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There's a slight Chicago flavour to this episode. Drummer Charles Rumback hooked up with noted New Orleans bassist James Singleton for Rumback's latest recording, Cadillac Turns. In an odd twist of strange, Singleton approached a jet-lagged Rumback in a bar in Sydney Australia and said he had seen Rumback playing in a Chicago bar a few nights earlier. Turns out Rumback had seen Singleton there as well, but didn't approach the bassist who has been a favourite of the drummer since Rumback had seen him as a kid in Kansas City. Guitarist Dan Phillips calls Chicago home where he works with the best of that city's improvisers, but he also calls Thailand home; he teaches guitar at a university there. Meanwhile saxophonist Dave Rempis is a Chicago fixture, working in the creative scene there, as well as running his own label, Aerophonic, which has just released a new album by another of Rempis' trios: Kuzu. All of these Chicago guys have another thing in common: they get around. And so does their music.
As a songwriter and vocalist, I love jazz for the experience of being in the center of intense creativity. It is the most potent form of music for keeping the artist and the audience in the 'now. Being in the moment is essential for humans, and we need help in learning how to do that. As a songwriter, I need the depth of musicality that jazz voicings can give my stories. My songs seem light and whimsical, but the message is not.
I met my main collaborator, Mark Fitzgibbon, at one of his gigs. I needed to do my first original album, and his playing was masterful, robust, and beautiful. At the time, I didn't realize how suited we were as a team. We're onto our 4rth album together.
My advice to new listeners is to listen to a really clear and simple version of a song so you can then hear what the musicians are doing and enjoy their creativity and musicality. Also, you have to see jazz live to appreciate it fully. You'll never feel it the same way listening to a CD or online. You need the vibration to go through your body to really get it!
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