Recorded live in Krakow at Alchemia, April 6, 2008.
The first piece is somewhat of a swinger. For those of you who don’t like their free improvisation too jazzy, head for the bar. (And for those jazz writers who can’t seem to tell one instrument from another, despite the fact that you review dozens of records in public forums each year, I play tenor here, and alto on the other two tracks. They sound different. Dexter Gordon played tenor. Lee Konitz plays alto. Figure it out.) The second piece is a ballad of sorts, dedicated to my grandmother, Stamata Rempis, who passed away at the age of 102 three weeks before this recording was made. She was one of the strongest and kindest people I’ve ever known. As we stood onstage at the end of the first set, before starting this piece, thoughts of her flooded over me. I had been at Alchemia a few weeks earlier, on tour with Ingebrigt Hºaker Flaten’s Quintet, just after learning that she was about to pass. Zoni is the name of the small village in which she was born, just outside of Megalopóli, Greece.
The last piece develops through several different sections, as many of this group’s improvisations do, but perhaps most interesting to me is the juxtaposition of the two drum/saxophone duets during the first half of the piece. It highlights the different conceptions that Tim and Frank bring to the band, and perhaps why it might be worthwhile to have two drummers in the first place. We normally don’t play „tunes” with this band, opting instead for a more open approach. But one-third of the way through this improvisation, I had a strong urge to bring in „C” by Julius Hemphill, off the great record Raw Materials and Residuals. Not sure if the other band members knew what I was playing, although I’ve played it with Tim before. One last note is that I don’t play baritone saxophone on this record. The instrument has become an important part of the band’s sound, but the difficulties of touring, and particularly airline travel, make it impossible to carry to Europe. (Not that getting on a train with an alto, tenor, baritone, and a fifty-pound suitcase full of cd’s would be easy…) Just another example of how the logistical aspects of traveling can unfortunately have profound effects on the music. Finally, many thanks to Dmitriy Krasnov for the name of the record, adapted from one of his short poems.