Alba-Meditations on Sunrise
This music celebrates improvisation, intention, and most of all spontaneity. The music is almost completely impromptu - composed in the moment as it was performed. With the exception of one track, "Saygita's Dawn," we had no written music in front of us and no preconceived notion of key, tonality, rhythm, or length. In each case we took a deep breath, looked at each other, and starting playing. What you hear is very close to what came out. In some of the tracks we improvised over a previously recorded material. I chose Alba, a melodious word which means dawn, or daybreak in Spanish, to represent this album because when we convened for the recording sessions that eventually became this album, the music that emerged had a new age, early morning-sentiment. And, since this is my first CD, and also the first for David Rudge and Peter Dubner, this album represents a something of sunrise in our musical lives. Between November 2008 and May 2009 we recorded more than 25 hours of music. What's here is what emerged after hours of listening, editing, and in some cases even 'composing' tracks by layering together. But for the most part, you're hearing single takes from start to finish. I hope you find this music relaxing, inspiring, motivating, and overall something you'll look forward to experiencing -- like a glorious sunrise! The Music: The title track Alba is an improvisation over the Japanese Koto playing of Eric Miller and the Swiss "Hang" (a metal hand drum) played by Ron Kravitz. The second track, Noesis, is a Greek word meaning he ability to sense, or know something, immediately. I recorded each of the five musical layers. To me, it sounds like a cello in a Gothic church in France. Next, Eclectacy is music of sheer joy - it combines piano, Indian flute, and cello, and ends with a lot of victorious energy. The plucked instrument in Tonkori Dreams is a less well known Japanese instrument, and this track is another improvisation over an existing track. Whispering Sunrise is the result of in-the-moment improvisation by Peter Dubner, keyboard, and Clint Goss on Native American Flute during a break in our recording session. Thankfully, the recording system was still running! I layered the cello after the break, while listening to their improvisation. Native American Flute gives this track an ethereal tone. There are four String Silhouettes, each a duet with violin and cello, and each expressing a type of musical energy inspired largely by the Czech composer Zoltán Kodály who composed a famous cello and violin duet. You also may hear some reminiscences of Aaron Copland in this track as well. Blue Sunrise is a dark brooding duet, but tinged with a jazzy feel. Celestial Winter, another cello/piano duet, contrasts the blues feeling with an expansive tonality. Saygita's Dream is based on a melody composed by Peter Dubner. You'll hear the traditional Indian tambura which is a drone note that sets the key. After short improvised introduction, the piano introduces the melody and the cello playing riffs on this very exotic and tantric melody. Winter Muse was 'composed' by Clint Goss and who layered of several tracks on top of each other to brilliant effect. It's just two of us playing, though it sounds like an full string orchestra. Hearts Assemble is more upbeat, with Peter's piano introduction setting the basic energy level. On Electric Slam Funk, I had switched to electric cello. This created a different energy, and this is the music that emerged is decidedly different from everything that came before. We took it further and added a "funk" rhythm. T's a different feel rom the earlier music, but the upbeat flow is a great counterbalance. Clearly the sun has risen! In Dark Winter Embers, we're back in the deep cold tundra -- there's nothing better than two cellos and a double bass to evoke distance, and a cold brooding dawn. Do you want to say who's playing on this? How/where it was recorded?? Chances Are is joyful and victorious. The melodies are spontaneous, but to me, it sounds like a film score. First Release was just that - the first track we recorded. When we finished it, we knew we had started on a fantastic musical journey, which now closes out this album. The last String Silhouette is a bonus track - just for kicks. I think you'll be able to tell that David and I we were punch drunk on music at this point, and you can taste our joy in playing wonderful music together! The Musicians Eugene Carr (cello) originally trained at the Juilliard School, and then earned undergraduate degrees at both the Oberlin Conservatory and Oberlin College. During that time he performed in over 50 countries overseas with orchestras and in chamber music groups. More recently, he been a resident cellist at Congregation B'nai Jeshurun in New York City since 2001. Gene's musical activities today are mainly focused in the world of free improvisation. He participates regularly in workshops and concerts of improvised music. This is his first CD. In 'real life,' Gene is a graduate of Columbia Business School and the founder/president of Patron Technology, which provides the Web-based PatronMail e-mail system and other technology over 1,700 non-profit arts & cultural organizations across the country and around the world. Peter Dubner (piano, keyboard), a self-taught pianist, is an avid composer, performer, and recording enthusiast. His music reflects his appreciation of a wide range of genres including blues, jazz, rock, gospel, classical, musical theater, ethnic, and world music. Recent musical projects include writing and recording piano backing tracks for Native American Flute, performing regularly as vocalist in a gospel choir, and working on a compilation of original compositions for an upcoming CD. He is a graduate of Music for People's four-year Musicianship program. Beyond the world of music, Peter is active in executive coaching and has additional experience in strategic marketing and finance. David Rudge (violin) is the Director of The Improv. Collective, a performing ensemble based at State University of New York - Fredonia. He is closely associated with Music for People, and has taught free improvisation in the US and abroad. As an improvising musician, he has studied and/or performed with Paul Winter, Paul Horn, Walter Thompson, Arthur Hull, Don Campbell; and has conducted for David Darling and Jean-Luc Ponty. His day-job is an orchestra and opera conductor. The Thanks: This album owes it's existence to two people and one institution. The first is David Darling, the brilliant and inspiring cellist who leads annual workshops as part of 'Music for People,' a non-profit he founded more than 20 years ago. The organization is decided to encouraging traditionally trained professional and non-professional musicians into the world of free improvisation. I attended workshops several years ago and my musical life changed as I realized that I could make better music without a piece of printed music in front of me, than I ever imagined. David's encouragement and energy served as my muse. It was at those workshops that I was introduced to an entire community of musicians all of whom live in the world of free improvisation. David Rudge and I started playing duets together and realized that with our traditional classical training we bring a structured and harmonic language which grounds our playing. Once we started playing with keyboard/pianist Peter Dubner, whose fingers never stop moving from the moment he sits at the keyboard, I knew something special was happening. The other person is Clint Goss, a true renaissance man. With a background in computer science, he's also a multi-talented musician, recording engineer, and much more. I'm thrilled that this album is on his 'Manifest Spirit' label. We recorded this album in his studio, and he's done an amazing job of editing and mixing. Most importantly, it is his enthusiasm for the potential of this album that propelled it forward. Other thanks are due to the many people that responded to our request on Facebook for help in naming the album and the tracks. The album name comes from jazz pianist Pedro Sarmiento in Madrid, and individual track names were suggested by Judi Ribbler, Jessica Zimmerman, Steve Brock, Peter Dubner, and Clint Goss. Recorded and edited and mixed by Clint Goss, Manifest Spirit Records Mastering by Gene Paul at DBPlus, New York.