IN A NEW MOOD ... a tribute to Oscar Brown Jr.
As an artist I am profoundly influenced and awestruck by talent. Oscar Brown Jr.’s life and work have inspired this album IN A NEW MOOD, a compilation of some of his most compelling songs. Upon hearing an Oscar Brown Jr. lyric it was clear to me that he was a writer who captured essence. Timeless essence. Fifty years after writing these songs, his poetry still resonates with the same truth and power, if not more so, as it did back then.
In the grey area between success and failure, of which there were many of both, it is evident that there was a life ‘lived’ by a man of profound talent. A talent that was uniquely molecular and could capture you life, while seated in a nightclub, while listening to his albums or radio or right through the television screen.
It was following his death in May of 2005, I promised myself, to record an album of his songs. I began a journey of passion to see this project through and it was with the generous assistance of many other collaborators that I have a finished project. In doing my research and listening to other jazz musicians and groups play, I was consistently mystified at how many were covering Brown’s tunes, but had no idea who he was ! It is my hope that with this album more people will be introduced to this amazing artist and that another generation can be influenced by the music of this great man. So here is to a second chance at being heard, by an artist who forever changed my world. I think my attraction to his material came from the fact that I, like him am a ‘natural city dweller’ from way back. And I adore contradictions and deconstructing stereotypes ! His words embody the contradictions of urban life, just like jazz does on many levels. That truly touches on my sensibility. I just plain dig the way he brings polemics to the party!
I would like to thank all the people who helped me make this dream a reality. You all know who you are and I am sincerely moved that we were able to make this journey together if for a day, a fortnight, a month or for the entirety of the time that this voyage took us on.
I want to cite the immediate personnel who brought their musical and creative talents to the pinnacle of this jewel box. I am forever grateful to you and your generosity.
Peter Giron, my bassist and the man who helped me envisage and interprete the landscape of this project with his wonderful musical direction and arrangements. This project would not have been possible without your precious leadership and input. Jobic Le Masson with his intrepid approach to his piano and the very personal hand he had in his arrangements. John Betsch for bringing his insight to the songs and giving them a new pulse. Jeff Boudreaux for his enthusiasm in the studio and spontanious ideas. Rick Margitza for his poignant sound and presence. William Galison for the mood he knew I wanted and the time and distance that it involved. Orlando Poleo for his beautiful spirit and the sunshine he brought to the music. David Sauzay for his generous input into the 5 and for his humour on the second one. Carlos Esposito for his endless 6/8 and Spanish tutorials.
Vincent Mahey for his excitement and ardent belief in what he was hearing. Eric Legnini and Jeff Ginouvès for their patience and acoustic vision. Raphael Janin for his super hero capacities.
Eric Page for his unending moral and musical support during the preparation of this project and in the studio.
Juan-Carlos Hernandez for his time and energy at 3 in the morning and his captivating clichés. Emmy Anderson Barykin for her infinite patience, creative input and endless magnanimity.
Thank you all so very very much.
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