Improvised soundtracks in motion pictures have a venerable tradition. Perhaps the best known among them remains trumpeter Miles Davis' Ascenceur Pour L'Echafaut (Fontana, 1958). Film director Jorge Rubiera, who had made a documentary on the intrepid drummer Abbey Rader, approached him for a score for his project "Phenobarbital." Rader together with longtime collaborator saxophonist John McMinn spontaneously created music for Rubiera. The resulting Phenobarbital Sessions is as unique and as dramatic as the artistic visions of all involved.
The sixteen tracks on the album reflect the various moods of the tense story of Rubiera's work. McMinn's contemplative reflective piano marks the haunting "Pecan Trees" that concludes with a dissonant and percussive duet with Rader. While "Argument" features Rader's thunderous drums and McMinn's fiery saxophone overlapping passionate phrases.
Drawing inspiration from the movie's dramatic action the two musicians create delightful tension. The hallucinatory "Asleep at the Wheel" contrast superbly with Rader's brief rolling solo on "Wandering." The mournful and solemn "Out of Breath" complements the energetic and otherworldly "Evening News." The latter opens with McMinn manipulating the strings of the piano only to transition into playing angular and vaguely bluesy chords on the keys.
Rader brings a strong spirituality to the recording such as on "Tipp's Notebook" with his Eastern themed percussion. McMinn follows suit with his expectant and somber piano phrases. Together they create a sublime piece. This is not the sole moment where their strong camaraderie is on display. The complex "Puzzle" has McMinn's warm and wailing alto flowing with agility over the dense and intricate rhythmic patterns that Rader's beats lay out for the melody.
There seem to be no limit to Rader's innovative spirit. Phenobarbital Sessions is another successful example of his collaborative and boldly original output. Together with like-minded McMinn, Rader has constructed a musical answer to Rubiera's singular cinema.
Track Listing: Envelope; Puzzle; Accident; Pecan Trees; Argument; Asleep at the Wheel; Wandering;
Confrontation; Socked in the Jaw; Out of Breath; Evening News; Strangulation;
Return; Premeditated; Tippi's Notebook; Payphone.
I was first exposed to Jazz when a couple of dear friends of mine turned me onto it around 1971. I was already into Progressive music, R n' B, Soul, Motown, Latin Rock and other styles that were a great ladder to Jazz
I was first exposed to Jazz when a couple of dear friends of mine turned me onto it around 1971. I was already into Progressive music, R n' B, Soul, Motown, Latin Rock and other styles that were a great ladder to Jazz.
Being a Musician myself, (Lead Guitar/Bass Guitar), I studied at the Dick Grove School of Music with Dick Grove, Jeff Richman and Lee Ritenour. This was around '84-'85. I started playing the Guitar in November 1967. Playing Guitar came quite naturally to me thank goodness. Though I spent hours upon hours practicing while my school buddies were doing Sports.
It was in the early '70s that I really got into Jazz, Jazz Rock, Jazz Fusion and World Music. Seeing Weather Report, Miles Davis, Wayne Shorter, Larry Carlton, Steely Dan, John McLaughlin and the Mahavishnu Orchestra, RTF, Herbie Hancock and the Headhunters, VSOP, Freddie Hubbard and so many, many more amazing artists opened my eyes to the beauty and eloquent nature of Jazz. I really love the brilliant ensemble playing that is in Jazz!!
When I play and write music, it blends so many style together. Many fans ask me why my playing sounds so jazzy. It's because I understand Blue Notes, the phrasing, the tonality, time signatures and more. I can also play Rock, Folk, Soul, R n' B and other styles too. I seem to gravitate more and more as I get older to a jazzier style. Currently I'm 62 years old. I have released 2 CDs world-wide. Working on my 3rd.
I also teach Guitar/Bass/Music Theory to my students. They range from 6 years old to much, much older. (I was hired by the City of Aurora, CO to teach ages 6-13 specifically). Currently I teach 41 children in 5 classes. Additionally another 7 private students.
My wife, Meesh, and I love Jazz dearly. It was one of the things that we share together!
Most of the people that I know today do not get jazz. I try to explain what to listen for, but many times the music of Jazz is a bit much for them. So be it.
In a nutshell, I live, breath and listen to Music 24/7. No TV except the Food Channel and Weather.
I love John Kelman's articles. They are so insightful and well-constructed!
Thank you all for doing what you do.