The idea for the record started about
five years ago when I had just finished Berklee. “What
now?” I remember thinking. Knowing that the musical
standards for any contemporary jazz album are extremely
high . . . I didn’t think I was even close to
being ready to do that. Not enough technique, not enough
compositional sense, not good enough as a live performer,
no real sense of direction as an artist yet . . . the
idea of releasing a record seemed so unrealistic.
I remember asking my teacher Mark White why anyone even
bothers putting out jazz records anymore . . . it seemed
like having your own artistic voice was impossible.
“Hasn’t it all been done before?”
was my question of the day. His response was very encouraging.
He said if everyone thought that way, no one would play
Christmas of 1997 I got John Coltrane’s Love Supreme
album. In the liner notes he talks about his path from
drug addiction to spiritual freedom. He also talked
about how he prayed that God would enable him to make
wonderful music that would be deep and meaningful for
people. I remember lying in bed one morning praying
the same thing . . . to have the ability to make music
that would impact people in a positive way . . . something
deep, and something unique.
That was really the beginning of a few years of me playing
live in the Toronto clubs. I played with a variety
of local players in a variety of styles. The lineup
that appears on this album first played together in
99 or 2000. I felt the chemistry on stage we had was
really happening. Everyone was a really high level player
and also very easy to work with on a personal level
. . . a combination that’s not easy to find.
I soon started writing again and gradually I came up
with the music for the album. Many songs took months
to complete. My writing chops were getting stronger
but it was still a slow process. Not that I would be
at it every day . . . but I wrote when I felt I had
something to say.
Sometimes if I had an idea . . . I would wait a bit
to bring it to conclusion. I was also being a real perfectionist.
Every note and every chord had to have meaning to it
and had to make harmonic sense. As I wrote more I found
I could relax a bit . . . ideas started to come more
easily and naturally. Many sections were still constantly
being edited and revised, sometimes 10 rewrites or more
until I had the version that worked.