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blizz blazz

A couple of years back, on the heels of a successful CD, we three kings, we decided that our next CD would be all originals from top to bottom.

We also figured that the current way of doing recordings is a way of getting rid of most of what we find exciting about jazz. These days, each musician gets into a soundproof booth and plays his part over and over till it's perfect, then they cut and paste them all together by computer to make one big performance. This kind of recording -- multitracking -- has been around in one form or other since the late 60s, and it's great for certain kinds of music. Beck, for instance, or the Chemical Brothers. But not what we do.

So. We got together, just like we had with our previous CD, in one room, placed the instruments just so, got some good mics and a good engineer, and played our hearts out. Not good enough. We threw that material away, and tried it again. Second time we played our hearts out again, but the mics kept picking up a radio station.

Third time, new engineer, new mics, and a new approach. Sure enough, it sounded great. All in all we did three sessions with the new setup, creating ten new recordings, fresh as can be, of all original material. Straight to two-track tape, no remixing, multitracking, fake reverb, or cheesy effects. Just us, having the time of our lives.

Meanwhile, Paul Soupiset put together a truly incredible art package for us, in the manner of an old Blue Note cover. With Eric Lewis's spot-on engineering, and mastering by the magic-eared Nolan Brett, we wound up with a CD that we're really pleased with.

Introducing Blizz Blazz.


Some one minute samples:

THE SHOWER SONG real | mp3
a snappy set opener, with lots of room for each of us. barry wrote it in the shower.
BABY TALK intro real
change a few chords in the 12-bar form, and you've got a jazzy lullaby. note darren's innovative, gentle soloing.
BABY TALK more real | mp3
we guess the jazz baby is more awake at this point.
CHACONNE real | mp3
based on an ancient bass line that still somehow sounds cool after all these centuries. this tempo is what we refer to as the protag wide swing. yeah.
PORTA real | mp3
a peppy bossa. greg loves doin' those unison lines.
TIP JAR real | mp3
more trademark protagonists -- that exhilarating upward-spiralling swing. (how does darren change from brushes to sticks while grooving?)
LUNITUDE real | mp3
yeaahh, greg. that's the coolest bass solo we've ever heard. man, that sounds good.
GET BUSY real | mp3
this is the out head, where for some reason we slid into this groovy 3/4 march. a lot of these songs, by the way, we did in one take, and you're listening to the first time we'd ever played this one. freshness, baby.
50-50 real | mp3
a standard for us (written by darren). this time, though, we were in an odd mood and gave it a lee-morgan-ramsey-lewis kind of feel, but very loosened up, mussing with the r&b beat and giving it a free, syncopated feel. every time we hear it, it makes us want to do the snoopy dance.
SANHEDRIN theme real | mp3
another darren kuper composition. one thing that makes this melody so haunting is darren's instruction that it be played out of time.
SANHEDRIN development real | mp3
this is chamber music: greg laying down a hypnotic beat that's still responsive to the other players, darren tapping and weaving, barry exploring exotic scales and modes -- and it all hangs together.
what is it about G blues that gets us in such a loose, silly mood?