Ideal Bread is preparing to record their most ambitious project yet: a 2-CD album entitled Beating the Teens. This will be a document of their year-long efforts to recompose and reimagine Steve Lacy's 3-CD box set Scratching the Seventies.
Ideal Bread is me (Josh Sinton) on baritone saxophone, Kirk Knuffke on cornet, Adam Hopkins on bass and Tomas Fujiwara on drums. We've been playing the music of Steve Lacy for 7 years and have recorded two albums of his unique and beautiful music: 2008's The Ideal Bread (KMB-Jazz) and 2010's Transmit (Cuneiform Records). While these records are excellent in their own ways, they are fairly straightforward interpretations of Lacy's music. Except for a different instrumentation (Lacy's specialty was the soprano saxophone), our performances of his music have traveled similar pathways to Lacy's groups. In early 2012, I decided that if the group were to continue, it would have to do something different from its previous efforts. That's when I got the idea for a new approach to this underperformed repertoire.
In January of 2012, I began transcribing all 26 compositions that are on Scratching the Seventies and then I recomposed, reconstructed and rearranged all of them. And in June of 2012, we began rehearsing and performing this new/old material. I completed writing this book of tunes at the beginning of June, 2013, a little over a year after I started it. And now we're ready to record this music.
We are entering Vibromonk studio on Aug. 16th to begin a FOUR-DAY recording session. And to do this we need $8,000.
Sure, we could try to cram in the time at the studio and record everything as quickly as possible and pray that we get an album's worth of material, but when I started this project, it was with the idea that we would apply the lessons and techniques Ideal Bread had learned over 6 years (patient application of energy, focus, intensity and trust to a limited body of material) to a much larger goal. I also decided that if we were going to do all this material, then I would not allow myself to repeat an arranging idea more than 3 times. Steve Lacy said that when it comes down to it, music is either 'alive' or 'dead.' This was my effort to keep the music alive. To that end, I came up with as many different ways for a small group to play together as possible. Some tunes are traditional jazz arrangements, some are more modern sounding. Some pieces sound like John Cage's indeterminate music, some like folk musicians playing Baroque classical pieces. And some pieces are straight up rock tunes. I wanted to push myself as a composer/arranger, my friends as performers and in the end I wanted to make 2-CD's sound like one joyous and action-packed volume. While making this record I brought together every musical influence I've been absorbing over the years: Iggy Pop, Mos Def, Tim Berne, Abby Lincoln, AMM, Fugazi, Henry Threadgill... the list is long, but the results have been worth it.
This is all to say: every song in this album is worthy of your attention and time. Each is a unique statement by this group and a unique way of reimagining Steve Lacy's pioneering compositions. So yeah, we've GOT to record all these things. We've been working too hard and the results sound too good.
I'm really fortunate to be joined by some incredible musicians and people. They include:
Kirk Knuffke - cornet. Kirk currently plays with amazing artists like Matt Wilson, Allison Miller, Ted Brown, Andrew D'Angelo, and Mike Pride. But he also leads two remarkable trios: the Kirk Knuffke trio with Mark Helias and Bill Goodwin and Big Wig with Brian Drye and Jeff Davis. He's one of the most unique voices on his instrument. Someone you can identify from the first note
Adam Hopkins - bass. I met Adam only a few years ago when he lived in Baltimore and he's already making his presence known here in Brooklyn. He's started up a trio, a sextet and a bi-monthly series for improvisers. He's also one of the most fun and accomplished musicians that I've met.
Tomas Fujiwara - drums. Tomas is the beating heart of Ideal Bread. The band would not have its drive, momentum or life without him. He also happens to be one of the most in-demand players in New York City right now playing with Mary Halvorson, Red Baraat, Tim Berne, Anthony Braxton, Amir El Saffar, Michael Formanek, Taylor Ho Bynum, Matana Roberts and Matt Mitchell among many, many others. He leads one of my favorite bands in nyc right now The Hook-Up and I'm consistently surprised by the new directions he finds for this music.
Tyler Wood - engineer. Tyler mixed and mastered my very first record. He also mixed, mastered and helped write this insanely addictive record. He's going to make the difference between us making a very good album and an amazing album.
Cuneiform Records - label. To be precise, it's Steve and Joyce Feigenbaum. We'd be sunk without their help. They released our 2nd album and have agreed to release this 3rd CD in early 2014. They believe in Ideal Bread and this new direction we're going in and that's saying a lot! Cuneiform is home to well-known artists like Wadada Leo Smith, John Hollenbeck's Claudia Quintet and the Microcopic Septet as well as artists who have meant a lot to me personally like Aleuchatistas, Rob Mazurek and Brotherhood of Breath. Cuneiform is keeping us in excellent company.
Because we've spent so much time practicing the material both amongst each other and in front of audiences, we've guaranteed that we'll be super-efficient in the studio. There won't be a need for an infinite number of "takes," nor will we have to spend enormous amounts of time "fixing" performances during the mixing. We are ready to deliver kick-ass performances RIGHT NOW.
If you join us in making Beating the Teens, you'll see that there's a large variety of rewards available. Everything from digital or physical copies of the album to lessons with the band members to a wine tutorial with me to a personal concert. There's something to suit every level of interest and every size of bank account. I hope you'll consider being a co-creator of Beating the Teens. It's going to be an incredible adventure and an incredible album.
Risks and challenges
The money we are raising here will only cover the tracking that needs to be done. After all the sounds are recorded, they still need to be mixed and then mastered before the final, amazing product will be ready for your ears!
Any money we raise beyond our $8000 goal will go directly into paying for the mixing and mastering sessions. In addition, we will use the money from our shows to help defray these costs. In the end, we will return to you, our loyal listeners, to aid and join us in finishing this unique document.
Fortunately, and uniquely, the tracking will be the most expensive part of making this record. So the mixing and mastering won't be nearly as costly.
Once that part is done, the good folks at Cuneiform will do the rest: the production, distribution and promotion of physical CD's and digital downloads. We are extremely fortunate in this respect since very few bands in creative music have this luxury today.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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