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John McNeil & Mike Fahie | Plainsong

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Jazz: Modern Creative Jazz Jazz: Cool Jazz Moods: Mood: Intellectual
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by John McNeil & Mike Fahie

The hauntingly lyrical and exquisitely attuned PLAINSONG is the culmination of a decade plus relationship between two like-minded musicians, torchbearers for the Brooklyn jazz scene. Featuring Ethan Iverson, Joe Martin, and Billy Hart.
Genre: Jazz: Modern Creative Jazz
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  Song Share Time Download
1. Dover Beach
John McNeil & Mike Fahie
9:56 $0.99
2. Can Do
John McNeil & Mike Fahie
7:42 $0.99
3. Prospect
John McNeil & Mike Fahie
7:15 $0.99
4. Abercrombie
John McNeil & Mike Fahie
12:10 $0.99
5. Conversation Starter (feat. Joe Martin)
John McNeil & Mike Fahie
1:28 $0.99
6. Green Chimneys
John McNeil & Mike Fahie
6:31 $0.99
7. Plain Song, Rain Song
John McNeil & Mike Fahie
12:15 $0.99
8. Random Activity (feat. Billy Hart)
John McNeil & Mike Fahie
0:59 $0.99
9. Backseat Pedal
John McNeil & Mike Fahie
6:09 $0.99
10. Undercurrent (feat. Ethan Iverson)
John McNeil & Mike Fahie
1:32 $0.99
11. Get Out
John McNeil & Mike Fahie
6:37 $0.99
12. The Tristano Chord (feat. Ethan Iverson)
John McNeil & Mike Fahie
2:05 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Following a decade leading some of Brooklyn’s greatest jam sessions at spots like Puppets, Tea Lounge, and Sir D’s Lounge, trumpeter John McNeil and trombonist Mike Fahie decided it was time to share their time-tested rapport. For their debut album Plainsong (October 27 / Destiny Records), the duo recruited a dream band featuring veterans they’ve worked with in various contexts: the superb, telepathic drummer Billy Hart, the versatile and imaginative pianist Ethan Iverson (a founding member of the Bad Plus), and the imperturbable, elastic bassist Joe Martin.

“Mike is like me, always asking questions,” says McNeil, who’s been described by The New York Times as “one of the best improvisers working in jazz.” “By wondering if we can do this or that, we work out a new language that we haven’t heard before.”

John dug deep into his five-decade career to uncover the dazzling opener “Dover Beach,” a piece he originally wrote for his friend, the late guitarist John Abercrombie, and bookended it with a new composition,“Abercrombie.” Fahie penned numerous themes for the recording, whether “Backseat Pedal,” inspired by cycling around Brooklyn on a tandem bike with his daughter, or the meditative “Plain Song, Rain Song,” which draws loose inspiration from the Gregorian form the of the 13th century and native American rain dances. “If you’re going to work with great improvisers, the best thing you can do is to write simple material and let them improvise,” adds Fahie, who heaps on credit to his bandmates, who plan to reunite for select dates in New York City.

In many ways, Joe Martin is a perfect bassist for Plainsong. He’s one of those rare creative musicians who knows how to fit in with any band, but also put his stamp on a group’s musical direction, without fanfare or domination. “The tunes are quite simple in the writing, but the music is not simple in its execution,” says Fahie.

Over the last fifteen years, McNeil has gained attention for piano-less quartets, including a group co-led by tenor saxophonist Bill McHenry as well as the collective Hush Point, and even though the trumpeter and Fahie worked without a pianist at their jam sessions, both agreed to use one in this new venture, to distinguish it from those bands and to underline the subtle shapes of their own tunes with a chordal instrument. “Ethan completely makes pieces deep with a beautiful level of complexity that didn’t need to be there in the writing.” Indeed, McNeil agrees, and says of Iverson, “I feel like I have a lot more ideas when I play with him.”



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