This recording is the mate to the Elliott Levin-Tyrone Hill 4tet (CIMP 200) and I would refer you to that session for background notes. This is not seconds. As I noted on CIMP 200, this group came loaded with material and conditions were such that, even after we had the material for that intended release, they kept playing, turning in a level of artistry which was both exploratory and interesting. By the late afternoon of the second day it was obvious that we had an embarrassment of riches, near enough for 2 CDs. Not a second CD of more of the first, but a second CD with its own identity and personality. As that became clear I proposed that, if they were up to it and still had reserves, we consciously try to finish a second concert. Agreed. Some suggestions were made about material and then we took a break while Tyrone wrote out some music for “PGC Blues.” After regrouping, the band ran a complete take which, while well-played, was oppressive, with its use of backbeat and recurring bass patterns running its entire length.
A discussion followed about breaking the structure, followed by 2 incomplete takes. More discussion on structure and a quite excellent second full take followed, at the end of which Tyrone began talking and laughing (he gets very caught up with the music, not the technicalities of the recording session), saying he didn’t mean for the tune to end there. Instead, he had wanted a drum solo, but concedes “that was good.” More discussion and another incomplete take. Then a third complete take which went in a completely unexpected direction and almost extemporizes into a New Orleans parade, a drum solo, and a return to the original theme. The Sounds of Surprise indeed. I’ve included both takes because of their variety and excellence.
The music will tell you what to do. It told us all: put out the other half of this session’s heart, the full beat of life.
Robert D. Rusch – 3/30/99