Saturday, August 15, 2009



1) "Walking in Beauty"...the opening track from a jam we did in Christchurch in May of 2002 at Duke Dixon's studio near Oxford, which became the "First Ancestor" cd. Ian McAllister, who co-engineered and produced, had recommended Dukes because he had the nicest grand piano, a 100+ year old Steinway grand, and around $50,000 worth of mikes. I invited sax player and vocalist Carmel Courtney, and drummer Redford Grennel (now of Shapeshifter); none of us had ever played together before. Later I added in the simple bass part (in later tracks James Wilkinson put in some 6-string fretless) and some spoken word by south island metaphysician Barry Brailsford. The phrase "walking in beauty" is an English translation of a Hopi word I once knew but cannot remember...but to have one word that meant that is very cool eh?

2) "George Winston on Acid" Once a friend of mine in the states was listening to me play piano and he said "Jeff, you sound just like George Winston on Acid." I knew exactly what he meant...George Winston was/is a very popular sort of "new age" pianist who was one of the first artists to be released on the Windham Hill label. My piano playing that my friend heard, which was quite mellow, like George's, was significantly more abstract than Winston's...hence the "on acid" part. When I recorded my first cd of grand piano improvisations in 1998 ("The White Electric Dog Transmissions"), I was sure to record a piece by this name. it's quite melodic...thanks George for the inspiration!

3) "Constellations of the Southern Hemisphere/Charlie Brown goes to Proxima Centauri" This jam was the fourth track of the Proxigean Solstice Session I did in Atlanta in December of 1999 with drummer Zach Velmer of Sector 9. I was imagining seeing the stars of the southern hemisphere for the first time (although it was to be several months until I actually saw them) come out at dusk, then taking off on a journey out among them. The piano theme I came up with in this jam reminded me of the Peanuts theme, hence the name. Proxima Centauri is actually the closest star to the Earth/Sun. It's not very bright, but is a part of the trinary system we see as Alpha Centauri, one of the "pointers" in the southern sky...

4) through 7) These are piano improvisations from my first cd, "The White Electric Dog Transmissions" I just sat at the piano and thought of tornadoes (on this one I told the engineer to go crazy with effects...", stars, and water, and the "insignificance of humanity" in the grand we matter to anyone other than ourselves? Do we even matter to ourselves???

8) "Return to Aotearolan Jam/Beak of Time (Sep Tepi premix)" This is the last track of the "First Ancestor"'s a 16 minute recapitulation of the whole previous jam. At around the 14 minute mark, after James Wilkinson's freaky bass glissando, it takes a turn for deep space...and ends up with time-stretched humpback whale sounds! check it out...("Sep Tepi" is the original world in the ancient history of the Egyptians...the "golden age" or "garden of Eden"...)

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