Paul Dietrich Jazz Ensemble | Forward (feat. Clarence Penn)

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Forward (feat. Clarence Penn)

by Paul Dietrich Jazz Ensemble

The Paul Dietrich Jazz Ensemble's debut album features 8 original modern jazz big band works, featuring guest artist Clarence Penn as well as many of the Midwest's best jazz musicians.
Genre: Jazz: Modern Big Band
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  Song Share Time Download
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1. Rush (feat. Clarence Penn)
9:45 $0.99
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2. Settle (feat. Clarence Penn)
7:34 $0.99
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3. Like Water (feat. Clarence Penn)
7:01 $0.99
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4. Chorale (feat. Clarence Penn)
7:04 $0.99
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5. Forward: I. Perennial (feat. Clarence Penn)
8:43 $0.99
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6. Forward: II. Snow (feat. Clarence Penn)
9:35 $0.99
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7. Forward: III. Roads (feat. Clarence Penn)
8:03 $0.99
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8. Forward: IV. Green Fields (feat. Clarence Penn)
8:23 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.

ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
Corbin Andrick – alto saxophone, soprano saxophone, clarinet, flute
Greg Ward – alto saxophone
Tony Barba – tenor saxophone
Dustin Laurenzi – tenor saxophone
Mark Hiebert – baritone saxophone, bass clarinet

Andy Baker – trombone
Jamie Kember – trombone
Kurt Dietrich – trombone
Tom Matta – bass trombone

Chuck Parrish – trumpet
Russ Johnson – trumpet
Jessica Jensen – trumpet
David Cooper – trumpet

Matt Gold – guitar and effects
Carl Kennedy – piano
John Christensen – bass
Clarence Penn – drum set

Megan Moran – voice

Paul Dietrich – compositions, trumpet on “Green Fields”

Recorded August 13-14 2018 at Electrical Audio, Chicago, IL
Additional recording October 11, 2018 at Crystall Recorders Studio, Lombard, IL
Engineered and mixed by Jim Massoth
Vocals recorded October 21 2018 by Andrew LaValley in Madison, WI
Extra guitar effects on “Snow” recorded by Matt Gold
Mastered by Brian Schwab
Produced by Joe Clark and Paul Dietrich
Album design by Jamie Breiwick at B-Side Graphics (bsidegraphics.com)
Cover photo by Jessica Jensen at Björklunden, Door County, WI
Session photos by Andrew Green

Clarence Penn would like to thank Canopus drums, Zildjian cymbals and Aquarian drum heads.
Andy Baker plays Michael Rath trombones and uses Dennis Wick mouthpieces and mutes.
Chuck Parrish is a Shires artist and plays the Destino III trumpet, and is a Hammond Design artist and plays the Chuck Parrish line of mouthpieces.

Notes:

“Rush” and “Settle” were both written in 2014. After I moved from Chicago to Madison in the summer of 2013 I found myself in a writing rut; I went several months without writing anything substantial. Through that cold winter (that was the famous “polar vortex” winter for those in the Midwest) I finally started to hunker down and tried to force some things; I got mixed results at first, but I finally broke through what was the longest prolonged period of writer's block I've ever had.

Both “Rush” and “Settle” were written just for the sake of writing them. I wasn't running a big band at the time, and neither piece was commissioned, so they were kind of just for me. For this reason more than any other, I think, I got restless and ended up creating small group versions of both of these tunes. I almost always try to keep my big band writing and my small group writing separate – they're such drastically different ensembles, I think that in order to write to the strengths of each it's almost necessary to keep your ideas separate. But I loved playing both of these tunes, and I wanted to do it more. Those small group versions were both recorded and released on my quintet's 2017 album Focus. I was thrilled when a few of the area's collegiate jazz ensembles performed these pieces in their original form, and after a few little tweaks I was happy to include them both on this record.

“Like Water” was another piece that I wrote for no one in particular, late in the summer of 2016. I'd come up with the initial melody and piano part and originally planned to write it as a small group tune, but as soon as I actually started writing it out it became clear that it would work better for a large ensemble. I was ecstatic to have a piece to feature trombonist Andy Baker and guitarist Matt Gold on this album.

The idea on which “Chorale” is based came during the time late in 2014 when I was trying to force myself to write music – one of these ideas was to write a short, four-part chorale regularly. Originally dubbed “October Chorale,” this is another that I tried originally with my quintet. (This was common for my music during the period between 2013 and late 2016, when I didn't have an easy way to hear my new big band music.) Obviously, however, the large ensemble format works better for this tune, given that you can cover all the four- and five-part chorale harmony without relying on piano. I didn't get around to expanding this for big band until late in the spring of 2016. I always heard Dustin Laurenzi playing on this tune – it was written originally with him in mind.

Very late in 2016, I applied for and received a grant from the Greater Madison Jazz Consortium in Madison, Wisconsin, to write a new suite of music for the big band I had started running regularly there in the fall of 2016. The idea was to write music in a modern big band jazz style that represented my own personal images and perceptions of my home state, Wisconsin (whose motto, as much as some of the state's leadership would have you believe, is “Forward”).

The result was the four-part suite Forward. The four 'movements' are musically unrelated, and though the idea was to listen to the four of them in consecutive order, each movement certainly works as a stand-alone. “Perennial” is based on the idea that, year after year, things seem to stay the same – even as they are obviously changing. I can return to my hometown, Ripon (a town of fewer than 8,000 people), and feel right at home, even as life experience changes my perceptions of the things around me. It was also written as a tribute to old friends, and the immediate comfort upon seeing those friends, and the feeling that everything is as it once was.

I wrote “Snow” with a very specific thought in mind – that moment, just after a significant snowfall, when all sound is muted, as if someone draped a blanket over the world. Greg Ward's incomparable control of his instrument was exactly what I was looking for on this piece.

“Roads” is about the feeling of travel. There's a lot to Wisconsin, from lake country in the north and the driftless region in western Wisconsin to the Lake Michigan shoreline and the busier (yet still homely) cities of Madison and Milwaukee. This piece is about movement, and the changing scenery that comes with that.

Finally, “Green Fields” is the most personal piece on this record. Fred Sturm, the former jazz department chair at Lawrence University, my alma mater, remains the most important teacher I ever had. He was unfairly taken too young by cancer in 2014. Fred was an incredible composer and somehow an even better educator; his love of music and his radiant (and mischievous) personality left an indelible mark on all who knew him.

Fred, who flew a Chicago Cubs flag in his Lawrence office (a fact which caused many of us in Wisconsin great consternation), once worked on an ambitious endeavor under the auspices of the Baseball Hall of Fame; the Baseball Music Project included music by Fred and narrations by baseball legends such as Tony Kubek and Dave Winfield. An especially poignant, short section of this piece was a setting of a text by the late baseball commissioner Bart Giammati, “The Green Fields of the Mind.”

This less-than-four-minute bit of stunning music and beautiful text can be found on Fred's website, and with Fred's passing they have really taken on more meaning. In honoring Fred, I wanted to use just the first two chords of Fred's music as inspiration, as Fred inspired my own musical journey. Though I'm sure if he were here, he'd laugh at me for writing something about him that was so sappy.

I humbly thank Fred's wife, Susie, and his son, Ike, for allowing me to honor his music in this fashion.

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