“Quicker Than The Eye” by Cadwallader, Asetta & Dixson
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Quicker Than The Eye (Stanza USA) by Cadwallader, Asetta & Dixson
Ive had this idea in my head for a long time, writing a collection
of tunes for a CD about magic. You might well ask, why?
As a child, I was captivated by the notion that magic was possible
in the world, and that the unseen
was just as real as the seen. I reveled in the belief that
leprechauns, witches, ghosts, dragons, fairies,
giants and goblins really existed. It seemed completely possible
that the things just outside of my
vision would one day make themselves known to me. I believed that
the word Abracadabra could
make something appear or disappear if only it was said just right,
and that invisibility and flying
werent reserved only for dreams. Making magic was a skill to be
perfected, like writing and playing
basketball. I marveled at real magicians of the past - Houdini and
The Amazing Blackstone - and
was later dazzled by the high-tech sorcery of David Copperfield and
Doug Henning on television.
My life has always been filled with magical tales: Sleeping Beauty
and Cinderella, the tales of the
Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Anderson, the happily believable
comic books and cartoon films
of Walt Disney and Warner Brothers. I was thrilled and terrified by
the adventures of Dorothy,
Scarecrow, Tin Man and Lion in The Wizard of Oz, and the Tales of
the Arabian Nights, with
flying carpets, magic lamps that were home to genies, giant flying
rocs, evil wizards and all the rest
were my happy refuge on rainy days.
As an adult, starting with Lord Of The Rings, I explored just about
every fantasy epic I could get
my hands on, and have largely managed to keep a belief in things
magical and supernatural alive. I
believe that The Force is with me most of the time, and like all of
these stories that from childhood
have enchanted me, I believe that love and faith will ultimately
triumph over hatred and evil.
Writing the music for this cd was greatly enjoyable. I was engaged
in both the challenge of writing
the songs and coming up with the titles that conveyed a magical idea
or image. I confess that I
actually had a list of titles before I had any music written, and
that I had many more titles than I
needed. Some songs I wrote first, and then applied what seemed like
an appropriate title from my
list. Other songs, though, were written having first been given a
title. I say all of this only to let
you in on the secret that not all songs are about something - but
some definitely are.
I had already decided that Quicker Than The Eye would be the
title of the cd, and I was
committed to it being a samba. I have always loved Chick Corea's
"Spain," so it also seemed
natural to write a recurring unison line that would set off the
various sections of the piece. The title
"Dirty Tricks" is, Ill admit, a stretch, but it seemed to portray
the funky feel that I was going for
with this tune.
I had originally written "My Lovely Assistant" as a two-beat swing
tune, and I wanted to use the
tune but couldnt reconcile that style with the rest of the songs Id
written. It was Arti who
suggested the straight eighth note feel with brushes, and that was a
true inspiration that brought the
song to life. Houdini came into being as a pair of altered scales a
whole-step apart - the resulting
melody is suggestive of mysticism and the repeating cycle of
unresolved chords implies the infinite
and eternal. After all, Houdini did say that if there was a way of
returning from the hereafter, he
would find it.
"Can You Keep A Secret" is my gentle reminder that even if we know
the secret of a trick, maybe it would be best to keep it to
and not spoil the effect. "Nothing Up My Sleeve" is anything but
gentle, a rocking blues-shuffle that also borrows the turnaround
Chick Corea. I love chord progressions that avoid resolution until
the last possible moment, in this case not until beat one of the
Years ago Nat Adderly wrote two tunes, "Fun and Games" that were
recorded on Cannonball's album, Mercy, Mercy, Mercy, and I
always thought that it would be fun to use the same kind of
wordplay for a couple of songs. For this cd the two tunes turned
out to be two halves of the same
phrase and the first of these, "Now You See It...", is a medium-up
swing with a straight-ahead
groove and a repeating riff that separates the thematic repetitions
and solos. The second,
"...Now You Dont", is an up-tempo modal swing that goes out on a
couple of musical limbs.
"White Doves and Purple Silk" seems to me evocative of the beauty of
movement and color that a
truly great magician imparts to his performance. And
"Prestidigitation" is just that: a fast-fingered
foray into the realm of musical magic.
To my parents Rex and Lois Cadwallader, already gone from this life,
I lovingly dedicate this music,
both in the writing and the making. Ill be eternally grateful to
them for bringing music and magic
into my life and for letting me have my dreams.
And to Nancy, who encourages and helps me to bring my musical dreams
to life, Night and Day,
you are (still and always) the one.
The real magicians in this musical adventure, though, are Mike and
Arti. Their unflagging energy
and emotion, their creative soloing and their solid supportive
musicianship have given the music
more than just the illusion of reality, and that's what real magic
is all about.
We started mixing this album on Friday the 13th, the day Harry
Houdini said hed communicate to
the world from beyond the grave. Thanks, Harry - it was nice
working with you!
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