Dan Karlsberg | Mission to Mars (and Other Short Stories)

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Mission to Mars (and Other Short Stories)

by Dan Karlsberg

Colorful, beautiful, adventurous instrumental music, where each track is a unique story, performed by musicians who have been working together for almost a decade.
Genre: Jazz: Modern Creative Jazz
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  Song Share Time Download
1. Mission to Mars
7:20 $0.99
2. "T" Ordering Food
7:48 $0.99
3. Mollie's Mood
5:44 $0.99
4. Ride-An-Hour
7:29 $0.99
5. Whipple's Mode
4:43 $0.99
6. To Richard Pryor
9:50 $0.99
7. Nereid
5:24 $0.99
8. Bali Hai
8:45 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Speaking of the Dan Karlsberg Group:

“this is a group functioning on the highest level of communication and commitment...they tackle freedom and restraint with equal vigor, convincing on whatever musical front they choose.”

--Marc Medwin, Cadence Magazine 2008.

“Besides showcasing his hypnotic style of playing – which leans like Monk and swings and sways like Bill Evans, often exploding with jaw-drop energy – the album showed that the pianist’s abilities as a bandleader, arranger and composer were on par with his fingerwork..”

--Mike Breen, CityBeat Magazine 2008.

“Dan’s musical approach – always a surprise. Steve Whipple on bass and Anthony Lee, Jr. on drums complete the trio and together they weave a tapestry of varying shades and textures that shift color depending on the angle from which they are viewed.”

--Elizabeth Wu, CityBeat Magazine 2007.

“Dan Karlsberg paints with a very broad palette. The group has great chemistry and plays well together.”

-- Bob Nave, WMKV 89.3 FM, Cincinnati, OH

Award-winning jazz keyboardist and composer Dan Karlsberg is setting his sights skyward, with the release of his second CD, Mission to Mars & Other Short Stories. This time, he is taking new crew members along for the ride, with regular sidemen, bassist Steve Whipple and drummer Anthony “T” Lee, both former Cincinnatians who are now based in New York. Joining them on various tracks are four other Cincinnati favorites: Sandy Suskind on flute, Garin Webb on soprano and tenor sax, Oz Landesberg on tenor sax, and trombonist Marc Fields, who spent six years touring with the late Ray Charles.

“This project was inspired by an old Herbie Hancock album called Speak Like a Child,” Karlsberg said. “It showed Herbie’s trio highlighted by the colors of a horn section. I wanted to do the same thing, using horns to add extra color and depth to the music. As the album progressed, on most of the songs, I ended up having the horn players take on featured roles too.”

When Karlsberg refers to horns, he means flute, trombone, soprano sax and tenor sax. Stylistically, the new album is quite a departure from his 2007 release, The Adventures of the Dan Karlsberg Group, which consisted of keyboards, bass, drums, flute and vocals. That album received a Best of the City Award from CityBeat, Cincinnati’s alternative newspaper, and was nominated for two CEA Cincinnati Entertainment Awards, in the Jazz and Best New Artist categories.

Now comes Mission to Mars, comprised of eight tracks totaling nearly an hour of straight-ahead jazz infused with Karlsberg’s unique blend of funk and fun. All but two of the tunes are original, each deeply personal and reflective of the musician’s observations and memories. The title composition, for example, was inspired by Karlsberg’s niece and nephew.

“They used to watch a cartoon called The Backyardigans,” he said. “One of the episodes was Mission to Mars, and I thought that would be a great title for a song. The tune I wrote is exploratory. The structure of the song is a combination of free and open sections with more ridged sections too. I wasn’t trying to make it sound like space music, but it’s definitely ‘out there’ at times.”

Several other tracks were inspired by Karlsberg’s friends, a favorite comedian and, in one case, a pet. The tune “T” Ordering Food is based on Karlsberg’s interpretation of the way drummer Anthony “T” Lee takes his time meticulously studying a menu, before ordering a meal. Whipple’s Mode is a happy tribute to friend and bassist Steve Whipple. Mollie’s Mood is a bittersweet ode to the composer’s late basset hound. The track To Richard Pryor, as the title suggests, was inspired by Karlsberg’s memories of the late comedian.

“I have always been a big fan of comedy, and Richard Pryor is at the top of my list,” Karlsberg said. “His genius and humanity inspired me to compose this tune for him. I, for some reason, associate Richard Pryor with the 1970’s, so I tried to capture some of the funkiness of the 70’s with this composition.”

Two tracks on the album are covers: Nereid by the classical British composer Arnold Bax, and Bali Hai by Richard Rodgers, from the musical South Pacific. “Nereids are mythological sea nymphs,” Karlsberg said. “You can hear the back and forth of the ocean’s waves, the magical and mysterious world of the open sea. Bali Hai is one of many songs introduced to me by my father through his love of film. It has a beautiful, haunting melody that has stuck with me through the years.”


Dan Karlsberg - piano
Steve Whipple - bass
Anthony "T" Lee - drums
Oz Landesberg - tenor sax (track #2)
Sandy Suskind - flute (tracks #1,3,4,7,9)
Garin Webb - soprano sax (tracks #3,7) tenor sax (track #6)
Marc Fields - trombone (tracks #3,6,7)



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