Atlantic Blues

album_coverPost-Christmas reflections coming soon. In the meantime, here’s what I’ve been listening to much of the day: my brother’s new CD. Here’s just a snippet or two (look to the links on the left). My nephew Martin did the art work: I love its simplicity.

I also love what Roy wrote in the liner notes: Back home in Nova Scotia, back in 1976 if my brain serves me well, back when hanging out together and listening to LP’s was a social event, my friend dropped the needle on a new record and handed me the cover. I had never heard of Jim Hall but knew of Don Thompson and Terry Clarke from the snippets of jazz that made their way to radio and TV via the CBC. The sound was unforgettable; dark, warm, mysterious, haunting and addictive; so much so that my first copy of Jim Hall Live has no top end frequencies left. Hearing that recording was the catalyst that led to the eventual move to the big city of  Toronto, and over the  years circumstances and good fortune provided occasional opportunities to play with Don and Terry, both individually and together. There was always floating around in the ether the idea of recording with the trio; a kind of ‘closing of the circle.’ Finally the universe smiled and the chance to do a live recording opened up thanks to Steve Del Col at Zooma Zooma Cafe who presented and David Gillis who engineered.

Live recording can be wonderful, disastrous and everything in between, but always honest; no second takes or ‘fixes’. A few of the tunes were played once at a brief rehearsal, some were ‘talked down’ before the set and some were called on the bandstand on the spur of the moment. A couple of the tunes are things that we have all played over the years, some were less familiar and a couple were new. Atlantic Blues was written for my old friend the Atlantic Ocean and Who Can I Turn To is dedicated to Dutch Mason, who sat next to me on a couch at the Pineos’ house in Kentville and played the first jazz chords that I ever heard on the guitar.

Titles and dedications aside, this recording is about the interplay, spontaneity, joy and adventure of that performance back in July, when it felt like someone dropped the needle on a side and I was transfixed once again by the sound of Don’s bass and Terry’s cymbals, amazed that when thumb went to string, it felt like I had come home, full circle.


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