By likemindblog


The aftermath of Small World!  We all buy cds without giving too much thought of all that goes into actually making them.  Tony Bunn, who recorded an album last year called Small World, agreed to share with us a bit of the story around it.  This is an open door into behind the scenes of what we sometimes hold so nonchalantly in our hands.  ENJOY!

Saturday, July 4, 2009 at 3:35am

I sit here, a week after the release, still somewhat exhausted; somewhat overcome with amazement at the fact that we actually completed this project. As is perhaps the case with many such artistic things, this album found its genesis through a series of chance meetings and bizarrely coincident deaths.

Fueled by my almost obsessive love for a quirky but beautiful tune that was written by drummer Tony Williams, I grabbed my bass and headed down to Paul Reed Smith’s studio for a rehearsal; intent upon teaching him the melody, so that we might perform mine own somewhat quirky arrangement thereof, during his company’s exposition at the 2008 Dallas InternationalTony B. Live Upright Guitar Festival. The tune, entitled “Pee Wee” and originally released on Miles Davis’ Sorcerer album, was perhaps just a tad bit left of center for Paul’s tastes, at the time. Before the night was over, I would be reunited with a former student of mine, bassist Kevin Walker (whose credits include everything from his being the musical director for one of saxophonist Najee’s bands to his filling the bass chair for Justin Timberlake’s Future/Love/Sex World Tour), who’d dropped by to leave his bass for Paul to bless it with his magically expert adjustments. Who would’ve imagined that 5 months later, this former student would begin to co-produce the album through which his former teacher would begin to find his definitive voice.

Fast-forward to November, 2008, as Kevin and I once again sat in Paul’s studio (after our having recorded “Pee Wee (Revisited)” at Kevin’s home studio, over a series of my somewhat casual visits), our confidence in this still quirky but beautiful tune grew immeasurably as Paul ran to get his wife, so that she might listen to the results of the day’s mixing and mastering session. She sat there smiling, with a look approaching disbelief in what she was hearing.

So excited was I with our version of this tune, with which I was now evermore madly in love, that I passed it by Dennis Chambers, my childhood friend, in hopes that he would let Herbie Hancock (who’d recorded the seminal version of the tune) hear it. Although I don’t know if Dennis was ever successful in his efforts, as a go-between, I became greatly encouraged; and thus, I began writing more material (on occasion, tapping the creative energies of pianist friend Arshak Sirunyan), in hopes of creating an aural package in which to encase this tune by which I was so moved.

One thing led to another, and with Dennis’ availability in the early months of 2009, we hastily scheduled a session to record three new compositions: one derived from a melody that I whistle as I walk my dogs (“Small World”); the second, a somewhat exotic melody whose title is borrowed from the equally exotic name of a very beautiful woman (“Marika’s Delight”); and the third (“Palermo”), a tune written upon my request by longtime friend Paul Soroka, with whom Dennis and I formed a band, many years ago. Well, that initially scheduled session was derailed before it began, when Dennis called me that morning to inform me that his dog had died the night before; after she took a chunk out of his hand when he unwittingly moved her from the hidden corner that she had chosen to be her point of departure. Had Freckles not injured Dennis on that day, “Got Me A Black Woman”, the fourth original tune, might never have been written.

Perhaps the stand-out song of the album, “Got Me A Black Woman” crystallized in my mind (in almost complete form) as I drove toward my home from a visit to my mother’s house; on the day that was chosen by my wife’s family to proceed to terminate her father’s life support — thus, ending his long battle with cancer, and in the manner of his wishing. As the lyrics quickly began to take shape, I excitedly called Edmund Lonesome, a musicologist and a trusted friend (one who suffered countless midnight n569782274_739707_2957 TONY BUNNconversations aimed at keeping me awake as I made the 30 mile journey from Crofton to Baltimore, so that I could provide nighttime care for my mother); and I sang the song very self-consciously into the phone. Although he laughed at my fledgling attempts at singing, he actually liked the lyrics. And besides, the song was loosely modelled on a mutual favorite of ours, “Who Knows”, from Jimi Hendrix’ Band of Gypsys album; a song that he’d earlier suggested as a candidate for a cover tune — how could one possibly go wrong when starting from such a firm foundation? Six days later, we recorded the rhythm tracks for the four original tunes, a day before Dennis was scheduled to leave town to rejoin his regular gig with Santana, on a tour of South America — talk about your Divine Providence!!

Over the course of the next few months, pianist Arshak Sirunyan, trumpeter Mike Fitzhugh, co-producer Kevin Walker and I labored intently to flesh out the four original tracks we’d recorded with Dennis. Then we ran into a serious stumbling block, as the financial resources necessary to complete the project just were not there — and in fact, all across the country, people were going so far as to kill themselves (and even their families) as America railed in a state of financial despair that threatened to rival that of The Great Depression.

During a gig that served to inaugurate a new performance space, I happened across an old friend, Joe Blacker, who would not only help by providing the modest resources that we needed to complete the project; but, he also introduced us to Greg Lukens, the blind visionary whose ears had informed the aural platform for Geddy Lee’s Rush, during his 10-year stint as the band’s engineer. Lukens (assisted by Bill Krantz) applied his almost magical touch to the group of 5 somewhat disjoint tunes in a fashion that resulted in the emergence of a unified sonic world; one that I would visit countless times over the days that led up to the release of the album — I loved this music.

No more than 2 days following the release of the album to the MP3 distributor (and almost a month before its availability to the general public), the larger world would change, yet again; as death would claim Farrah Fawcett, Ed McMahon, Michael Jackson, and untold numbers of other individuals, perhaps of lesser note.

As is true of life, death is ever about change. “Small World” emerges on the heels of sweeping change in this, our larger world. Hopefully, the sound of change engendered herein is one that you will come to embrace. Hopefully, you will come to love it as much as we loved helping it emerge.

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Filed in: Health • Friday, July 16th, 2010

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My name is Michele Andree. I am an artist, I paint musicians in action. I think I’m a musician at heart, my instrument being… a brush, so I play…brush and I paint… music.
I love jazz. I call it freedom music. It promotes special values. I love intelligent people and good conversations.

Some people ask me how music relates to art. Personally I find they go hand in hand. Music is what turns me on to painting. It makes me see colours