Thursday, December 11, 2008

Making of a New Album

I've been writing the music for my new album for a while now (this is for the jazz/funk organ trio), but it happens in spurts. First two tunes, then three more, and now I feel another rush of creativity coming on. This time, I'm going to walk through my process of composing music for my trio. I have no idea how this will work out. I could end up scrapping the idea before it's done. Either way, you'll get to see me nitpick every rhythm and note and be happy you don't live with me while I work through the creative process.

My next album is, for lack of a better term, a concept album. Life Is Loud was a reflection of my move to New York City, and while I approached each tune with the same frame of mind, I didn't fully understand what I was writing until halfway through. Also, I wrote several of those tunes for a guitar/bass/drums trio instead of guitar/organ/drums. So I wasn't using the instrumentation to it's full potential.

The new album is a reflection of my roots and influences. I grew up in St. Louis, which is a river town. Culturally, it's similar to other Midwest towns like New Orleans, Chicago, Kansas City, and many smaller towns along the Mississippi and Missouri rivers. A lot of great American music was born, developed, or flourished in this part of the country. Many influential writers and artists come from these towns. I'm also reflecting on the influences from my childhood, from the years I spent tap dancing (thank you Mom), to the books I read (thank you Parkway North English department), to the music I listened to (thank you... Metallica?).

I'm hoping this album will help me define my voice as a guitarist and composer. The actual tunes themselves, as they appear on the page, are only the beginning. They are really just outlines or guides for the band to explore. Brad Whiteley and Kenneth Salters have a pretty big role in the way things will ultimately turn out. I write for them, and take their feedback on every tune.

So here we go! Shall we see what happens?

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