About Track 3,  Awake

My friend Gael Bilger (guitarist) was showing me some unusual flamenco chords a few years ago and I used to play around with them, with no particular aim. I think I'd tried them in a rumba or tango feel which didn't particularly seem original. Then one day after sleeping badly (things wake me up at night, my ears are too sensitive!) I picked up my guitar, and in my sleepy haze I started playing the chords in a different order, and in an unusual rhythmic cycle. Normally I would come up with an idea in a consistent cycle of 3, 4 or 6 but this had bars of 5, 6 and 7 all pieced together... and the total was 33 beats!

The strange thing about this piece is that it appears to have no head (melody)... and though I thought of writing one, it seems to have stayed without one. I just got Rob Lavers (saxophone) to play the top notes of the chord changes.

Solos

The solo section then goes into 4/4 for some stability... still with a few flamenco chords! It's funny how particular circumstances shape what eventually become the final product. I recorded a solo with electric guitar... mainly because it was easier to plug into my computer... I planned to replace it with Spanish guitar later... but strangely, although my plan was for the whole album to feature the Spanish guitar, the presence of this electric guitar held my attention... I think the sustain on the instrument gives it that fusion/ jazz feel, and with the amazing drumming of Vancho Manoilovich, it all seems to gel.

I met Canadian pianist Dave Lieffertz around 2002 in London. When he went back to Canada in 2006, he kindly left his Fender Rhodes with me (a bit too heavy for the plane!). I knew the Rhodes would come in handy when it came to recording my music- though of course it took another 6 or 7 years for me to get my head together to actually make this album! Dave pops back to London most summers, and a couple of summers ago, he played these lyrical phrases you hear on the Awake keyboard solo.

There's a part of me that enjoys listening to and playing jazz fusion... a style usually led by the saxophone: Weather Report, Michael Brecker, Kenny Garrett, Joshua Redman. Tenor saxophonist Rob Lavers, whom I met in the early 1990s in York where I was studying, does this style justice 100% with a great solo and brilliant outro solos.

Listen to an excerpt of Awake

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