For co-leaders Justin Flynn and Jeremy Bacon, their musical travels together began well before this record was made. As Flynn says, "We had played together as a duo and in a number of larger groups, and our musical affinity was complemented by our friendship. It seemed natural to try to capture both on a recording." The next question, adds Bacon, was whom to get to complete the quartet, Big Train. "There was no need to pare down a list this time-we knew right away that we wanted Jeff Ballard and Ugonna Okegwo. We had musical and personal relationships with these two brilliant musicians, and we knew this group's chemistry would bring our originals to life." The first track, Koan, was inspired by the Zen teaching tool, a paradoxical dialogue or question designed to guide a student to enlightenment. The tune features a recurring rhythmic figure that drives the band forward into each solo. The intro was suggested in the studio by Jeff, who masterfully recapped it as a spontaneous outro. The Philosopher's Stone is a hard swinger in the vein of Wayne Shorter's "Capricorn" or "Speak No Evil". The Owl, the first tune that Jeremy composed for this record, suggests not so much a wise old bird but a nocturnal predator in flight. Low Speak is Bacon's tricky arrangement of Kurt Weill's classic "Speak Low," with the original melody displaced by one beat and the bridge played in 3/4 time. (Continued in liner notes) Justin Flynn and Jeremy Bacon have played and recorded with some of the biggest names in jazz. Based in New York, this band draws strongly from the jazz tradition while maintaining it's own modern identity. Their debut album is strongly melodic, hard swinging, and rhythmically interactive. Big Train says, "Enjoy the ride!"
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