James McRae | Slow Down

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Jazz: Modern Creative Jazz Jazz: Bossa Nova Moods: Mood: Dreamy
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Slow Down

by James McRae

Jazz with a little bit of chocolate and bourbon thrown in..
Genre: Jazz: Modern Creative Jazz
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Noteorius
5:40 album only
2. Things Happen
5:24 album only
3. Slow Folks
4:39 album only
4. Little One-two
5:23 album only
5. Three Friends
5:05 album only
6. Wouldn't It
6:23 album only
7. Breakthru
5:12 album only
8. New Story
4:08 album only
9. U For Ee Ya
7:26 album only
10. Up
4:06 album only


Album Notes
Me with some info.
that relates to this CD:
I’m old enough to remember listening to music while
ruminating on the album cover I held in my hands. It was
at least 20 years before the invention of the CD.. I was
typically curious about the musicians and processes
involved in the recording.. This was partly resolved by
looking at the album, especially when notes and pics were
a part of the package. I was also curious to know about
how it all came about.. On a cosmic level I feel the same
way about how tomato seeds can grow from a tiny spec to
become what they do. Some things remain a mystery but
this CD will be less so if you read on.
Yea, I’m a drummer... When I was a kid growing up in
no mans land - pick any suburb, I knew I loved music and
wanted to be involved in the process. I didn’t have any
clue on how it would be, but I had saved 50$ from a paper
route.. With supportive parents who said they’d match
what I had, I started asking around at the school yard..
Lord knows why I was looking for a bass guitar but it was
soon forgotten when a kid named Ian Ianuzzi said he was
getting a new drum set for Christmas. Perhaps I could
buy his kit? It’s funny but it seems there are 2 types of
drummers - those who think drums 24/7 and those who
are determined to be involved in the musical process who
happen to be drummers.. I fall into the later category. A
bit later on - 1972, I made enough money on a summer
job at Delnor Foods in Burnaby to buy a Williams piano for
450$. I didn’t know anything about piano other then I
could make some sounds with it and feel the therapeutic
energy from just plunking my fingers down on it.
I never really took my music involvement seriously until
I was out of high school and had a realization I knew next
to nothing about music. Al Wiertz came into my life at a
fortuitous time. Aside from sharing his drum and music
knowledge, he turned me onto Tai Chi feeling it would be
beneficial to my playing.. He was really the guy who
turned me on to (dirty word to some) “jazz”. I had grown
up or “down” on rock music - Hendrix, The Who and
countless prog rock type bands that really thrilled me
back in the early 70’s.. Here was Al playing records of the
Coltrane Quartet, Miles Davis and Bill Evans Trio - which is
all he ever played “btw” and after about 6 months of this
indoctrination process, I realized jazz was cool after all.. I
am a late bloomer to “jazz” but an early one to “improvisation”..
Wayne Shorters album - Native Dancer and Horace
Silvers ‘Silver and Percussion’ represented a great source
of inspiration and offered direction somewhere in my mid
20’s.. These recordings hit me deeply.. Whoever Milton
Nascimento was, I was very curious to know more about
his musical influences. Turns out he dug the Beatles and
jazz and a lot of other interesting music too, but regardless
I was captivated by hi and more generally Brasilian
music. I loved the sounds and the richness of the harmonies ,
not the lyrical content! Some friends of mine still
can’t figure this out. I reason there are 2 kinds of listeners
- those into words with music and the others - me and
etc. - who can live with just the sounds. Pat Metheny was
exploring this same concept around the same time it
seemed... Kenny Wheeler, Chick Corea with Flora Purim
and etc. had experimented with voice as instrument as
well. Wayne and Horace came into my life through the
albums mentioned and opened me up to another world of
which I’m eternally appreciative.. The 70’s are sometimes
thought to be a hard time for jazz, but as a kid growing
up in the late 60’s and 70’s, I found it absolutely riveting
for all the diversity of music at the time. I think we have
this now too with the internet being a great equalizer of

About this CD mostly:
I enjoy the feeling of bringing a song to completion.
Being able to hear it played with real musicians is even
more or a thrill.. Bottom line - I dig this process of blending
melodies, harmonies and rhythms even if folks are
conditioned to think of me as a drummer.. The “slow
down” title comes out of my life-long lesson which is to
slow down! This ain’t easy for an Aries, but the Venus in
Taurus helps! This CD reflects a certain determination to
capture a picture of the many feelings and moods that
gave rise to these songs.. Often I’m searching for a feeling
of “up-lifted-ness” which I get from some of my
favorite music.. Hopefully listeners to this CD will get this
too.. I’ve known Miles for a long time since back in Victoria
in the 80’s and he has a strong connection to Vancouver
Island. I’ve wanted to do a recording with him and Scott
White for at least the last 5 years, but it hasn’t happened
Miles and I connected for this project while I was
working on the Patsy Cline show in Vancouver fall
2010.. I, or we decided I could get the recording done in
Vancouver with Miles and a few musicians he’s close to
who I really admire - Jennifer Scott and Rene Worst.. Miles
and Rene’s musical connections is a deep bond that goes
back a long ways too.. of course Rene and Jennifer are like
2 musical peas in a pod who really know how to make
great music together..
Anyways, about the recording - this was done in one
day without any prior rehearsal at a place called Baker St.
Studio in North Vancouver with a very good engineer, Dave
Meszaros. If Jennifer, Rene and Miles weren’t the consummate
musicians they are, it couldn’t have happened! Miles
and I spent some time fine tuning my charts to put them in
the clearest readable fashion possible .. We had a basic
game plan going into the studio which included a rough
order to the songs as well.. I had wanted to get a mix of
sounds - piano, wurlitzer and the b3 organ and Miles was
receptive to this.. I asked Rene to play whatever he felt like
playing on these songs - acoustic or electric... You’ll hear
this on the CD... The order of the songs are just as they
were recorded at the session - the first 5 before lunch and
the last 5 after. Jennifer was encouraged to take liberties
with the melodies if needed, but I can‘t say that she did!
Miles added the b3 organ on “slow folks” and “three
friends” at the end of the session all before 6pm. On a few
tracks Miles plays with one hand on the wurly and the
other on the piano which is something I found fascinating.
You can hear this if you listen closely. The one song that
is an exception to the simple process outlined here is the
song “u for ee ya”. This was done in 2 parts here in
Nanaimo with the creative hands and mind of Rick Salt.
Rick and I spent some time messing around blending the
head with the open jam, when in fact they were recorded
in 2 separate parts.. His involvement in this project has
been invaluable.
Making a CD is a pile of work. It involved many friends
behind the scene critical to the process. My
sister Jennifer McRae was extremely helpful and gave me
lots of good feedback while helping to produce the booklet
and overseeing aspects of the layout. Brian Rivas’
artistic abilities with graphics on a computer are something
he comes by naturally.. His talent for playing around
with visual ideas on computers in addition to his photo
taking skills are pronounced. The back picture is Beacon
Hill Park waterfront in Victoria thrown into a reverse
image. My long time friends, Alex North, Gary Thiele,
Enrique Rivas and Dave Clark helped provide a level of
support that was also critical for making this CD.. Thanks
to Doug Dodd, Simon Garber came along at the tail end of
this project to offer very valuable information and support
as well.. Last but definitely not least is my long suffering
wife Susan and her dear sister Joan who continue to both
be very supportive.. Bell our dog on the cover is my
constant companion on walks where many of these melodies
are born and shared with you on this CD..
Thanks to everyone for making this dream come true.



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easy to like
hey james a very nice album that i keep listening to....