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Grant Clarkson: Liner Notes

Liner Notes for Featured Albums

168. Recollection

After the last two quintet albums which were both acoustic, I wanted to feature this band in an electric and funk setting. This idea coupled with the thought of reviving some of my old tunes which I still liked but were never recorded very well is what gave form to this album, Recollection.

Some of these songs were written as long ago as 1994, and none more recent than 2009. I transcribed the original versions and then crafted these arrangements with this particular quintet in mind.

With the exception of a few licks, the band is playing my complete arrangements with all the ideas therein true to the original writing of these songs, many from half a lifetime ago.

However the two solo piano pieces are flushed out beyond the ink as I suggested to Sky which makes them much more interesting. "That Jam" is another exception - an old vehicle for everyone to cut loose and be themselves in the Now.

The meaning and feeling of it all is to have this material brought forward by truly excellent musicians and recorded by our contemporary high standards. This fusion of circling back to another time with bringing it forward to who were are today is the mission of this record. A memory and a re-assembly - hence, "Recollection".

Thanks to Sky, Derek, and John for their dedicated and inspired performances to record this album in one day as we have always done. Thanks to Valery for being a brilliant engineer and essential collaborator in the recording process. And huge thanks to Richard for being my right hand man as a drummer extraordinaire as well as the mixing and mastering genius to make it all possible to be heard and shared in this form.

Grant Clarkson - January 14, 2017


162. 12" Gleaming ----- 2 tracks released June 2015 ***

Grant Clarkson - acoustic bass
Richard Sellers - drums
Sky Ladd - piano
Derek Cannon - trumpet and flugal horn
John Rekevicks - tenor and soprano sax, flute

Music Composed by Clarkson, Sellers, Ladd, Cannon, and Rekevicks
Album Produced by Clarkson and Sellers
Recording Engineer - Valary Saudinov Flight 19 Studios
Mixed and Mastered by Richard Sellers Chef's Soul Kitchen

This album for me represents three threads coming together - the first being Richard and my collaborative improvisations in the studio, beginning with "A La Carte” in 2009.

The second thread is the evolution of the acoustic band, which began with the trio with Sky ("Dearly Beloved” 2011), then to "Free Quartet” (2012) with Derek, and culminating in "Hearts Of Light" (2013) with John.

The third thread is taking that Hearts Of Light quintet beyond just my compositions and into group improvisation and composition, which is what we have here in 2015 with this album titled, “Gleaming”. It is the layering of parts that I have done countless times performing the overdubs myself now performed instead by this real band that this album signifies. And what a band!


156. 12” Hearts Of Light ----- 12 tracks released February 2014 *****

This album is a collection of songs written over the last few years directly on staff paper without any instrument. I thought of titling the album "Fluff" because the compositions seemed light and fluffy. But in fact each composition is inspired by a different spirit - some gone, some still here. Thus, "Hearts Of Light".

The fun and adventure really began when assembling this quintet for rehearsals and the recording date. And so, special thanks to John, Derek, Richard, and Sky. And thanks to Valary for the brilliant engineering and hosting his space. And thanks again to Richard for not only being a dream drummer but also a mixing and mastering genius. And thanks to everyone who helps support our art.

138. 12” A La Carte ----- 2 tracks released April 2010 ****

Richard and I went to Valary’s studio and layed down the bass and drums
for this album on Protools. Richard took the tracks back to his studio and
I got them on my Licitysplit deck.

I recorded Rhodes, but needed more so Sky added the DX7 part. Then came the guitar. These three were edited and crafted as one layer. Then came the MIDI bass horn sections which ended up including tenor sax, trombone, trumpet, organ, bells, flute, and chromatic harmonica.

Richard’s drum performance is the best of my whole catalogue and the fretted Fender sounds funky and well-suited to the many stylistic idioms we traverse through this record.


144. 12” Dearly Beloved ----- 9 tracks released July 2011 ****

Breaking in the upright in the studio in the form of a pure - acoustic jazz standards album, featuring Sky and Richard. Sold really well and got airplay on KSDS. Was also the featured program of my 40th birthday concert at Dizzy’s, also featuring Lori Bell and Mikan Zlatcovich.

Performed and recorded acoustically with no overdubs, punches, or post-processing and in two takes or less - March 15, 2011


141. 12” Famous Cats in Literature ----- 6 tracks released October 2010 ****

After the sucess of A La Carte, we went back to Valary’s studio but this time for Richard to record drums to my otherwise finished album. My archane digital deck was patched in to get the drums in three channels. A quick session, and I was absolutely blown away with “Franchette” in particular.

The idea with this theme and these six songs was to feature a different horn for each, with each accompanied by organ, also featuring guitar and my fretless Fender bass.

The “Famous Cats in Literature” which sounds like some kind of Jeopardy category, was a matter of depicting different personalities for the different tracks, and was also inspired by recently seeing the movie “Bell Book and Candle” which featured the cat, Pyewacket.