A Conrad Trio | Screaming While Playing

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Jazz: Modern Creative Jazz Rock: Garage Rock Moods: Featuring Saxophone
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Screaming While Playing

by A Conrad Trio

A bold debut album by vibrant Los Angeles saxophonist and composer Andrew Conrad, this raw and visceral sax trio displays a deeply intertwined musical dialogue rarely encountered in an age that favors technology and sheen over unfiltered expression
Genre: Jazz: Modern Creative Jazz
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  Song Share Time Download
clip
1. Harvest Your Blend
4:22 $0.99
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2. Amsterdam
4:46 album only
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3. 1604
2:55 album only
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4. Hour Time
3:53 album only
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5. Graham for Martha
4:55 album only
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6. "Someday You Will Die and Somehow Something's Gonna Steal Your Carbon"
5:13 album only
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7. Barbara Lee
5:43 album only
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8. String 9
3:23 album only
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9. All Unblocked Up
5:50 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.

ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
An improvisor with a penchant for making provocative statements on the topic of music-making once said,

"When you have a vast amount of stuff coming through your system and everything reaches a choke point, you have to emit some sort of sound or you’re gonna die."

That’s hifalutin. There’s always going to be at least a small amount of artifice in one’s artistic endeavor. Rarely is it ever a matter of life and death in the literal sense. But I do see his point. Oftentimes we as listeners get the feeling that our musicians need to make the sound they are making. We are left with a sense that there might be some disastrous or at least unfortunate consequence if that release were not allowed to occur in that moment.

Herein lies the power of organized sound. When this sense of urgency lands on you it’s difficult to ignore. Not only does it give you a window into the artist’s character and intentions, it shows you something about your own. There is an exchange taking place, something being reciprocated.

The combination of saxophone, upright bass, and drums is pretty well-worn territory by now. But when you consider all that stuff about death and urgency and intentions and reciprocation it’s easy to see why it’s still a thing. It’s the same reason why two turntables and a microphone is still a thing. It’s the same reason why two guitars, bass, drums, and at least one person singing is still a thing. Or a young woman accompanying her own voice with acoustic guitar. Drum circle, laptop, string quartet, guy with looping pedals and effects boxes… You get it. That urgent quality can be heard in the best of all of these. If given the platform, one honest attempt at expression can make such a mark that we as a culture can’t even remember what it was ever like without it.

But maybe this is all too reductive. Too impersonal. Put another way: sax-bass-drums is a thing because Andrew, Emilio, and Michael are a thing. They are players with similar goals, years of shared history, engaging in the best way they know how. It’s not the only way, but it is the best way. Emotions are reenacted in their musical gestures. There is meaning in their sonic relationship. But even when the power of the group dynamic is abandoned and Andrew gives you multiple layers of himself, as on “1604,” you are still learning more about him quicker than you might by any other means. I know I did when I heard it.

In other words, these musicians are not playing AT you. They are playing with you. Enjoy.

Matt Mayhall
July 2016
Los Angeles, CA


This recording was an exercise in composing, editing, and documenting music and improvisation in a way that I heard in my head. It is inspired by countless improvisers and musicians too many to name here. The goal I had was only to complete the project without judgment. These notes are about some of my inspiration behind the compositions, but I believe that this music is really about whatever you hear it to be about. That is the beauty of art, its meaning comes from the consumer; whether you are looking at it, listening to it, feeling it, eating it, or absorbing it in any other way, its meaning and its worth is ultimately up to you.

Harvest Your Blend is named for some unimportant blend of tea, and the music is inspired by perception of time and pulse. Playing with imposing different subdivisions on top of each other, I wanted to occupy that space and see what could happen.

Amsterdam was inspired by a visit to that city in 2007, where I heard a street musician playing in a subdivision of 9 that I had never heard before. It was mesmerizing and it stuck with me so much that I couldn’t forget the rhythm for the rest of my travels. When I returned home I found a melody to sneak in and out of it, and this song was born.

There are three solo pieces on the record, and each is an improvisation based around one or several ideas. I had in mind musical goals or arrival points, and found a different way to get to and from them each time I improvised. Solo improvisation has long been a type of meditation for myself, as it is for many musicians and listeners. 1604 is dedicated to a music community that became built around a wonderful house I lived in for six years after college. Graham for Martha is partially inspired by a quote from the great dancer and choreographer Martha Graham: “There is a vitality, a life force, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is, nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours, clearly and directly, to keep the channel open.” String 9 is based on a single idea I stumbled upon during an improvisation, and continues to play with one’s perception of time and pulse.

Bassist Richard Giddens gave me a 12-sided die once, saying: “Here, now you can write serialist music.” I never quite got around to doing that… but I did use the die to generate the pitch material for Hour Time. Mike, Emilio and I had limited rehearsals leading up to our first performance and I wrote this song an hour before our last get together.

Seemingly a somber statement, “Someday you will die and Somehow Something’s Gonna steal your Carbon” struck me as an astounding affirmation and acceptance of the life process. The song acts in my mind as a positive elegy.

Three days after 9/11 the U.S. Congress voted to pass The Authorization for the Use of Military Force, the bulk of which is a complex, sixty word sentence. The A.U.M.F. would allow near free reign for the President to engage in military conflict almost anywhere without congress’ approval. Out of 421 congress members present for the vote, Representative Barbara Lee was the only person to vote against it. She urged restraint and patience while echoing a statement from the recent memorial service saying that “as we act, let us not become the evil that we deplore.” Barbara Lee was written to honor the one congresswoman who had the foresight to see that the A.U.M.F. afforded too much unchecked power to the presidential branch too quickly. It is a melody composed of sixty pitches.

All Unblocked Up was a study in allowing whatever I wanted to happen in a piece of music to happen. There are three improvised sections in the middle with written instruction to speak or scream words beginning with the letter W, S, and finally B. This song is a smaller representation of my record Screaming While Playing. It’s yet another exercise in writing, editing and finishing a work without placing judgment good or bad on it. My favorite image the album title evokes is that of a care free child joyously, frantically, and uncontrollably playing all while screaming without realizing it.

Thanks for listening.

Andrew Conrad
July 2016
Los Angeles


Special Thanks:
To Lauren Baba for supporting me through this whole process.
To Emilio and Mike, I can’t thank you enough for all the hard work putting up with and playing my sometimes tricky music.
To my family, friends and all my teachers. Thank you for showing confidence in me, even at times that I had none.

Recorded by Greg Hartunian at Studio City on March 17, 2015
Mixed and Mastered by Dan Rosenboom
Produced by Andrew Conrad and Orenda
Cover painting by Dr. Isapony I.N.V. XD

All compositions written by Andrew Conrad (ASCAP)
All music © conrew music (ASCAP) 2016

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