People Talk marks my sixth self-produced album and I couldn’t be more thrilled to have collaborated with two of the most dynamic performers in the world, pianist Takana Miyamoto and percussionist Keita Ogawa. As most of my performances around the world utilize a quartet or quintet configuration, I wanted to explore a new approach both sonically and compositionally. I found myself writing arrangements specifically for this unique trio’s instrumentation but also for the players themselves. The album embraces sounds from around the world incorporating a traditional jazz approach with South American and Asian influences.
My original composition, La Lucha Duro ( “The Hard Fight”), was inspired by watching UFC fighter Cain Velesquez in a recent bout against Fabricio Werdum. You can hear the battle between the two fighters, a moment when a landed punch sends Cain to the mat, and then back up again to finish the fight. I wrote People Talk after hearing friend and pianist Vinnie Falcon play me an obscure Bill Evans song. The haunting melody ultimately led to the creation of this title track. The City Suite features three songs that underscore my experiences and memories from three of my favorite cities; New York, Paris and Tokyo. As I hear these songs, I can visualize people walking their dogs through central park, a couple sitting in a French cafe with two glasses of Bordeaux and looking out at the countryside while riding the subway though the suburbs of Tokyo.
I always wish to reach a wide demographic of listeners. The inclusion of Lennon and McCartney’s “Norwegian Wood” was a fun way to take one of the first songs I ever learned on guitar with my father and put a new spin on it. “Alone Together” is a commonly played standard, however this arrangement is influenced by the rhythms of the Brazilian Panderio, while Gershwin’s 'Summertime' is shaped by the romantic dance of the Tango. "Pure Imagination" is a beautiful timeless composition and I couldn’t think of a more dynamic ensemble to bring this song to life. The album closes with an original composition by Takana Miyamoto, Firefly Creek, which captures the beauty and stillness of the Japanese Gardens.