Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Thoughts on HOMAGE

HOMAGE at http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/charlieaustintrio2
I wanted to thank my friends for coming to the jazz jam night hosted by my trio (with Josh McHan and Mike Gillespie) at the Yardbird last month.  For me it proved to be a peak performance of material that was recorded a year ago in June 2013 at Convocation Hall in the Arts Building at University of Alberta. We did have a pretty strong band at this latest outing of the trio (Josh McHan standing [upright] in for my good friend Rene Worst from Vancouver on string bass). 

Last year, Rene Worst, a well-known bassist from Vancouver, accepted my invitation to record this trio CD.  I had known of Rene from the band ‘Skywalk’ in the 80's and 90’s and for many years he has been a first call jazz bassist. I had met and hung out with Rene when we were on the road together with singer Barbara Blair in the mid-nineties. Rene is a great guy, a consummate musician and a very hip player and record producer.

Well, he flew in, and I had the charts ready and away we went, along with my friend and part time mentor, Mike Gillespie on drums, and Pat Strain on the controls.

I had a Steinway D available for this project.  The piano was wonderful and really lived up to my expectations. We had a rehearsal on that Wednesday and recorded for the next two days, producing some happy usable tracks, some of which we selected for HOMAGE.

Live at the Blue Chair, with Mike
Gillespie on drums, Rene Worst on bass. 
That’s the thing about creating a recording. You have to commit and lay the cards you have on the table. I wanted to do it for years but did not have the means or the energy to focus on such a personal undertaking until now. I wasn’t quite sure how I was going to play or how it would go so the whole thing was an important valuable learning experience. I’ve recorded before with a few talented musicians and I knew what I was getting into. So your life is on the line, cash is spent, commitments made and now what?  Here goes. So now that I’ve learned something of what it takes, I want to get ready for the next effort.

There is actually another recording of the same trio live at The Blue Chair (the evening of the second recording day) where, thanks to Don’s Piano Warehouse I had a glorious grand piano to play, and therefore, I had a chance to take another run at it. So it turned out to be an efficient use of the musicians' time here and my resources. I hope to be taking another look at LIVE at The Blue Chair (Featuring Rene Worst) sometime soon.