David Arner (b.1951, Queens, NY), in January 2007, sent me a number of demos of various projects. I was immediately attracted to one of them, a trio date referencing Gershwin’s “Porgy & Bess.” In his accompanying letter, David said he’s been performing his impressions of “’Porgy & Bess’ for many years” and at a recent concert tried parts “with the trio, which convinced me it will work.” I, too, was convinced. David felt his suite would most likely cover two CDs and I agreed. The trio was set; David had been playing with Michael Bisio (b.1955, Troy, NY) for quite a while, and Jay Rosen (b.1961, Phila., PA) more recently. Just prior to this session I was further encouraged when speaking with Joe McPhee who, quite off-handedly, mentioned he had seen this trio a few days earlier and found them to be “amazing.” We decided to record at David’s house, a quiet corner of Esopus, NY, that housed his Steinway. Jay and Mike had arrived earlier in the week. The piano was tuned just prior to our morning arrival. We set up, adjusted the sound, and, with everyone in good spirits, began the formal recording around 11:30 a.m. David opened with Porgy Stands. And what a dynamic “Porgy” it was as all the energy that moments before had mainfested itself in humor, kidding, and, perhaps, pre-recording anxiety turned into a rush of inspired, emotive improvisation as music filled the room and indeed the whole house. David, Mike, and Jay seized the moment and so this Porgy ain’t no humble peddler—and that’s made obvious. A note: there is a sharp snap at about 10:50. It is the sound of Mike’s bass end peg collapsing. One cannot help notice the sound, but my immediate anxiety was that Mike might self-consciously stop and we would lose this wonderful outing. He didn’t and, to the contrary, went into a wonderful soulful Bisio solo, albeit while being a bit bent over. “Porgy” stands straight indeed. After a bit of decompression, minor adjustments, and the return of feet-on-the-ground. Summertime Thunder was addressed, leading off with Jay playing counterpoint to Jay. Michael enters and very subtly references the Gershwin theme before David completes this impressionist pastoral scene. Bess was up next and it took a few run-throughs to satisfy Michael’s exacting vision and referential demands. Over the course of the day we recorded a number of takes. The one issued here is take #3. After a break we began to address the second volume. David opened with Honey Man but after numerous unsatisfactory (to him) starts, we continued on to There’s a Boat, It’s Left, which opens on a familiar variation before swan-diving into one of David’s orchestral constructions into upper-fifth-avenue. Gone and Going followed, a minimalist opening with David playing outside inside the piano. Things eventually straightened out to an evolving crescendo and a powerful blossoming of line and emotion from individuals and trio. Then it was back to Honey. What had been so elusive an hour earlier now flowed like…honey. This is a concert you’ve got to love. Lament concluded the concerts and, as I had desire and time, I pushed for an encore. David opted for Ain’t So, a piece he had included on his original demo to me and which was largely instrumental in my committing to this concept in the first place. His excursion this time is very different from what he originally sent me. But that’s exactly the point, isn’t it? Points well taken and played. Enjoy. -Robert D. Rusch - Oct. 18, 2007 Performances mentioned in these notes but not appearing on this recording can be found on CIMP 377.