Each piece is an homage to musicians who have significantly impacted the way I think about and create music. Some of these musicians are dear friends, others I've only admired from afar. The use of the first name only in the subtitles is not to invoke false familiarity between myself and the composer, but rather a deliberate ambiguity for the listener to ponder.
Bossman (for Biodun): in 2013 I participated as a fellow in the OneBeat program, run by Found Sound Nation and funded by the U.S. Department of State. I collaborated with 25 musicians from as many distinct diverse backgrounds as one can imagine. It was there that I met Biodun Kuti, a guitarist from Lagos, Nigeria. I was struck immediately by his personal warmth and his unbreakable spirit. Then I heard him play - his rhythm, his groove was like a tractor-beam, focusing all the energy in the room into his playing. I can't remember music ever feeling so good since. I would constantly talk him into sharing his music from Nigeria, music that to him was not particularly interesting but to me was mesmerizing. Every time he would play something I would try to fit it into some rhythmic container, but that was never how he was thinking of it. It wasn't that my way of thinking was "right" or "wrong", but that I was missing the bigger rhythmic picture somehow. This piece is my version of his music. We would jokingly refer to eachother as "Bossman", hence the title.
IV (for Steve): to say that Steve Reich is an influence of mine would be like saying the sky is blue. His influence on virtually any American composer or musician that came after him is almost inevitable (I'm generalizing here of course). I've worked on a few Reich pieces with Reich himself present with Ensemble Signal, although never in a more direct capacity. During a rehearsal of "Tehelim" I mustered the courage to thank him for writing one of my favorite pieces of music, to which he scoffed and replied "Are you kidding? That Bach Cantata you guys were rehearsing earlier [BWV 4], it doesn't get much better than that". IV is more a textural adaption of Reich's music than a rigorous exposition of his formal techniques.
Tis of Thee (for Bill): I first came across the music of Bill Frisell during my time studying jazz at the Eastman School of Music. His music was rarely, if ever, discussed in the classroom, but rather in late-night listening sessions among friends. There is his appropriation of various styles of Americana within a jazz context that make him unique, but perhaps more striking is his ability to maintain his individual touch on an instrument (electric guitar) that relies on a number of electro-acoustic factors that are uncontrollable by the actual playing of the instrument. Tis of Thee is my attempt at finding that unique voice on my electro-acoustic instrument of choice, the bass guitar.
Parks Road (for John): in the summer of 2014 I rode my bicycle, fully equipped with camping gear, from Anchorage to Fairbanks in Alaska, with a detour down Parks Road in Denali National Park. I was scared, but it was something I had to do - I turned 30 that year, and realized that when my father was 30 he and my mother rode their bicycles across the United States. I had to do something, and while I couldn't spare the two months it would have taken to traverse the country, I figured that I could take two weeks and subject myself to an extreme route instead. It was challenging, to say the least; the rain, the mud, the exhaustion, the equipment malfunction, the constant threat of death by grizzly bear. I learned that nature doesn't care if I live or die - it will keep on going just the same. There is a certain comforting humility in knowing that we as humans are incredibly small, weak, insignificant things compared to the world we're a part of. Immediately upon returning to New York City I premiered the John Luther Adams piece "Sila: Breath of the World". Adam's music is inspired by Alaska and by our natural environment, and in his music I heard this same sense of vastness and almost brutal adherence to natural laws that I had just experienced first-hand in the wild. Parks Road is my musical adaption of that feeling of smallness within vastness captured so well by Adams in his music.
released July 10, 2015
All songs written and recorded by © Greg Chudzik, 2015. Engineered, produced and mixed by Chris Botta. Mastered by Paul Gold at Salt Mastering. Album artwork and design by Hannah Devereux
all rights reserved