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Dale Fielder Quintet | At the Threshold

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Passion like Coltrane

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Jazz: Contemporary Jazz Spiritual: Inspirational Moods: Type: Improvisational
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At the Threshold

by Dale Fielder Quintet

The music is passionate improvisational jazz with spiritual overtones, which is very listenable, while being free. uplifting, and inspiring.
Genre: Jazz: Contemporary Jazz
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  Song Share Time Download
1. Chim Chim Cheree
5:18 $0.99
2. The Spirit of God Is Upon Me
4:47 $0.99
3. Miranda's Dance
5:42 $0.99
4. Keshava Murahara
7:23 $0.99
5. Maau
5:37 $0.99
6. On the Street Where You Live
6:15 $0.99
7. At the Threshold
7:11 $0.99
8. When You Wish Upon a Star
5:12 $0.99
9. Nataraja
5:21 $0.99
10. I Trust in God
4:58 $0.99
11. Only the Good Remains
4:15 $0.99
12. I Release
3:41 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
The style is passionate improvisational jazz which is free and flowing with a hint of a Coltrane influence.



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Scott Yanow

At The Threshold Liner Notes
The genesis of At The Threshold began in 2003. Dr. Herman Brooks, a psychiatrist, ordained minister, and singer/songwriter who has a recording out under his own name (and another along with the band Unity Posse), had long thought about producing an album of spiritual jazz. His good friend Dale Fielder, who had already been a major saxophonist for over a decade, was his choice for the album which became A Divine Union (Clarion Jazz 80404). Dr. Brooks remembers, “The idea was to make a joyful noise through jazz. I selected the songs and the album was designed as a prayer.”

Although A Divine Union, which featured the saxophonist on a dozen religious songs, came out very well, Dr. Brooks always had one regret. “I made the mistake of using a drum machine. Because of that, I’ve always thought that I wanted to do the project again, and do it right. At The Threshold is redemption for me, healing myself from the mistakes that I made on the first album!”

Dale Fielder’s career has evolved quite a bit since that time. A fixture on the Los Angeles jazz scene, he has led an impressive quartet (with pianist Jane Getz, bassist Bill Markus and drummer Thomas White) since 1995. In recent times the tenor and alto-saxophonist has concentrated on becoming a master of the baritone saxophone. He released Scenes From A Dream earlier in 2018, a recording that documents his early musical relationship with the late Geri Allen. “Right after the Geri Allen project,” remembers Dale, “I wrote many new tunes that I am excited about, recording a new CD with the quartet that will be released next May. For At The Threshold, Dr. Brooks picked all of the material which is comprised of songs that I had played 20-30 years ago, back in the 1990s. When I started preparing and arranging the music, I realized that a lot of these tunes were quite good. What the experience has taught me is that I shouldn’t be so quick to discard the older songs as I often have. I freshened them up with new arrangements, we got together with Maurice Gainen who is Dr. Brooks’ right hand and co-producer, and recorded the music with the quartet and Nolan Shaheed.”

At The Threshold, which has Dale switching between tenor, alto and soprano, has more variety in its repertoire than A Divine Union. Dr. Brooks explains, “I wanted to make a more inclusive noise while highlighting Dale’s unique talents. I love the way that he plays. He has been inspired by John Coltrane’s passion and fire. I wanted him to cover some very good songs so I included a few standards, new versions of some of the original songs from the A Divine Union album, and four of Dale’s earlier originals that I really like and thought would go well with the quintet.”

Dale Fielder is joined by Jane Getz, Bill Markus, his long-time musical associate drummer Don Littleton (since Thomas White was not available), and trumpeter Nolan Shaheed. “Trumpeter Dan Bagasoul was my musical partner back in the 1990s,” says Dale. “When he passed away, it was really hard for me to play with another trumpet player. I went 15 years before using Nolan on the Donald Byrd/Pepper Adams project Each Time I Think Of You. What I like best about Nolan is his versatility, he can play any style of music, his integrity, and the spirituality that he always brings to the music. As for the members of the quartet, I always tell Jane that she is the reason that I stayed in California rather than going back to New York. It is such a joy to write music and hear her play it. All of the musicians know what I want without me having to explain much. There is nothing better than making a CD with your friends.”

At The Threshold begins with “Chim Chim Cheree.” Oliver Nelson wrote a classic arrangement of the Mary Poppins song for Wes Montgomery. Dale happily borrowed from that recording including transitional spots in 5/4 time that hint at the “Mission Impossible Theme.” The performance, which serves as a perfect introduction to the quintet, has tenor, trumpet, piano and bass solos along with spirited ensembles.

“The Spirit Of God Is Upon Me” is the first of several gospel songs composed by singer/songwriter Rickie Byars Beckwith included in this program. The soulful and simple but effective number has brief solo statements that are separated by readings of the melody. “Miranda’s Dance,” which was previously recorded for Dale’s Short Form CD, finds the group’s sound recalling the Horace Silver Quintet. The catchy bass line, which is accentuated by Jane Getz’s percussive chording, inspires memorable piano, trumpet and tenor solos.

Alice Coltrane’s “Kesheva Murahara,” which Dale calls his favorite performance of the CD, is a very spiritual piece that one could easily imagine John Coltrane playing. “This represents what the whole project is about. I did everything I could in my soprano playing to capture the rhythm in the melody and the original vibration of the phrases.”

“Maau,” named after a religious term used in ancient Egypt, has a beautiful blend between trumpet and tenor with Nolan Shaheed showing the inspiration of Freddie Hubbard. It was previously recorded on Dale’s Know Thyself CD. “On The Street Where You Live” is taken as a swinger with Dale displaying his roots in Charlie Parker and 1950s jazz but in his own voice.

The modal piece “At The Threshold” was originally part of the “Passion Suite” released on Oceans Of Love And Mercy. The medium-slow strut has a particularly strong statement by its composer. Dale plays beautifully throughout “When You Wish Upon A Star” on soprano, caressing the melody and creating a tasteful performance. “Nataraja,” which was part of the A Divine Union project, features the quintet playing creatively over a funky one-chord groove. Rickie Byars Beckwith’s “I Trust In God” is a soulful groove tune that includes a fine display of percussion by Don Littleton. The medium-slow jazz waltz “Only The Good” from the Short Form album was originally a duet with Jane Getz but this thoughtful version effectively utilizes the full quintet and has warm soprano, trumpet, piano and bass solos. At The Threshold concludes with the celebratory and rousing Byars Beckwith gospel tune “I Release And Let It Go.”

When asked to describe the music of At The Threshold, Dale Fielder says “These days I write a lot and have hundreds of new songs that I want to get to, but it was nice going back and exploring some of the older pieces. The tunes are accessible even to people who may not like jazz or are not into gospel music. I think the power of the music will easily resonate with every listener.”

Suffice it to say that Dr. Herman Brooks will have no regrets about At The Threshold.

Scott Yanow, jazz journalist/historian and author of 11 books including Jazz On Record 1917-76, Trumpet Kings and Jazz On Film