ones I chose, G minor9-D minor11-F minor9-Cminor11 seemed to be ones I could play over and over, and never run out of things to do over the top of them. I added a bridge which has a fairly silly bass riff in the middle (alex al thought it sounded like little men marching), and boom, it was done. I'll never forget playing these chords while looking at her picture that I kept on the piano, those were good days.
"Dance for the New World"
was actually the last song I composed for this project, and its
interesting that it became the title track. I am still totally in love
with this song, and have yet to get tired of its melody or beat. This
was actually a summation kind of song, and for sure an ambitious
attempt at musically capturing everything that was going on out it the
world, and inside my heart. From a musical point of view, you have a
lot of different things all combined into one song on this one. The
melody concept is kind of like a far eastern "its a small world after
all" theme, with a little Rippingtons and Pat Metheny thrown in. The
groove is straight from Europe. The piano solo: gospel, and floating
contemporary jazz. I really like the added touch of Mark Cargill's
violin on this one....each section of the song kind of takes you to a
different part of the world, and then brings you back with the melody.
I wanted this one to reach people of all ages...and so far, it looks
like it is working...older folks seem to really like the piano. I've
had good comments on the groove from the Gen X'ers, and one fan sent me
a video of her four year old singing the melody.
"When Love Gets Deeper" is a very nice vocal song featuring Brenda Russell, who is a consummate lyricist, and a true icon in contemporary music. The music part of this song was one great for getting busy to...and Brenda's words really sum up making it into the best phase of love: true love, whether the person is there or not. Thanks to Eric Marienthal for some nice sax on the intro to this one.
"To Begin Again"
Ah.....how many times must we start over in life? Seems like many...I
see so many friends going through such nasty stuff in real life... why
is life so ugly, arrogant, and uncontrollable at times? Personally, it
does drive me nuts. Just when I think I've got a handle on it, it seems
to take a curve in another direction. I call it WCS...the wild card
syndrome. Sometimes, that's the only way to explain things. People
change. You never REALLY know anyone completely. You never REALLY know
what is going to happen in life.
I have always loved the beach. There is something so calm and serene, yet so vast and huge about it. I tried to get the feel of a perfect California day in "Ocean Breeze".
"Bustin' Out" is just straight up good old fashioned funk. I learned about funk when i was with the Crusaders guys. We had lessons. It was ugly...lol. Funk is so easy, yet so hard to get it right. The loop I made for this was inspired by an old Wynan's song, and this one has about the strangest bassline I've ever composed. So many people have asked who the sax player is on this one, and most of them are shocked to hear that it is Greg Vail. I think I need to keep reminding people that good musicians can change their style and sound to fit the mood of a piece of music. When you hear a song that you instantly know is "so and so", then you are getting that one "thing" that that artist does. Great artists are like chameleons-they change to fit the situation they are in musically, which is what Greg did on this cut. Greg's talent for playing goes far beyond his recorded music. Byron Bordeaux added great guitar and vocal stuff to this one.
The song "Planetmullins" was a true labor of love to create. It took almost seven weeks of studio time. I realized after I got started on this one, that I had bit off way more than I could chew when I started out with the goal of capturing American History back to the fifties, pop world culture of the nineties, the future of the planet, the spiritual and mental states of folks of all ages, and my own personal style all at once. Whew, I thought I was going to die during this one, and my relationship with my girlfriend did die (sorry Nicole). It wasn't the groove of the song that was tough, it was all those darn soundbytes. If you listen carefully to this one, you will hear early American science fiction, Russian and NASA space flights, all kinds of races talking (especially afro-american and english). It has a duchess, a bugler (Tony Guererro on my grandfather's WW1 bugle), a lot of street thugs, some scientists, some idiots, some jamaicans, some politicians: its got one of everything just about. I lost count at 300 samples when I was making this one, it just got to be too much to keep track of after awhile. The best part of the whole song is the "rap" done by Adwin Brown. He came to the studio after I moved it to LA, and we talked about the concept of what I was trying to achieve with the song. He spent a week writing the words to the "rap" part, and it only took about five minutes to record it. All told, this song took a lot of time...I worked on it off and on for almost a year before it was done. It never fails to put me in a good mood though: its just completely out of its mind:)
"Midnite Rendezvous" just came to me one night when i was in one of those sexy, romantic kind of moods, sitting at the piano in the studio. It was a quick one, just stormed into me one night, and nearly recorded itself. Definitely THE smooth jazz track of this project IMO.
I'm sure all of you have known the pain of a relationship that didn't work out. When you truly love someone, and they go away, it can be a painful experience. For me, that feeling of lonliness is captured in the last song on the CD, "House of Broken Dreams". This song is mostly piano, and it still pains me to listen to it to this day. Its the favorite of many on the whole CD.
All in all, this CD took me two and a half years to make: and it will take you an hour and one minute to listen to. Enjoy it. I hope that the music strikes a chord in you somewhere, and you will be transported to new places in your heart, your soul, and your thinking.