This album reflects the new paths my life and my music have taken since my move to the San Francisco Bay Area. The move brought me to a rich and beautiful life with my wife Amy and my son Lev and into a wonderful community of family and friends. It also put me back in touch with two truly amazing musicians: Randy Porter, with whom I grew up in San Diego (and recorded my first record), and Akira Tana, with whom I studied as a grad student at Rutgers University. I met the talented and intuitive bassist John Wiitala on my first gig in the Bay Area, which happened to be my own wedding to Amy (with Lev listening in utero). I hope that you enjoy and are in some way touched by this music, which for me represents the convergence of so many meaningful paths in my life. Modern jazz greats like Dave Holland and Chris Potter inspired Converging Paths. It gave me a chance to explore odd time signatures (the A section is in 10/4) and to write for a larger horn section. Wiggle Room is dedicated to the open, joyful sound of Eddie Blackwell's drumming, and all the great music he inspired. Akira and John give this an effortless feel while Gene plays a soaring bass clarinet solo. There's a beautiful place on Tomales Bay in Point Reyes, CA called Heart's Desire. The song was coaxed into existence by the rich tone of a Mason and Hamlin piano loaned to us by some very great friends. Welcoming popped into my head as I carried my infant son up and down the streets of Berkeley. Mixed with the excitement is a definite strain of apprehension. We decided to play Soul Eyes, a beautiful standard ballad by Mal Waldron, late Sunday night, so we turned off all the lights in the studio and recorded this in one take. Many sections, unusual harmonies, and different solo changes for each instrument make Imagined Worlds the most complicated arrangement on the album. Eric's flugal horn solo knocks me out every time. The logic unique to very verbal two year olds inspired Lev Logic, a quirky 12 bar blues, since the IV chord happens in the 7th rather than the 5th bar. Randy's solo swings like crazy on this one. Romance for Amy is a jazz waltz dedicated to my beautiful soul mate. Blue Skies reworks Irving Berlin's standard, reharmonized with the A sections in 7/4 and the bridge in 4/4 but stretched out twice as long. Contemplation is dedicated to my favorite jazz composers and the golden age of Blue Note records, which produced so much great music.
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