Max Dyer & Friends | Inspired

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by Max Dyer & Friends

With unusual versatility, cellist Max Dyer has created a solo album drawn from many styles including jazz, Latin, classical, folk, popular, funk, Medieval and East/West fusion.
Genre: Jazz: Crossover Jazz
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. The Sun
4:04 $0.99
2. Falling Grace
4:40 $0.99
3. Cantaloupe Island
5:45 $0.99
4. Tanya's Waltz
3:51 $0.99
5. Afro Blue
5:02 $0.99
6. Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring (feat. Dana Cunningham)
5:24 $0.99
7. Ja Nuns Hons Pris
4:33 $0.99
8. Kol Nidre
3:55 $0.99
9. Alice in Wonderland
4:57 $0.99
10. Phonkmon (feat. Keith Vivens)
4:16 $0.99
11. Blue in Green
5:19 $0.99
12. Bhairavi (feat. Nanda Banerjee)
5:41 $0.99
13. The Hudson
3:04 $0.99
14. What a Wonderful World
3:55 $0.99
15. The Rain Song (feat. David Pulkingham)
3:31 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes

INSPIRED: Max Dyer and Friends

Max Dyer plays cello, electric cello and bass guitar on this album

1 The Sun Max Dyer Antar Sudhananda
Antar Sudhananda, guitar
Max Dyer, cello and bass guitar

I met Sudhanada back in the late 80s near the end of a three-year stint with the Houston Symphony. The relentless regimen of serious classical music was exhausting me and I missed the relaxed creativity I had known playing folk music for nearly a decade on a tiny Scottish island. So I put up a notice in a local guitar store: "Symphony cellist looking for good guitarist for collaborative work.” Fortunately for me, the only response was from Antar Sudhanada, a beautiful and inspiring guitarist. He and I immediately recognized each other as kindred spirits with the same wistful musical sensibilities and a common yearning for musical transcendence. Last year, when I told Sudhananda I was finally recording my own album, he generously contributed this pristinely recorded guitar progression to help me get me started. I added a bass guitar part and then improvised a lot of cello parts (which Sudie christened the "Maxananda Cello Orchestra") I dedicate this tune to my late dear friend, Mikel Kennedy.

2. Falling Grace Steve Swallow
David Pulkingham, electric guitar
Anthony Sapp, acoustic bass
Pedro Fernandez, percussion

Falling Grace has been a perennial favorite of mine, and I never tire of jamming on the complex progression with my “Band in a Box”. For this session, I enlisted the help of three fabulous musicians. Anthony Sapp is a powerful, energetic bassman and I love the stability and joy in his playing. Panamanian drummer Pedro Fernandez brings a sunny vibe and a beautiful authenticity to this album. David Pulkingham is a superb guitarist based in Austin who tours with such top notch performers as Nancy Griffin and Alejandro Escoveda. It's special for me to have David on this album because I have known him since he was a wee boy back in Scotland, where we lived in the community founded by his family.

3. Cantaloupe Island Herbie Hancock
Paul Chester, banjo and guitar
Dr. Sick, fiddle
Richard Cholakian, drums

I learned this tune from the great jazz trumpeter Dennis Dotson who sang it to me onstage between songs during a concert. I liked it immediately and was taking a solo a few minutes later. Here, I recorded the bass part on my electrified acoustic cello, with Richard adding his solid drum groove. With a great foundation laid, Paul and I recorded together hot off a New Orleans concert. Who would imagine banjo on this funky tune? Paul did. Then Dr. Sick drove over from New Orleans and worked his wild fiddle magic to take it over the top!

4. Tanya's Waltz Traditional
Martha Gay, Celtic harp
Bob Bielefield, penny whistle
Alexander Korolov, treble viola da gamba

I've played with Martha, Bob, and Alex for many years at the Texas Renaissance Festival as part of the band Cantiga, and we have recorded more than half a dozen albums. Tanya’s Waltz is one of those timeless and familiar sounding Celtic tunes we learned via the Renfest musicians' grapevine. Nobody seems to know where this simple haunting melody came from except that a woman named Tanya liked it and the name stuck. The tune sounds Scottish to me and takes me back to the “old country.” It's also very tender and great baby music - we played it for my kids when they were little.

5. Afro Blue Mongo Santamaria
David Pulkingham, electric guitar
Pedro Fernandez, congas and percussion
Charry Garcia, percussion, charango and pan pipes

I asked Pedro to suggest a great Afro-Cuban tune and he mentioned this one. With Pedro's smoking groove on cowbell and congas, my Chilean friend Charry Garcia tracked his panpipes and charango to add a touch of the Andes, and David nailed another great guitar solo. I played the bass line with my acoustic cello, and created the “fretless bass” solo with a retuned Zeta electric cello.

6. Jesu Joy of Man's Desiring J.S. Bach / Dana Cunningham
Dana Cunningham, piano
Recorded at Cedarhouse Sound and Mastering, North Sutton, NH
Gerry Putnam, engineer

I play Christmas concerts every winter at The Little White Church in Eaton NH with my good friend, Dana Cunningham, an exquisite contemplative pianist and composer. Since she is working on a new album of hymn tunes, I recently joined her for sessions in New Hampshire, and we had the perfect opportunity to record this arrangement of “Jesu.”

7. Ja Nuns Hons Pris Richard the Lionheart
Martha Gay, Celtic harp
Ray Dillard, drum and percussion

Written by Richard the Lionheart when he was imprisoned in Austria, Ja Nuns Hons Pris must qualify as the earliest prison blues! Martha and I recorded this together, harp and cello, I added my trusty Fender Precision, and Ray Dillard graced it with his earthy percussion parts. With the added interludes, this medieval melody becomes a great jam tune so it's never the same twice.

8. Kol Nidre Max Dyer- based on the Aramaic penitential chant
Max Dyer, cello
From "Love Song," a documentary by Alexandra Addison

"Love Song" is a documentary about an Israeli non-profit organization that benefits girlfriends and boyfriends of slain Israeli soldiers. NY filmmaker Alexandra Addison commissioned me to write closing title credit music and requested that I use the Kol Nidre chant as a point of departure for this composition. I improvised multiple cello tracks while watching the poignant photographic montage of fallen young men and women from the Israeli army.

9. Alice in Wonderland Fain/Hilliard
Gary Norian, piano
David Craig, acoustic bass
Richard Cholakian, drums
Recorded at Wire Road Studios, Houston Texas
Andy Bradley, engineer

I wanted to record a couple of my favorite jazz standards for this album, and who better to help me than Houston jazz artists Gary Norian, David Craig, Richard Cholakian, and Houston's best engineer Andy Bradley. With Andy behind the console and these friends in the studio, I felt like I was riding in a Rolls Royce!

10. Phonkmon Keith Vivens and Max Dyer

Keith Vivens, bass guitar
Paul Chester, electric guitar, slide guitar
Dr. Sick, fiddle
Richard Cholakian, drums

Keith is the best funk bass player I know. I have the privilege of playing with him twice a month at Unity Church with Gary on piano and Richard on drums. Keith laid down this killer bass part and with Richard's rock solid groove, things really began to cook. Paul got down with his sassy guitar licks, Dr. Sick worked his funky fiddle mojo, and I just jumped in and turned up the heat! I named this tune for Keith when I found out “Phonkmon” is his nickname!

11. Blue in Green Miles Davis
David Pulkingham, guitar
Anthony Sapp, acoustic bass
Ray Dillard, drums

Jazz pianists will tell you that Bill Evans actually composed this tune and Miles Davis stole it. Whoever wrote it, I could jam on these changes forever. We caught this moody rendition unrehearsed on the first take. Ray added the drums later from his studio in Canada—artfully navigating all this rubato playing.

12. Bhairavi Nanda Banerjee, Max Dyer
Improvisation based on Raga Bhairavi Mishra
Nanda Banerjee, voice and tanpura
John Hardesty, keyboard
(Excerpted from The Language of Peace CD: Invocation. Recorded by Randy Miller)

Nanda Banerjee is a renowned North Indian classical singer, and John Hardesty is a keyboardist and composer with a gift for creating meditation music; together we perform as "The Language of Peace." Nanda, John and I have gotten together many times over the years to simply jam and explore together: our music is truly a meeting of East and West. I love the vast space that opens when we improvise together in this deep and melancholy raga. Although the drone remains the axis of the music, John's evocative harmonies open up a wide range of harmonic possibilities for exalted improvisation.

13. The Hudson Ola Gjeilo
Todd Nolde, piano
Recorded at Northwoods Presbyterian Church, Houston with help from Mike Browning.

Todd and I have played together for several years at Northwoods Presbyterian Church where he is the music director and organist and we have enjoyed playing a lot of music together for the close-knit congregation. Todd introduced me to this beautiful lullaby by the Norwegian composer Ola Gjello.

14. What a Wonderful World Weiss, Douglas, Thiele
Gary Norian, piano
David Craig, acoustic bass
Richard Cholakian, drums
Recorded at Wire Road Studios, Houston Texas
Andy Bradley, engineer

Louis Armstrong’s familiar version of this song makes me cry. I asked Gary if he would help create a new arrangement- we did so on the fly, in the recording studio.

15. The Rain Song Betty Carr Pulkingham
David Pulkingham, guitar

My dear friend and mentor Betty Pulkingham had an immense influence on me during my years living in community and, in a sense, her music has become a soundtrack for my life. When her guitarist son David Pulkingham came to record for this album, I asked him if we could send his mom a recording as a little gift to express our love and gratitude. The Rain Song dates from our years together in the 70's, and epitomizes to me Betty's unfailing kindness, gentle grace, and deep serenity.

I want to express my sincere thanks to everyone who has contributed to this project, especially to the following friends whose wonderful generosity has made this recording possible:

Bill and Mimi Farra, Jeff and Sylvia Schiffmayer, Cornelia Watkins Dyer, Kevin O’Neill, Daniel J. Kennedy, Bob Dyer, Eleanor T. Jenkins, Howard Page-Clark, Kerstin Hopstadius, Joshua Messick, Maria Devlin, Holly Reid, Henry Hickford, Bill Dyer, Elaine Klose, Martin Pearsall, Wayne Kerr, George M. Rootes, Wiley Beveridge, Patrick Hosford, Bob and Diane Andrew, Cherie and David Binns, Carol Kennedy, William Dyer, Jerry Coats, Sam Taylor, Judith Harris, John Dyer, Lana Rigsby, Todd Nolde, Greg Beilstein, Julie Griego, Bob and Carol Stevens, Jennifer Kalled, Barbara Gilbert, Johanna Brodin, John and Tricia Wilkes, Linda and Charlie Iselborn, Severo Palacio, Heather McKendry, Benjamin Yeu Chai, Darla Purchase, Rebecca Stoll, Chris White, Betty Carr Pulkingham, Erba Carskadden, Debbie Chavez, Peter Lusby-Taylor, Nancy Lawshae, Gwenyth Udd, Soham Fuller, Laura Love Denman-Magden,Margaret-Love Denman, Bill and Beth Rogers, Margaret Pulkingham, Grace Kosloski, Billy Morgan, Peter Jagdeo, Barbara Shreffler, Barbara Gilbert, Nita Caskey, Vola Regini, Mary Macintosh, Dana Wardell, Marge Dahl, Kaye Wetzel, Paul DuBay, Lois and Sam Andrews , Jane White, Cory Andrews, Doris Bazard, John Hill, Jeanette Reyenga, Ruth Wieting, John Hardesty, Linda Oestreich, Eugenia Kirchner, Amy Harr, Barbara Peugh, Kareem Goode, Henry Darragh, Linda Heilig, Karen White, Barb and Frank Holmes, Barbara Bald, Kathy Stewart, Kathleen McCarthy, Bruce Kennett, Tanya LaBorde, Jeanne Corbin, Scott Early, Margaret Rodriguez, Paul and Jo Benson, Alex Korolov, Hae-a Lee, Enrico Castagnetti, Lorraine Dillard, Joseph Singer, Jeff Wilson, Donna Fisher, Jeremi Lee, Melissa Farr, Mama Flo, Katherine Walsh, Susan Mills, Jeremy Dyer, Ann Wafer, and Rebecca Maberry. Thank you all!

Special thanks to the following people for your invaluable help and encouragement: To Soham Fuller for amazing unsolicited encouragement. To Joshua Messick for nudging me to record this album! To Bob Andrew for suggesting I launch a Kickstarter campaign. To Severo and Andrea Palacio for wise production advice. To Mike Browning for lending me your great camera and helping with the recording. To Ben Chai, for all your hard work helping me with my Kickstarter video. To Sudhahanda for recording the first track to help me get started with this album.

To Kevin O'Neill for supporting me so generously at every stage: the Kickstarter video, the T-shirt and CD package design. I am so grateful for all your help, Kevin. To Ray Dillard for your great ears, for all your dedication and hard work, turning what began as a home recording with a lot of disparate cello stuff and helping pull it all together into this wonderful album. And to all my dear friends who brought your musical energy to my album: David P, Anthony, David C, Paul, Keith, Richard, Pedro, Charry, Ray, Gary, Dana, Todd, Sudhananda, Bob, Alex, Martha, Sick, John and Nanda.

I am truly INSPIRED by you all.

I dedicate this album with love to my parents, Kathy and Robin Dyer - married for seventy years and still going strong at 94!

All selections (except where noted) were recorded at
Cellomax Studio, Houston, Texas.
Mixed and Mastered by
Ray Dillard at Crush Studio, Barrie, Ontario.
Produced by Max Dyer.
© 2015 by Max Dyer, All Rights Reserved.



to write a review

Joseph (Yossi) Singer

Inspired is an inspired work
Great album with some great cuts. My favourite tracks are Blue in Green, The Hudson and The Rain Song.


Hop on board!
To me Max's new cd offers the ultimate experience of variety. It takes the listener on a magic carpet ride within the heart—a little Celtic, some light jazz with a touch of Flamenco, the sense of a warm shower over the shoulders, even a taste of Jackson's moonwalk. You're going to love it. BB