Review / Description
Well, it seems like it’s taken years to finish the CD, and for good reason it has! In fact, when we started this thing vinyl records were still hip! Well, it hasn’t been quite that long but it sure did feel like it I think it was worth the wait and hopefully you listeners will agree?
It all started about 3 years ago when I was over Gregg’s house one evening. He was plucking away on his guitar, as he usually does when you enter his confines, so I picked up a drum (as a percussionist should) and started playing with him. We ran through the tune a few times and it really swung, so we decided we should record it. Off to the studio we went, which happens to be a short journey, 12 steps down to his basement. We laid down two rhythm tracks in 5/4 time and later we each added instruments to fatten it up a bit. It sounded great but it needed something else. It needed a sax in the mix. The problem was neither of us could play the thing – we needed help. So we called on Middle Eastern Jazz great, Sudan Baronian. We knew he would work cheap because he happened to have the same last name as I did (he also happens to be my dad). It took us a while to pin him down on a date, but we finally caught him between European tours. He came and banged it out in a few takes. We mixed it and named it “Five for Chick,” five for the meter and Chick for jazz pianist, Chick Corea. We both found the result very rewarding and knew that musically things just worked. Between us we had enough material and resources to put together a CD thus the project began.
The next piece at hand is a tune called “Hitchhiking in Khartoum” I m not quite sure how I came up with the title but, then again, I’m sure you listeners don’t really care I originally wrote the piece for a band called “Mother of all Blizzards” of which I was part, along with fellow members Gregg Terlizzi and Joel Bachrach, keyboards and friend. The melody was composed on a kaval, a small wooden flute from Egypt (probably how I came up with the title) When we jammed, other melodies started popping up I credit Gregg and Joel for that, so the jam became part of the tune Unfortunately Joel never made it to the studio version (next time my friend) so Sudan comped me on soprano sax Take note of the great bass work by Gregg.
Steve Bogoshian a B-flat clarinet player (as opposed to G, which sounds a bit different hear for yourself) was our next guest musician Steve couldn’t wait to record with us, well that’s not entirely true In fact, it’s not true at all’ I nearly had to club him over the head and drag him to the studio
Once we got there he said he only had a few takes in him because he had to get up early the next day. A couple of glasses of Cabernet Sauvignon, a few ticks of the clock (approximately 3 hours) and Steve was still blowing it out trying to find a solo he was happy with. Unbeknownst to him, Gregg and I were ecstatic after the first take but who are we to interfere with a man and his horn (not to be confused with Kirk Douglas). Gregg and I completed the rest of the tune and called it “Swing 116” (GreggÍs studio number).
Sudan Baronian gets credit for “8th Sky” being that he wrote it He composed the piece about 10 years ago while in Switzerland. The song wasn’t written with a guitar in mind but Gregg took it upon himself to add one When he played it for me on guitar I thought it sounded great. I’ve heard and played the song a hundred times but it took on a whole new feel So we recorded it as a sort of tribute to my dad and his music. We did, however, take some creative liberties I hope you like it, old man Remember tributes have their price.
“For Eddie’s Ears” is a song named after my godfather, Eddie Malkasian He’s since moved on to a better place and never actually heard the tune but I know he’s out there listening This piece features Gregg quite a bit and is a nice change of pace on the CD Enjoy it. Uncle Eddie’
Next up is “Which Way’s Wes” named after the end of all guitar players, Wes Montgomery This song was written more like a standard jazz tune than the rest of our pieces with Gregg adding some octave chords-classic Wes Sudan Baronian took a great soprano sax solo and one of my favorite drummers, Mal Stem, helped me round out the rhythm section.
“Tales of Uncommon Time,” an appropriate title due to its multiple meters, 16/8 5/4 7/8 4/4, was our next effort First order of priority was to find a drummer who was comfortable playing in those times Mal Stem was the logical choice So Mal, bless his heart, made the trek from lower Manhattan one evening to lay down the drum track while I played guitar True to form, a couple of takes later a solid groove was set hats off to ya, Mal! Gregg added some nice mandolin work and Sudan made the final touches on the G-clarinet (as opposed to a B-flat).
Laz is a term sometimes used in Middle Eastern music to describe a specific 7/8 meter With that meter in mind, throw in some rock chords and jazz chords and you have a fusion tune appropriately named “Seven”.