Rules of The Road
This recording is the culmination of 3 years work but as is the nature of any creative enterprise has been many, many more years in the making.
“Rules”consists of 11 original compositions – 7 contributed by Keyboard/Producer Gary Davies and 4 the work of Bassist Jeff Henson.
The album covers a wide range of musical moods from Henson’s upbeat Jazz opener “As You Passed By My Window” via the Jazz Funk of “Last One Out”, the retro pop of “Wonderful Life” and concludes with the title track Davies’ melancholy but ultimately optimistic elegy “Rules of the Road”.
As an aside it seemed odd but also serendipitous to have recorded this latter track in the week when the world heard of David Bowie’s death. It lent a poignancy to those sessions and some faint echoes of this perhaps linger on in its final form.
Grateful thanks from the band go to those who contributed at various stages of this lengthy project most notably –
Chris Gumbley – Sax ( Tracks 3,4,5,7,9,10 )
Adrian Gibson – Flugel ( Tracks 1,8,10 )
Jacqui Williams – Backing Vocals ( Tracks 2,3,9,10,11)
Charmaine Baines – Backing Vocals (Tracks 4,6)
And of course Shaun Lowe of Prism Studios, Stoke on Trent for Sound Engineering, Mixing, Mastering and so much more besides…..
1 As You Pass My Window ( Henson )
2 Make It Happen (Davies)
3 Miss Calculation ( Davies)
4 Last One Out (Henson)
5 Walking Through The Night (Henson)
6 Wonderful Life (Henson)
7 Tell Me Its Not True ( Davies)
8 Take Two For Rosa ( Davies)
9 Bridge to the Soul (Davies)
10 Wildlife (Davies)
11 Rules of the Road (Davies)
A Bridge To The Soul
The “Bridge” project evolving over a reasonably long period reflects our differing musical pasts as we trawled through our memories for songs which had interested us, moved us or in some past life meant something to us and about which we felt we could say something a little different.
The approach whilst still rooted in Jazz is eclectic and encompasses soul, r&b, bossa, samba and a little surprisingly perhaps a brief foray into folk.
Herewith a few short notes on what we glimpsed as we passed over this particular Bridge to the Soul.
14 track CD featuring brand new arrangements of a varied mix of songs. Also includes three original songs by Pianist/Arranger Gary Davies.
The album is dedicated to two great friends Eugene Moore and Robert Bolan in grateful thanks for past kindness.
An original composition by Gary Davies. A big number in every respect. Check out Jeff Henson’s superb anchoring bass line throughout. Chris Gumbley’s screaming sax takes it up several notches around 2.21 and then Adrian Gibson’s mute trumpet joining a party which is by then in full swing at 3.58
A languid and faithful, although hopefully not too faithful, homage to the Isley Brothers classic. The excellent Paul Matthews formally introduces himself on Guitar. Jacquie Williams’s backing vocals define and add emotional power and to the main vocal line.
Fire and Rain
The James Taylor classic gentled even more and given a respectful Jazz feel. Check out the interplay between Gary Davies Piano, CG on Sax and Scott Ralph on Brushes 1.58 on and the heightened emotion of the sax driven outro giving the lie to the restraint of the vocal.
McCartney with a Lydian sharp 4th jazz makeover.
A darker treatment. GD’s piano and CG’s sax playing in the outro make it clear that the subject of the song will never again get here.
Here comes the sun. Been listening to a lot of Stacey Kent. A fantastic singer of Bossa, Samba and much else besides – couldn’t find her having done this one – so we thought we would … Note Paul and Gary call and response on the outro.
Tom Waits one of the greatest of contemporary musical poets. Apparently simple lyrics and straightforward narrative are anything but and are replete with meaning.
She’s On the Ball
Ray Charles Rarity. Just a bit of fun.
Take Two For Rosa
The second Gary Davies composition. A Jazz Ballad written just after recording the last album of the same title. Rosa just happens to be the name of his two year old daughter. Adrian Gibson on Miles Davis inspired muted trumpet.
A Bridge to The Soul
Gary’s final composition on this album. An initial folky melody line and lyric gives way to gospel at 3.30 as Jacquie Williams transforms the seascape. Paul Matthews excellent guitar solo, Scott Ralph superb on drums and Jeff Henson again pulls it all together with a complex bass line.
Rainy Night in Georgia
A homage to Brook Benton. CG sax solo 2.48 on. JW and the A Gamettes backing vocals throughout. Check out Piano and Sax outro.
Unchain My Heart
Ah why not ……. Loosely based on Ray Charles original but with Gospel breakdown section after solos.
I Concentrate on You
We liked it, so we did it….another superb Gary Davies arrangement. CG Flute, JW Backing Vocals.
Gary Davies on Bill Evans / Yellow Jackets inspired Piano.
Take Two for Rosa
The idea of recording an album located firmly in the Great Classic American 20th century Jazz tradition had long been an ambition.
Sinatra, who always interestingly claimed never to have been a jazz singer but located his musical antecedents in the saloon bar, had been in my life forever. My Father, a seafarer and an accomplished singer and entertainer, had brought him home from New York in 1942 where he took up permanent residence and provided the theme tune to our childhood.
Not just Frank Sinatra of course….Nat King Cole, Oscar Peterson, Nancy Wilson, Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holliday…..all of them.
The album title?
This was the second attempt at recording this material. The first ending unsatisfactorily. Then half way through our studio sessions Gary Davies’s daughter Rosa was born.
13 Track CD Features:
“Moonlight In Vermont” portraying a life so romantic and rich as to be unimaginable from the perspective of a Liverpool council house in the 60’s. But with Sinatra’s help we could sing our way to it. So we did. Gary Davies on piano.
“Summer Samba” On a beach in Brazil with John Griffiths on Nylon String Guitar, Rob Phillips Drums and Congas.
“Do Nothing Till You Hear From Me” – Chris Gumbley’s Sax solo undermining and giving the lie to a lyric outrageously asserting innocence.
“In the Wee Small Hours” – A Sinatra classic from his great Capitol Records period. Paul Matthews introduces himself to the band one crowded Saturday afternoon and along with Jeff Henson on Stand Up Bass delivers this the first and only take.
Plus many more classics like “Teach Me Tonight” and “I’ve Got You Under My Skin”
- Moonlight in Vermont
- I Thought About You
- Summer Samba
- Do Nothing Till Hear from Me
- I’m Afraid the Masquerade Is
- Autumn Leaves
- I Can’t Get Started
- In the Wee Small Hours
- But Not for Me
- Teach Me Tonight
- I’ve Got You Under My Skin
- For Sentimental Reasons
A Bridge To The Soul and Take Two For Rosa were recorded and produced at Prism Studios Stoke on Trent. (www.prismstudios.co.uk/)
Artwork and design concept was provided by my friend Dale Devereux Barker (www.daledevereuxbarker.co.uk/)