, alto saxophone, bass clarinet; Chris Speed
, tenor sax, clarinet; Kurt Rosenwinkel
, guitar and Jim Black
, drums—was one of New York's most distinctive downtown bands of the mid-'90s, when Songlines was doing a lot of recording in New York. (Jim Black had already been on Dave Douglas’s Tiny Bell Trio, Ellery Eskelin’s Jazz Trash and Ben Monder’s Flux.) Speak to It
, their fourth CD, was released in 1996 to critical acclaim, but somehow the band subsequently lost momentum, everyone was busy with their own projects, and the Feel only reformed in 2007 and again in 2016 and after for tours and recordings (most recently Gold
, Intakt, 2019). Meanwhile Jim Black and Chris Speed performed together in bands that took some of the Feel spirit further in their own directions, including Speed’s Yeah No
(3 CDs on Songlines, 1997-2000), Black’s AlasNoAxis
, and Endangered Blood
(formed 2008). Black also plays in the Andrew D’Angelo Trio. Earlier
, D’Angelo appeared on Songlines in a trio with Black and guitarist Hilmar Jensson, Tyft
(2002) and they are also on Jensson’s 2004 quintet record Ditty Blei
(the latter recorded in DSD and released on SACD).
25 years on, Speed discovered the Speak to It
¼” mixes, thought to be lost, while clearing out his Brooklyn apartment. Uniquely in the Songlines catalogue, analogue session tapes had been mixed to analogue rather than digital. Using today’s much improved converters and software, this new high-res (24/192) transfer and Chris Gestrin’s excellent remastering reveal for the first time just how vivid this music should sound (and on a high-end system, the 192K is superior to the 96K). Improvements in clarity, timbre, texture and dynamics can still be heard at regular resolution, and so this digital-only remaster replaces the original digital release (the CD is not being remastered).
As for the music on Speak to It
, the compositions are by D’Angelo, Black and Speed, and there’s a cover of the Waldron-Holiday ballad “Left Alone” by Holly Palmer that beautifully inhabits the in-between sonic world Human Feel perfected.