Saturday, June 10, 2017
USA:Brent Laidler- No Matter Where Noir (2017)
“Oh Good, you’re still there!”
Her voice was a well modulated but somewhat breathless alto with an accent I couldn’t place.
“So what can I do for you?”
“Your ad in the phone book says you specialize in missing persons, are you good at it?”
“I’d like to think so. So who’s missing and how long have they been gone?”
“Me. I mean… I don’t know.”
Most ‘Persons’ cases start out pretty simple. This didn’t seem to be one of them...
I’m often inspired to write music – even if I don’t have something specific to write for. So I usually have a few tunes floating around unused. One fateful day I decided to write a dark ballad for fun. “No Matter Where Noir” was the result. Wow. We knew it was going to be a ‘Title Track’ from the first time Ned played it – he OWNED it! Then it grew into a Concept. Then we played with ideas for a back story…
I chose “Southern Gate” and “Meet Me at the Havana Hilton” from earlier projects and set the stage for a whole Noir World in Miami. It fit really well.
We needed a nightclub – so the hip swing tune I was working on became “Jamie’s Joynt.” It needed a piano melody and I’m not a piano player, so I asked Jamie to give it a go. He forgot about it for a while and then stuck a hand written chart in my door two days before the session. It’s fantastic!
So how should the story begin? Pulled an unused tune out of my pocket, changed the groove, rewrote the melody and it became “Downtown By Nine.” It’s much better this way. Cool.
“Sixth Sense” was inspired by Lee Morgan’s “Sidewinder.” It’s something every good detective should have. I love blending voices together. Flugelhorn and guitar are nice. Sax and trumpet particularly are Very Hip – like another of my heroes, Horace Silver used. Vibes are sweet with anything! Honestly? I’d be bored to death if I could only write for guitar.
Every Noir Story also needs a nemesis. One night Scott called off “Have You Met Miss Jones” – it was noisy and I mis-heard it. I laughed, thinking that “Heavy Memphis Jones” sounded like a bad dude. Had to do it! Took a long time and several tries to write, but I finally managed the right blend of Killer Joe style and homage to Rogers and Hart in an almost completely original piece.
The Mystery Woman and the Intrepid Gumshoe usually develop a romantic involvement – so I needed “Law of Attraction” to indicate that she’s starting to have some feelings. It’s the only contrafact on the disk, but I’m keeping the secret for now. See if you can guess.
I’d written “Not Just Another Waltz” a year earlier. It dropped right into the story and we laughed that the existing title fit the narrative on more than one level. Perhaps the Hero has already been around the block a time or two but considers maybe this time could be different.
Now - what if they decide to run away together and keep the money? That’s where “Meet Me at the Havana Hilton” was perfect!
“Keep Me In Mind” was written for Mark to take us home when things inevitably don’t work out - creating the image of our Leading Man strolling off into the night under the street lamps…
I love them all, but if I had to pick a favorite – this was the one that gave me goose bumps during the first playback. I hope you have at least half as much fun listening as we did playing!
Mark Buselli (trumpet, flugelhorn) is Director of Jazz Studies at Ball State University and Co-Founder of The Buselli – Wallarab Jazz Orchestra. He has won numerous awards and recognitions, including top 100 CD of the Decade from Downbeat Magazine, and has over forty arrangements published for big bands, brass ensemble, and piano/trumpet. He has nine recordings out as a leader on the Owl studios and OA2 record labels. He has performed with artists such as Bobby McFerrin, Slide Hampton, Jimmy Heath, Slam Stewart, Natalie Cole, The Four Tops, The Temptations, Ben Vereen and has played for four former U.S. presidents.
Ned Boyd (saxophones) has been teaching for 25 years. He earned his Bachelor of Music Degree in saxophone performance at the North Carolina School of the Arts and MM in Education from the Eastman School of Music. He has recently appeared with Aretha Franklin, George Benson, Wayne Brady, Michael Feinstein, the Four Tops, Ben Folds and The Indianapolis Symphony. He has also performed with Barry Manilow, Wayne Newton, The Temptations, Rosemary Clooney, Liza Minelli, The Spinners, Don Rickles, Bernadette Peters, and the big bands of Guy Lombardo, Lawrence Welk, the Dorsey Brothers and the Buselli-Wallarab Jazz Orchestra.
Mitch Shiner (vibraphone) drummer and vibraphonist, graduated from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music with a Bachelors degree in Jazz Studies. Currently based in Milwaukee, Mitch is an in-demand performer, active educator, and award winning composer. He performs with groups of all genres and styles, appearing with Tad Robinson, Christian Sands, Arturo Sandoval, John Clayton, Emmet Cohen, Meloney Collins, Everett Greene, Michael Spiro, The Leisure Kings, The MidCoast Swing Orchestra, The Milwaukee Jazz Orchestra and The PostModern Jazz Quartet.
Jamie Newman (piano) lives in West Lafayette. He has degrees from Reed College and the Boston University School of Law. He is the accompanist for Purdue University's Dance Division. He also plays jazz piano and organ with various groups in and around Central Indiana, and as a soloist.
He used to practice law. Those days are over.
Scott Pazera (bass) is currently the Jazz Band director at Wabash College as well as a motivated private instructor, clinician and spirited performer with 30 years experience. He performs publicly with his own ensembles and has appeared and/or recorded with artists such as Rich Little, Veruca Salt, Ce Ce Peniston, Med Flory (Supersax), Fareed Haque, Henry Johnson, Dave Douglas, Byron Stripling, Rachel Yamagata and many others. He has Bachelor's and Master's Degrees from Indiana University and most recently completed a second Master's Degree in Music Technology from IUPUI.
Richard “Sleepy” Floyd (drums – tracks 1,2,4,9,10 & 11) is a drummer, composer, and producer known for his versatility and high level of musicianship. In a playing career spanning more than 24 years, Sleepy has performed and recorded with artists across several genres including 112, DJ Logic, Nicolay, Phonte of Little Brother, Black Milk, Mayer Hawthorne, Rob Dixon, Mystikos Quintet and Fareed Haque. Ultimately a love for hip-hop, jazz, and beat production led to co-founding The Native Sun www.thenativesun.org – who strives to keep the fundemental elements in hip hop alive.
Kenny Phelps (drums – tracks 3,5,6,7 & 8) is a self-taught and highly sought after percussionist and an adjunct jazz percussion instructor at Butler University. In 2015, he was inducted into the Indianapolis Jazz Hall of Fame. He has a regular traveling gig with internationally renowned singer Dee Dee Bridgewater - an annual feature of his schedule, including extensive European engagements. Performances include Wynton Marsalis, Eartha Kitt, Michael Brecker, Slide Hampton, Wycliffe Gordon, Chuchito Valdes, and the New York Voices. In 2012 he became Owl Music Group sole CEO, turning the company into a humanitarian arts organization reaching out to young musicians and community organizations who aid victims of sexual assault, domestic violence and the homeless.
Brent Laidler (composer, guitar) attended Western Michigan University, majoring in Music Education with a minor in Composition. He owns and operates a band instrument repair business with endorsements from many area universities and symphonies, world class professionals, and three DCI Corps. www.brentsbench.com
Brent is a Jazz Clinician, a member of the Indiana Jazz Educator's Association, former President of the Songwriter’s Association of Mid-north Indiana and served as the Choir Director at University Church - Purdue University.
He has performed with Broadway artist Michael Mandel, Comedian/Impersonator Rich Little, The Lafayette Symphony, Jazz legend Tony Zamora, Brazilian artist/composer Felipe Viera – as well as vocalists Kirby Shaw, Regina Todd-Hicks, Ly (Tartell) Wilder and Amanda Overmyer from American Idol.
Brent has been a staff arranger for two competitive marching bands, written music for commercials, video games and independent films. Working with TMG/5 Artists and Westlake Signal Group, he now has five film scores to his credit – having been seen and heard on Los Angeles Cable Television, the Pan-African Film Festival, and the Kodak Theater in Hollywood. "Then and Now - Single Engine Stations, Volume II" won a Telly Award in the Documentary Category.
Objectively speaking, I’m a composer and then a player. It’s really fun to write songs specifically FOR the people you know will play them and I’m also honored and blessed to have such amazing friends whose talent and input bring out the full potential in the Music.
It’s unbelievable… So thank you Everyone who helped to make this project happen!
Scott and Jamie are long time friends who teach me something new every time we play. Scott got us in and out of several tunes with awesome suggestions from his vast experience in multiple genres and mastery of groove. Jamie agreed to take the part of noir club owner and band leader and wrote “the melody no one can play.” You can’t ask for a better soloist or accompanist. I mean, just listen. Seriously. Listen.
I met Sleepy and Mitch at an open jam session!
Not only are they fantastic musicians, but the chemistry was instant. They are reactive, responsive, and know instinctively when to lead and when to follow. From the first time we played, I couldn’t imagine recording this CD without them. It’s been a blast. We definitely need to do it again.
What are you guys doing next Thursday?
Ned has worked with me for ages. He is simply astounding. It’s a special privilege to work with him on stage – his Love and Joy performing live music is infectious. You really need to feel the energy to appreciate it, and the best part is you never leave a gig without a big smile!
Mark has been lots of things – a customer, a friend and now I’m thrilled to share a bandstand with him. He is truly gifted, loves music, loves teaching and is one of the most supportive and encouraging people I know. His solo on the last track transported me back to college when I first discovered Freddie Hubbard’s album “First Light.” You know – one of those jaw on the floor moments…
Kenny is my hero. I’ve always loved watching him play – he has so much fun! The couple gigs we’ve done together were a real treat. But when Sleepy had a last minute conflict and couldn’t make the session - Kenny was available and saved the day! He’s a world class musician with international tours, a heavyweight discography, and now dedicates his time and energy to students and education. Amen!
Now I know why Everyone recommends Michael Graham at The Lodge Studios! He gets interested and involved in making your project a success. He also makes it look easy – a true sign of mastery. He’s been available sometimes on short notice, but everything is always smooth, relaxed and purposeful. Thanks also to Steven Byroad – it’s been a great experience all around.
Special thanks to voice actors Sara Mummey and Dustin Hopkins!