Notes about the Songs on "Blue Innuendo"

 The "Two-Tone" building in Brooklyn.

The "Two-Tone" building in Brooklyn.

One of the big reasons I make albums is because of songs.  I assemble a collection of compositions that all seem to be pointing in a similar direction, and that collection becomes the material for an album. Here are some notes on the songs that will appear on Blue Innuendo:

  1. "Urban Dilemma" was written specifically for the album. I wanted to combine some characteristics of the Larry Goldings Trio -- really well-arranged organ grooves -- with a snaky soprano/guitar melody like our guitarist Tom Guarna's uses in some of his music. The title is a reference to the ongoing gentrification in NYC which is truly a dilemma: some things get better for some people, while other things get worse for others. 
  2. "22 Doors" was composed by a friend, Devin Lowe who is the bass player on my Trio Real album. We had this tune in the book for that group but never recorded it, and I really wanted to hear these guys play it.  And play it they did! Thanks to Devin...
  3. "12 Step Blues" is a minor blues that uses all 12 "steps" of the chromatic scale, but is not actually a "12-tone" tune because some of the notes are repeated.
  4. "Parallel Present" comes from a place of reminiscence.  Like in the movie Sliding Doors, what if there were another life out there being lived by a parallel self who had made different choices?
  5. "Genealogy" is based on the standard song "I Got Rhythm," but the form omits large chunks of the original while maintaining parts of its essence. I had been doing some family genealogy research and thought it would be cool to write a boppish tune and name it "Genealogy," like some of the Charlie Parker heads that were named after different "-ologies" like "Ornithology" and "Anthropology." Mirroring old bop arrangements, the roles of the sax and guitar are reversed between the "in-head" and the "out-head."
  6. "Stuck" is based on the feeling of times when we can't seem to change our situation or alter our patterns in life. Sometimes when we do experience change it's after a period of feeling stuck.
  7. "The Phantom" is something I wrote many years ago but haven't performed until recently -- thanks to my friend Dr. James Noyes for persuading me to have this on the album. The song is dedicated to the great tenor saxophonist Joe Henderson because the melody sounds like something he might have played. His originality as a player and composer has always been inspiring (Joe was nicknamed "The Phantom" for his supposed knack for disappearing from a room without anyone noticing). 
  8. "Two-tone Tune" was written for our great drummer Matt Wilson. There's a building in my neighborhood that has two colors on its outer surface: two-tone. One day I looked at it and said "I'm going write a feature for Matt where every instrument gets just two notes (tones) to play for starters." The form of the song also has two main sections, the second with very optimistic, positive sounding chords that remind me of Matt's enormous, infectious enthusiasm.
  9. "Blue Innuendo" is dedicated to Joey DeFrancesco, a tribute to the organ master's ability to reach across generations to bring the good feelings of swinging music to present-day audiences, as this tune tries to do. The title references the ability of the Hammond B3 organ to pull any music towards the blues. No matter the style of music, adding a Hammond organ seems to put a "blue innuendo" in there.
  10. "Redeye" was written at a time I was traveling a lot between the West and East Coasts and life was becoming frenetic. One morning I arrived home in New York (after a "redeye" overnight flight), sat at the piano and wrote this tune. Interestingly, when this song -- which is built on "4th" intervals -- is played on the organ, it reminds me of the great organist Larry Young who played 4ths as a trademark.

It was fun pulling together this collection of original songs.  I hope you enjoy Blue Innuendo!