Bar code: 8427328436496
When I was a kid, a Fresh Sound album was a ticket to the wider world of jazz and music. All the hippest players were on Fresh Sound- Mehldau, Rosenwinkel, Mark Turner, Chris Cheek, and the Bad Plus. It’s an honor and my privilege to present this new trio on this great label.
Brief notes on the tunes: “Stephen Paul;” full name— Stephen Paul Motian. A blues in D with three themes, on “Saturday” we get in the car and swing out. “Don’t mention the war” comes of course from John Cleese and “Fawlty Towers”. Ethan and Michael bring out the absurdity of that phrase. The scale fragment with curlicuing bass motion suggested a “Veiled Promise”; a simple idea with uncomfortable complexity underneath. “Just Forget It” was written as a vehicle for Ethan, perfect for his emotional complex soloing. When he’s not making us laugh, he’s making us cry. Right? I don’t know. Just forget it. Another invocation, “Hyman Arluck” begins the second half of the album. Hyman Arluck this is the name by which Harold Arlen was known at the beginning of his life. The melody tries to depict the pain of the early-20th century Jewish diaspora. Erroll Garner was well known in his lifetime, maybe even famous, but were we fooled by his affable performing style? We might have been; he quipped that one musician’s description of him as ‘untrained yet sophisticated’ playing was “too Angular Saxon for me!”. Depths, depths. If “Saturday” is the blues, then “Sunday” must be rhythm changes. Michael really owns this one. David Byrne sang that ‘heaven is a place where nothing happens’. That lyric inspired the melody, and Ethan plays an inspired intro. Bravo, and thank you. We close with our theme, and old tune of mine called “One Hour”, coloring outside the lines for just a second at the Van Gelder Studio.
Thank you for reading these notes, and I hope you enjoy the album. Thanks again to Ethan, Michael, Don and Maureen, and Jordi Pujol for making this recording happen. As Sonny Rollins says, “Jazz goes on and on and on.”
—Vinnie Sperrazza (January, 2023)