THE TITLE for Tiger Tail is kind of embarrassing actually. It’s something from my childhood. I’d written the title track and didn’t have a name for it and was thinking about significant things in my life. With the 6/4 feel, bass line, and melody it seemed really appropriate. I had planned on making that the title track even going into the session. I had played it live once before and it just had the energy of a title track in my mind. The cover art was painted by my Aunt. She was in a Chinese Restaurant and painted the lanterns that were hanging there. She’s a retired professional, symphony violinist from Ontario and has taken up painting in her retirement. I thought it would be a nice fit since there are still Tigers in South China.
Blackball: One of my favorite eras in jazz is the hard bob era and I have been heavily influenced by Blue Note artists such as Wayne Shorter, Freddie Hubbard, Lee Morgan, Hank Mobley, Jackie McLean, Jimmy Smith, Horace Silver, and Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers. These musicians, among many others, inspired me to write my own hard bop tune. This tune is dedicated to my friends Kevin and Weronika Miller. The title comes from an inside joke Kevin and I had in college and has continued with his wife Weronika who he met after college. It also comes from playing Snooker with my dad.
High Priestess: I grew up listening to jazz fusion and had always wanted to record a tune with Fender Rhodes. This tune actually came from some ideas during a coffeeshop gig I played with guitarist Charlie Ballantine years ago. Charlie didn’t play on this album but did produce it. We were playing the tune Beatrice which High Priestess is a contrafact of.
The Queen of Cups: This was a tune I had written back in 2017. I wanted to write something more spacey and mysterious. I had recently met the pianist on this album, Christopher Pitts, and we had played together a lot at jam sessions and gigs. I specifically wrote this tune with Chris in mind because of his ability to take chances and explore different tonalities in solos. We’ve played this tune many times and I always let Chris take the first solo. The song always takes a different but exciting direction.
Tiger Tail: My most recent composition. I have been greatly inspired by the John Coltrane Quartet and wanted to capture the energy and spirituality of his music of the 60’s. I wanted to have a big, driving bass line in 6/4 with a soaring tenor melody. This tune in many ways feels like my self portrait, especially from the last seven years of my life. It has been a period filled with both personal and musical growth but also great pain physically and emotionally. Like a tiger, this song shows great strength but also vulnerability.
Atlantic Mirror: This was one of the duo tunes written by pianist Christopher Pitts. He says that it is about a time he was traveling to and from Europe and thinking about how it reflects two different pictures of the same life. Chris is from the United States but has lived in Europe for years off and on.
The Downey Wives: This tune was written while working for Celebrity Cruises during one of our Caribbean runs. It was near the end of a six-month contract and I was beginning to feel homesick. I’d be able to experience moments of paradise but knowing I’d have to return to the ship soon made it hard to truly relax. This song is how I imagined life would be if I didn’t board the ship and stayed on the island. When I returned home, I dedicated this song to my friends Chad and Courtney Downey and played it at their wedding. I even wrote special lyrics to go along with it but have always performed it as an instrumental.
Woodruff Place Town Hall: It was written originally for the Pork and Beans Brass Band. Most performances of this tune have been played in a NOLA style with Sousaphone but I also heard the tune as a Jazz-Funk with electric bass. I started with a Sousaphone line and the rest came from that. That line was later adapted to electric bass.
Going for Radio Adds
April 29, 2022
1,4,5,6 Latin 6