Sunday, February 26, 2017

USA:Ted Brancato- Bicoastal(2017)

Ted Brancato | Bicoastal 
Dear Listener – First of all, thank you for listening! You have helped me complete the creative cycle that began in the winter of 2015-16 when my wife, Faith, and I embarked on an adventurous experiment to live for six months in my birth state of Washington. Having lived in New Jersey since 1984, I had yearned to go back to the Pacific Northwest, to live closer to my immediate family, and be closer to the majestic landscapes that I had explored as a youth.

Beginning in November 2015, we rented a cabin named “Loony Hollow”, deep in the woods of the Olympic Peninsula. One of my goals during our stay was to do something I'd put on the back burner for many years, namely, compose and perform original jazz music. I moved to the New York City area in 1984 to be part of a songwriting team led by Eugene McDaniels. Also in those early NYC days I played keyboards in a jazz fusion band that needed original music to perform, so I composed for that as well. Then life happened, and composing music slipped by the wayside...until last winter that is!

While living in “Loony Hollow” it wasn't difficult finding inspiration for composing. First came a song I titled “Loony Hollow” that was inspired by our rustic accommodations there on the shore of Dabob Bay. That song opened the floodgates to many more compositions and the need to document them with this recording. Living in such an isolated place, our contact with the outside world was sometimes limited to the PBS radio broadcasts coming out of Seattle. Consequently, I found myself writing songs about the crazy presidential campaign (among other things) that was constantly in the news while we lived in Loony Hollow.

Another unfulfilled dream I began tackling last winter was to become a singer. I utilized recordings of lessons I'd taken over a decade earlier to provide the framework for practicing. However, these exercises took me only so far, so when we returned to New Jersey last Spring, I decided to take singing lessons. My vocal abilities are still in their infancy, but I am loving the learning process, and the endorphins that singing releases in my brain!

One thing I hadn't anticipated when we made the move to Washington state was how much I'd miss New Jersey! Even though I found some excellent musicians to play with in Washington, musicians and gigs were far and few between. One thing I missed was living close to a large community of excellent musicians, many of whom lived within a five mile radius of our home. When I started planning for the recording, I knew I wanted my friend Ben Williams to play trombone on it. Ben lives in the next town over, and as fate would have it, one of my favorite drummers, Lee Finkelstein, lives only a few doors down from Ben. And around the block from them lives an amazing bassist, Gregory Jones, who I used to go hear in NYC. I dubbed this trio of musicians “The Neighborhood”, and they became the core band I used for this album. Weeks before recording, I decided I wanted to add saxophone to the mix. Lee suggested I use the world-renowned saxophonist Lou Marini, his band mate in the Blues Brothers. So Lou graciously came onboard, as did my old friend and guitarist extraordinaire, Bob Devos.

So thanks again for listening to these new creations of mine – my “babies” - that were inspired by our two homes – one in the bustling, crowded environs of New Jersey, and the other in the wild and wooly wilderness of the Pacific Northwest. Now you have a sense of what it means to my wife and I to be “Bicoastal”!