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The Satie Project

Artist: Dan Willis & Velvet Gentlemen
Dan Willis and Velvet Gemtlemen CD
Label: Daywood Drive
Regular Price: $14.95
On Sale For: $7.48 
Year: 2010
Format: CD


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On his latest recording, The Satie Project, Willis presents newly arranged material based on a collection of 15 compositions originally written by Erik Satie. The Satie Project unveils Willis's admiration for Satie's breathtaking body of work with singular contemporary classical and jazz takes on Satie's "First Gymnopedie," "Second Gymnopedie," "Third Gymnopedie," "Nocturne #1" to "Nocturne #6," "First Gnossienne," "Second Gnossienne," "I Idylle," "III Meditation," "II Aubade" and "Olga Polka." The artwork for The Satie Project is by John Hughson, former head of the Art Department at SUNY Fredonia. The art depicts three different time periods of Satie's life: "Gymnopedie" (Satie as a young man, cover), "I Idylle" (middle aged man, inside cover), and "Nocturnes" (older man, back cover).

Following a car crash that left Willis suffering from severe back pain and headaches, his acupuncturist played Satie during their sessions. This unusual introduction to Satie's music had a profound impact on the saxophonist. Willis began to present arrangements of "I Idylle," "First Gymnopedie," "III Meditation" and "II Aubade" at live gigs shortly after he recorded his 2005 album Velvet Gentlemen. Willis comments, "I had an idea of using Satie's melodies as markers, which would allow me to improvise around recognizable elements of each tune. I decided not to record the first songs we did live for quite a while. I wanted to make sure I was happy about the direction we were headed. Working with guys like drummer John Hollenbeck and bassist Kermit Driscoll, there were so many possibilities of where the music could go. We went as deep as we could, and I'm thrilled we ended up recording the material."
Dan Willis - Tenor and Soprano Saxophones, Oboe, English Horn, Flute, Piccolo, Clarinet, Bass Clarinet, and Duduk
Chuck MacKinnon - Trumpet, Flugelhorn, Electronic Pedals
Pete McCann - Electric and Acoustic Guitar
Ron Oswanski - B3 Organ and Accordion
Kermit Driscoll - Electric and Double Bass
John Hollenbeck - Drums and Percussion
Jonathan Owens - Trumpet
Tim Sessions - Tenor and Bass Trombone
Richard Sosinsky - Double Bass
Antoine Silverman - Violin
1. Second Gymnopedie
2. Nocturne #2
3. I Idylle
4. Nocturne #3
5. Third Gymnopedie
6. First Gnossienne
7. Nocturne #4
8. First Gymnopedie
9. lll Meditation
10. Nocturne #1
11. ll Aubade
12. Second Gnossienne
13. Nocturne #6
14. Nocturne #5
15. Olga Polka
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