Son of August
Michael Blake, saxophones; Brad Shepik, guitar; Tony Scherr, guitar, bass guitar; Mike Sarin, drums; Peter Scherr, bass, leader The idea for this album was simple: an excuse to make music with a saxophones whom I have admired for many years: Michael Blake. Originally we were going to do a tour of China in the summer of 2008, but the 08 Olympics complicated arrangements surrounding this tour to the point where I felt it best to cancel. The record came up, because I still wanted to make music with Mr. Blake, and the easiest thing seemed to be to go to where MB and all those great musicians lived, and do it there. I wrote most of the music in the scorching month of August, hence all of the songs with August in the title. A lot of sweaty palms at the piano. I knew that I wanted the music to rock, and to stink of jazz. So I would need the very best kind of musical help: I knew that I wanted to have my brother Tony on electric guitar. He is my favorite electric guitarist. Of course I am prejudiced, but I feel that he is one of the most interesting slide guitarists on the planet. Of course you need all the great ones. But Tony's right up there. I knew that I wanted Mike Sarin on drums. I had played with him once before in NY with my band Headache, and I knew that he would make the most out of material that straddled jazz and rock, placing his very rhythmic feet firmly in both styles. And I needed another voice as well. I wanted someone that would compliment Tony's beautifully ham-fisted approach with one of literacy, sophistication and incredible urgency. Brad Shepik. Perfect. I'd wanted to jam with him for years as well. Tony, lest you take offense, ham-fisted is a deep compliment in this case. And the studio, well, Brooklyn Recording. They get righteous tones, and are very accommodating. They know how to host a creative music session. Plus it's just down the street from Tony's house. Andrew Taub, long may you prosper. Last time I recorded in Brooklyn, I did the session within 36 hours of flying in from Hong Kong. We had a marathon day, and though we got some exciting music down, I have hardly ever felt more disembodied than that. So I decided to wait a few days to get my feet on the ground this time. Good idea. It turned out that I would need all the energy that I could muster. We had a day of rehearsals to make sense of about a dozen new tunes. We did it over at Michael Blake's place in Carroll Gardens. Folks, now that you know, don't go camping out on his front lawn. Fan him on Facebook like reasonable people, ok? Everybody really helped me out, giving musical shape to what were some pretty rough ideas on paper. I made some notes, and that evening, I modified several of the tunes so that they would play better. I can't over stress how much Mike Sarin's ideas for grooves and feels helped to shape this record. We got to the studio on Sept 4, 2008, and after a bit of confusion, loaded in and set up. It took us quite a while to get rolling. I must admit that I was feeling a bit nervous about the whole thing, and I think Tony wasn't feeling that good either. It was one of those laborious days. However, we were getting some vibes down. It just went a little slower than usual. We worked hard, sweated it out, and drank huge quantities of water and coffee. The guys were extremely patient and helpful. Played their asses off. Andy Taub and I went to Astoria afterwards and had a killer Sichuan meal. Uurp! The next day seemed to go a lot smoother. Seemed like we were finding the nature of the songs a bit faster, and were getting better results with fewer takes. We wrapped about 6 pm, because all the young fathers in the band had to go home to their kids. Right on! And then I went home, and I got busy. So busy that I didn't even get a chance to properly review the material that we did until September 09. And I finally got into the mix in October and November. By this time, I had acquired a lot of new and interesting outboard gear for the studio, and it came in very handy on this session. I was looking for a thick, aggressive, colored sound on the rock material, and I wanted to tart up the jazzier stuff as well. I had a lot of fun with it, and since it's my record, I felt I had license to take the sounds as far as I wanted. A lot of people are cautious about changing the tones on their jazz records, and I respect that. But I love a record that has a rich texture. Hair, you know? Finally at the end of November 2009 it was done, and I had it mastered by Scott Hull at 24/88.2, the original sampling rate. I think that this record is: steamy, bluesy, sexy, sad, rocking, and redolent with the stink of the original jazz cradle... I hope that you pick it up. And find your own adjectives.