It has been over five years since Andrew Lamb (b.1958, Clinton, NC) last recorded for CIMP and some things have remained relatively the same. Namely, he remains woefully under represented in recordings as a leader, seems to prefer to work in small groups (trios and duos), and, most importantly, remains one of the most dynamic and thoughtful saxmen on the scene. I think it is fair to say that if you are lucky enough to have access to his slim discography it is hard not to be engaged by his ruminative playing. Andrew suggests to me a person who places music so naturally in his life that to compromise it would no more occur to him than any other ambitious act that would distort the rhythm of his life. He is not unlike other great tellers-of-tales I have known who appear to move placidly in rhythm with life but whose musical statements reflect a turmoil, resolve, and spirituality not obvious to the eye. Andrew’s playing is not transitory; his playing leaves footprints. In 2003 I asked Andrew why it had taken him nine years to lead another recording date. He answered, “It just worked out that way.” After we recorded him successfully in 2003 (CIMP 282), I assumed Andrew would contact me to follow up with other projects. He did…four years later! When I asked him why it took so long, he again gave me some vague notions about thinking about it, working on ideas. Then, in the summer of 2007, Andrew wrote me concerning some 20 compositions he was working on and his interest in percussion. The idea of doing more than one project was proposed and we agreed on dates. As with Andrew’s last recording, this session came at the end of a short tour. This time, however, the temperature was almost 75°F warmer than the minus 24°F temperatures of January 2003. In addition, the trio has changed as Andre Strobert, the drummer from that session, died in 2006. Remaining is Tom Abbs (b.1972, Seattle, WA) and joining is Warren Smith (b.1934, Chicago, IL), both of whom have worked and recorded with Andrew for much of this new century (2000). We started the session around 4 p.m. after a number of brief and precise sound checks. Tom, whose early work and promise has been chronicled in sound and words on a number of earlier CIMPs, has expanded his sound source from his familiar bass and tuba to include, for this session, a didjeridu that runs parallel to the right of the strings and neck of the bass, a violin that is attached to the right of the didjeridu, as well as a gizmo of shakers on his left foot. So basically, while I will simply credit Tom as bass and tuba, all other sounds not Warren’s or Andrew’s come from Tom. Warren is playing a standard traps set augmented by some little percussion and glockenspiel. That the joyous declarative intensity of Andrew’s sax had increased over the years was obvious by the time the group opened with Song of the Miracle Lives. Based on his statements, one might surmise that although Andrew is a man obviously affected by the human condition and events on that condition, he also very much celebrates goodness and joy—if not always what is, then what could be. Combine that with the soul of the bass and the masterful ears of the drummer and you will hear this is a group of some depth. After playing for the rest of the afternoon and into the early evening, we broke for supper, tales, and laughter. While Warren spilled his cup (not just once but twice), and Tom enjoyed (but with a remarkable amount of restraint) fresh chocolate & whipped cream cake, Andrew stealthily mastered the cookie jar lid with an indulgent raid on the chocolate chips. We regrouped around 9 p.m. “We’re just going to let one,” Andrew announced. And they eased into Land of the Pure at Heart, proving that you don’t need more than three to have a small band. A good meal plus good conversation in this case equated great music. Tom, for the first time, picked up his tuba during … Pure at Heart. As if not to be outdone, Andrew brought out his big brass, the flute, on the next tune, Festival di Mama. The session continued with a consistent pattern of Andrew calling a tune from his stack of music, some preliminary strategizing, followed (usually) by a complete take. The majority of the music comes from the March 10 session. On the March 11 session Andrew opened appropriately with Awakening, playing the pungi, or snake-charming instrument, a hybrid of sorts resembling a gourd with various small flute/recorders coming out of its bottom. After this it was back to tenor for A Alegria…, a composition inspired by an incident in Portugal. We finished in the late morning. And now this 2008 two volume update of Andrew Lamb is complete. Robert D. Rusch - April 11, 2008 Titles referred to in these notes but do not appear on this release can be found on CIMP 383.