My Garden is a jazz suite cum introspective cri de couer built around eight deeply personal posies by Charles Bukowski.
“Urie does not simply blow off the dust of the large jazz ensemble, he sandblasts it off with Uranium.”
C. Michael Bailey, All About Jazz.
My new record My Garden needs your help in the last days before its release on 15 May, 2011. It is done. Finito. In the can and hard copies are in hand waiting to find you. Press is coming in and everything is looking good.
I am trying to fund the last few pieces of the puzzle including royalties for the estate, record release concert, advertising, and other small, unforeseen expenses that have a way of cropping up in a project of this scale. It isn't much money. Just over a grand will do it. Put it to bed, as it were.
Take a moment to read the press release and peruse the rest of the info. I hope you can come on board and help finish this project! Learn more at nicholasurie.com
You can also learn more about the project by listening to an interview I gave on The Jazz Session with Jason Crane. Listen here.
"One is always tempted to begin any deliberation of Nicholas Urie's creative virtues by first alluding to his age, mid-twenties, but then, in short order, one appreciates that pitfalls diminution of actual value... Rimbaud, Mozart, Tony Williams, Sugar Chile Robinson... you see where this is going... at very best unfair and extraneous...genius having no control over the timing of its chronological imperatives.
Suffice it to say that Nicholas Urie is literally and musically wise beyond his years, and that the proofs of that pudding are as impressively evident on this most recent recording, as they were on his first “Excerpts From an Online Dating Service.”
For openers his choice of musicians for My Garden is impeccable: Jeremy Udden, soprano saxophone; Douglas Yates, alto and clarinet; Kenny Pexton, tenor; and Brian Landrus, bass clarinet; Albert Leusink, Ben Holmes, and the amazing John Carlson on trumpets; trombonists Alan Ferber and Max Seigel; Frank Carlberg, piano; Michael Sarin, drums, John Hebert on the contrabass; and vocals by the incomparable Christine Correa.
The written texts for this CD are culled from the poems of the late, southern-California-based poet/novelist Charles Bukowski, and are interpreted with unerring precision by the uniquely gifted Indian-American vocalist, Christine Correa.
Correa invests Bukowski's words (and sentiments) with a cool and measured detachment that opens up their range of “meanings” for the listener to determine for him or her self... it is cagey, self effacing and perfectly attuned to Urie's orchestral and compositional agendas.
At the core of the ensemble is a stellar rhythm section made up of Frank Carlberg, piano, Michael Sarin, drums, and John Hebert, bass that operates at once as an “orchestra” in itself while providing a simpatico pulse and undersurge to the full band: their “thunder” stealing no one else's; the kind of sonic alchemy that only close friends and regular collaborations can effect.
Master drummer Michael Sarin's close reading and free interpretations of the rhythm score are reminiscent of Tony Williams's paralleling Underconcerto on Miles Davis' classic Columbia recording “Filles De Kilamanjaro”, underscoring the sense of trust in which all great band leaders hold their personnel.
Carlberg and Urie's friendship stretches from Urie's days at the New England Conservatory where Carlberg was an early and enthusiastic mentor/supporter of Urie's talent and vision. His playing on “My Garden” is a clear indication of both his delight and (in the best sense) pride in Urie's compositional evolution...swinging and surging and urging it on!
The tri-vocal narrative that introduces track 1 “Winter: 44th year” is contributed by Urie's father, the photographer Walter Urie, Carlberg and Hebert, and is set against (and under) a canonic drone/wash of saxes, bass and drums: “I am Sad Like a Dead Angel”... Bukowski at his direst best.
“Round and Round” starts with Correa almost serially intoning, accompanied by Yates’ alto, “You Have my Soul and I Have Your Money”, leading into a rhythm section break featuring Carlberg's dazzlingly swinging Fender Rhodes solo that seems to adumbrate the prevailing soul/money conflict of the lyric. When Correa returns with the full band in tow, the pace builds to a kind of controlled frenzy for the final measures... burnin'!
“My Garden”, the CD's sonic center and counterpoise, quiets the proceedings down a little. Correa's exposition of the melody, set against a muted trumpet accompaniment, segues into a brilliant solo excursion by Carlson, thrillingly punctuated by Carlberg on the piano. Trombonist Alan Ferber compliments Carlson's colorations with some pretty elegant chromatisms of his own all to the effect of softening Bukowski's usual edginess with a lilting counter-irony.
In “For Crying Out Loud” the rhythm section states the plaintive theme of this quintessential Bukowski gem. Correa enters lugging the lyric, with great weariness, along the ragged selvage of the poem-song's harmonic edges, the ensemble commiserates with the narrative with wailing trumpets and lachrymose saxophone outbursts all ending with Hebert's arco-bass soliloquy.
“Lioness”, at first listening, appears a perfectly choreographed free improvisation, which it is, most emphatically, not... but Urie's compositional eclat sure makes it sound like it is... the whole band... Full Tilt! I kept hittin' the repeat button, as will you - “put on your lion mask and wait.
In “Finality”, the perfect closer, Carlson's fluttery soarings and the controlled intensity of Kenny Pexton's tenor solo leads into Correa's mid-range, half-sung, half-spoken exploration of the text, lush and insistent against the perfervid exhilarations of Urie's remarkable ensemble.
With this project, Urie honors Charles Bukowski's significant achievements in postmodern American poetry by wedding it to some of the most intriguing, scintillating and innovative big band music in the contemporary jazz landscape."
Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.
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Aforementioned and an invite to a sweet dinner party. Straight up.
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Aforementioned and I will write you a piece of music of my choosing and I'll have the band perform it on an upcoming gig.
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Aforementioned and I will arrange or compose whatever you want. You love Captain Kangaroo? I can provide that. The Beatles? I'm on it.
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