Dave Binney - saxophones
Chris Guilfoyle - guitar
Ronan Guilfoyle - bass, compositions
Tom Rainey - drums
Welcome to 'Hands', my new CD with Dave Binney, Chris Guilfoyle, and Tom Rainey. We recorded it in New York last year at the renowned Systems Two studios. After a typically short but efficient NY rehearsal at Michiko Studios, we recorded the album in two 4-hour sessions. The music is challenging for the players, but at this level of musicianship even the most daunting of challenges is surmounted with ease and we were able to get straight to the music.
I've been in interested in extended form in jazz composition for more than 20 years now, and three of pieces - 'In Fairness', 'Close Call', and 'Hands' all come under this heading. 'Hands' in particular has an interesting history - originally a bass figure I improvised in a studio recording, I later transcribed it and expanded it into the first movement of my 'Concerto for Electric Guitar and Orchestra' in 2012. Here's I've gone in the opposite direction and re-transcribed the first movement of this big piece for the the more intimate setting of the quartet. It's been interesting for me to see how much can change and evolve as you keep adapting the same piece for different formats, and I think 'Hands' comes off as a very unusual piece in this context.
The other pieces are simpler - 'Sneaky' and 'Telemachus' are groove pieces, 'Krystal' a lyrical ballad, and 'Nod' a burning blues to finish it off. We really had fun in the studio and standard of musicianship was extraordinary. I know Tom for over twenty years and love playing with him - he's an extraordinarily creative drummer who always places his brilliant technique at the service of the music. The same can be said for Dave Binney, with whom I've also worked before, and it's no accident that he's at the forefront of the contemporary New York jazz scene. My son Chris was making his recording debut here, and though he was in heavy company, he was completely undaunted and played the music, both written and improvised, with a skill and maturity well beyond his years. As I know he would. I encouraged him by telling him that if he made any mistakes he was out of the family!
Listening to the album now, a year after the recording, I'm very happy with it. Though the pieces were composed at different times, and sometimes for different settings, I chose them carefully with a view to creating a coherent sound and concept that would make the album have personal and unitary identity, And I feel it does that. I also feel it represents well something I've been working on for years - the combination of composition and improvisation as being equal parts in a creative whole.
I hope you enjoy the music and if you're one of those people who, like me, likes having something tangible alongside the music itself, then I hope this recording will become part of your collection. You can buy it HERE