Paul Yonemura | Coming Back Home

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Jazz: Contemporary Jazz Jazz: Crossover Jazz Moods: Featuring Piano
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Coming Back Home

by Paul Yonemura

This recording is influenced by the jazz performances I heard in the sixties and seventies, a more open-ended approach.
Genre: Jazz: Contemporary Jazz
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Chelsea
4:22 album only
2. Miles' Tones
5:27 album only
3. Blue Sphere
4:53 album only
4. Re-Connecting
6:43 album only
5. Alone at Chopkin's Cafe
6:00 album only
6. Brooklyn Heights
5:12 album only
7. Faith Tested
5:33 album only
8. Somewhere, A Gateway
5:49 album only
9. Sampaquita
4:29 album only
10. Coming Back Home
6:40 album only
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
This recording came about, as all of my recordings have, on a whim. I started it by getting together withe pianist Frank Martin and bassist David Dunaway in the studio, recording some music I had done with Rick Helzer's Reawakening band in Los Angeles, along with one of my tunes that I had just finished composing. I had no idea that it would morph into a new recording, but it did. Two more sessions and seven more tunes later (and several years later), I had enough for an album. While I did put it out on CD in 1995, I didn't have the dollars in the bank to do a full-blown release of the project at that time, so it either became my calling card, or sold at gigs I happened to be playing at, probably more of the former than the latter. I was also told by at least one SF Bay Area jazz radio personality that it didn't have airplay potential for where jazz radio was in the nineties, so I forgot about it. That is, until my recent release of REUNION TRIOS happened. I started getting the "when is your next release?" question. Taking a chance, I sent digital copies of the tracks to Michael Brothers at Girod Records and to radio promoter Lisa Reedy. They were all enthused and so COMING BACK HOME is finally breaking out into the daylight.

Besides featuring Rick Helzer's music, David Dunaway, Frank Martin and Jerry Kalaf each contribute a tune. Two piano trios are involved here, with one piece going the quartet route, with special guest Mary Fettig on flute. Here are the tunes.

CHELSEA is on REUNION TRIOS, but this is the original version. It was written three days before we recorded it, and named after Frank Martin's daughter, who was about three months old at the time. This is the original recording of the tune and it features Frank and David Dunaway for this version. It started the session off and after a runthrough for the engineer, I believe we pulled it off on the first try. David gets a little piece of the melody, and there are solos by both Frank and David. While it is a high energy version of this tune, there are dynamics, softer moments too. I was grateful that the engineer figured out how to have all of us in the same room, so there was a lot of eye contact. This was a nice way to start things off, a bright-but-relaxed jazz waltz.

MILES' TONES is Rick Helzer's tribute to Miles Davis. It was also a reunion for the rhythm section from Reawakening, with Rick
Helzer on piano and John Lauffenburger on bass. Rick starts this out rubato, then moves into the tempo, which gathers speed and a head of steam during Rick's solo. I get a solo at the end of the tune as well, and then we play the melody and finish it off.

BLUE SPHERE is another Rick Helzer original, one that really captures the flavor of the great Thelonious Monk's writing. We played this tune a lot with Reawakening. This version is done with David and Frank. Frank had to really put some time in on the piano part, just to get that melody to lock in! He nailed it! This group definitely brings out a different flavor of the tune, a different energy. Solos by Frank and David are followed by some fours with Frank and yours truly. A good time was had by all!

RE-CONNECTING was written by Rick Helzer as sort of a tribute to his graduate studies with bassist Charlie Haden. It has a complex melody, followed by a bright tempo and a very open solo section for all of us. One of my favorite drummers is Roy Haynes, and a few things I saw him do when I was a teenager get slipped in here, including the mallet work on my solo, and some snare-finger effects. The title reflects the reunion of Rick, John, and me in the studio, after eight years of not playing with each other. I don't think we missed a beat.

ALONE AT CHOPKIN'S CAFE is more about setting a mood, according to Rick. The café doesn't exist, but the mood set has a certain darkness in the harmonies. Frank, David and I are joined by the wonderful woodwind player Mary Fettig for this version. Besides being a superb saxophonist, her flute playing is equally fine, as she tackles the haunting melody and sails through Rick's complex harmonies. Frank has another fine outing on this, then we bring everything to a close.

BROOKLYN HEIGHTS is penned by Los Angeles-based drummer Jerry Kalaf. Jerry wrote this tune as an uptempo trio tune for The Jazz Tap Ensemble, something to give the dancers a breather. When I asked him for it, he told me that he was taking the tempo down, not pushing it up into the stratosphere. Frank put his spin on the voicings and solo, also embellishing the melody beautifully. David gets another nice solo off, then I solo over the top of the coda to the ending. One friend told me, upon hearing this, that we got in "a proper bash" on this. I agreed, and it also met with approval from the composer.

FAITH TESTED is another one of Rick's tunes, written for this session. The tempo is bright, but we don't play it in a traditional fast "four". John breaks up the bass line, playing with space, so the feel leaves something to the listener's imagination. It's a long solo feature for Rick, and he really makes the most of it. John and I keep the ebb and flow of his solo going in our accompaniment.

SOMEWHERE, A GATEWAY is David Dunaway's tune, a real beauty. The slow tune for this date, it gives all of us room to use space. David's solo is wonderful, as is Frank's. The melody is a dark, haunting theme, and it was done on a rare rainy day in California, so it captured the mood.

SAMPAQUITA is the "wild track", penned by Frank Martin. Frank had a club band at that time and his group played it as a fast samba. He wanted something different this time out, so after the very fast and complicated melody is played, we start out with a piano/drums duet. David starts finding the holes to put his statements in, but it's really me chasing after Frank on all of this. He finishes his solo and then it's my turn. This was one of those "take a deep breath and let the limbs fly" solos for me. Then the closing theme and the coda hit and we're done.

COMING BACK HOME is the final piece for this set of music, written by Rick. It's another jazz waltz, and I thought it would be a nice way to "bookend" the set. I always loved playing this tune with Reawakening and it was nice to be back with Rick and John to play this tune again, this time for the microphones. The title was appropriate too, since I had just come back to the SF Bay Area, after a year of graduate school in Chicago and a year teaching outside of the region.

Projects like mine really are a labor of love. I hope you enjoy COMING BACK HOME as much as we did recording it!



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