Bert Seager | The Why

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Jazz: Chamber Jazz Jazz: Piano Jazz Moods: Featuring Piano
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The Why

by Bert Seager

This sparkling new chamber-jazz group features piano, cello, upright bass, and hand percussion - soulful original melodies, rich harmonic song form and spontaneous improvisation.
Genre: Jazz: Chamber Jazz
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Lonely Tango
5:35 $0.99
2. Lando the Free
5:36 $0.99
3. Snow Sprite
6:23 album only
4. Persian Melon
8:42 $0.99
5. Peterborough
11:30 album only
6. Before
1:09 album only
7. What Started as Fun
5:41 $0.99
8. Prelude
6:20 $0.99
9. Song for the Mayan Calendar
6:12 $0.99
10. Noctane
7:44 album only
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
What is the new project about? It seems that playing with a cello and without a drum set player is a big departure for you.

I won a fellowship to compose the music for this project at the MacDowell Colony in Peterborough, New Hampshire. This is a 100 year old artist colony that selectively chooses artists, composers, writers and filmmakers. If you are lucky enough to succeed in the admission process, they give you the use of private cottage in the woods for between two and eight weeks. Each composer’s cottage has a Steinway grand piano in it.

I went there to compose music for this particular group. I conceived of it as chamber-jazz. All my other CDs had bass and drums, or bass and drums and saxophone. But this group replaces the saxophone with a cello and drums with hand percussion. Catherine Bent, our cellist, brings a considerable ability to improvise over the chord change/structures that I write for her, as well as an ability to play a melody in a way that makes me swoon. Brian O’Neill our hand percussionist brings more transparency to the music and keeps the dynamic level lower so that I am not competing with a drummer’s ride cymbal. I get a more intimate warm piano sound in this band and that was and still is a large part of what I am looking for. And you, Ehud bring your daring imagination to this music with your bass playing, your energy and enthusiasm.

Why did you call the group “The Why”?

I decided to call this project “The Why” because every time I remember to ask myself, why I am playing this music, I come up with answers that provide me a broader perspective. We are a small band in a big world - but we are committed to discovering ways of communicating with each other and our audiences that go beyond thoughts of merely playing well, or of having a good time. The Why. This question has led me to ask what the purpose of music might be. It has led me to ask what are the values that I wish to be evident when we play together. I am grateful for how much more of a path quality this music has when we ask that question.

Can you tell people how it is going so far, and maybe more about the recording?

Sure. This band has been playing at least once a month for almost two years now. And these monthly gigs continue. So when we went to the Futura studio in Roslindale we were ready to play this music with a sense of ease and joy. We chose Futura because they are the top classical music studio in Boston. They have a gorgeous sounding and perfectly responsive 9-foot Steinway D concert grand and a room with a high ceiling that gives the perfect amount of natural reverb. Our comfort in the studio is clearly evident in the way we took chances together while we were playing. I hope it will be a CD that people will want to listen to over and over again.

These songs that I have written speak deeply to the musical values I hold dearly, of melody and harmony, of form and groove. The rest, the bigger questions are in there too, and I sense that as people listen that they will find some of their own answers to this question of “why” in there as well.



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