I write this at the start of the session: I mention to the group that, if successful, this will be CIMP’s 99th release. Joe Giardullo immediately picks up “it’s 99 in ’99” and McPhee, suggesting a magic in the numbers, reaches into his pocket and flashes the lights from some electronic gizmo he’s been carrying around. He holds it out in front of himself as a cross to a vampire and everybody laughs. In soundchecks, the group has been referencing “People Get Ready.” More foreshadowing? I don’t know, but I am full of the anticipation of the festival of artistry and emotion that lies ahead.
This is a bit of a concept date. Sometime in the summer or fall of 1998, I suggested to Joe that he might consider recording a program of spiritual music. Now, Joe McPhee’s (Miami, FL, 1939) work has always been very spiritual in that it has spoken honestly of his heart and mind. Joe has a great spirituality and soul which is of his essence, not convenience. My idea was that he play music which would, as would be expected, draw upon this spiritual being and make specific reference to some of the established musical literature. Ironically, Joe had also thought along these same lines and, in fact, unbeknownst to me, was planning a concert using this concept.
My original idea was to do it as a duo with just bass. I had already produced dates with Joe and Michael Bisio (Troy, NY, 1955) and Joe and Dominic Duval (NYC, NY, 1944) and, over the past few years, Joe had developed a body of work with both bassists. The solution was obvious: why not bless one of improvising music’s great saxmen with 2 of the world’s finest bass players. And so the stage was set.
Now, somewhere along the line Joe Giardullo (Brooklyn, NY, 1948) got on board. I really don’t remember discussing this, only hearing of it. Any apprehensions I had were eliminated by assurances from Dominic (who had recently started working with both Joes) and Joe McPhee (who began working with Joe Giardullo in the early ‘90s). Joe Giardullo’s previous recorded work has been very limited; essentially this is his debut in a featured spot.
So that was the set-up and understanding for this date. The results you can hear for yourself. And, if your ears tell you there was an extraordinary talent and inspiration in the room, we’re in agreement. This is giant music, technically and artistically. And it will serve your soul well for the future and a lifetime of listening.
Robert D. Rusch – 3/17&18/99