Blog # 77: The Band
I thought I'd take a second and and talk about the band that is on the album we just recorded and how I came to play with all of them.
First there is Jeremy Udden on alto sax. I remember when I first moved to new york in 2005, I was in an ensemble at NYU and was asking the sax player in the group who he listened to and who he liked on saxophone who was playing around nyc. He said he didn't listen to any sax players any more, with the one exception of Jeremy Udden. I kinda stored the name in the back of my mind. I remember I was at a party a few years later and a friend of mine had mentioned that he'd just seen a show of his former teacher that was great. Jeremy Udden. So I finally went online and ordered his CD 'Plainville', which ended up being one of my favorite CD's I bought that year. It's a great record, with a definite vibe to it, and Jeremy has a beautiful sound. He's so direct and there is no pretension or chop flexing. Its all music. Listening to that CD, I thought his playing style would fit with the music I was writing at the time, which became this record. So I just went out on a limb, sent him a message on facebook and asked him if he wanted to play a session sometime(having this record date in the back of my mind). We played the tunes, he sounded great and fit the music really well, so I asked him if he would do the record. He played beautifully and it worked out great. Hopefully there's a lot more playing for us in the future.
Julian Pollack is playing rhodes and piano on the album. I've known him for the longest of all these musicians. I met him through my friend Peter Schwebs(who played bass on my first album). There is also an NYU connection there. We've done a lot of sessions, and some gigs around town and in Philly and DC. Julian is a very exciting soloist and a funny guy to be around. He is also a prodigy and blows me away with his technique. Thinking back to my NYU days I remember hearing that the grad piano players were terrified of 'some young freshman piano player'. I found out a while later that was Julian Pollack.
Julian Smith is on bass. I think we met on a house session of a mutual friend, but its hard to remember. We've played around town a bit and done a lot of gigs up at Shrine. My favorite thing about Julian Smith is his sound. He makes the bass sound like it should, and is a REAL bass player. I know a lot of other guys around new york who play very flashy, but have thin sounds. Julian Smith isn't that kinda guy. He's so solid that I always feel comfortable playing with him. Besides being great to play with, Julian is a super nice guy that I dig hanging with. He makes everyone feel comfortable around him, which really helps the music. I was really glad to have him on the record.
Lastly is Ziv Ravitz on drums. I think I first heard Ziv playing with my friend Aki Ishiguro at Solo Kitchen Bar, a local brooklyn hang. I remember liking the way he played and thinking that I wanted to play with him at some point. Months later I was scheduled to do a gig at Fat Cat in the village and the drummer had to cancel last minute. I was talking with Nick Anderson(who was on tour) asking him which drummers he thought would fit my music best(I wanted to play with some new people). He recommended Ziv and gave me his number. When we played the gig I heard something in his playing that made me think he'd fit the new music I'd been writing perfectly. Ziv was the first person I asked to do the record. He played some amazing stuff, especially on the track 'Find Me'. You'll see what I'm talking about when you hear the record.