Recorded May 2009 at Systems Two, Brooklyn, N.Y.
Mike Marciano, Recording Engineer & Mastering
Katie Bull –Vocalist; Lyricist/Composer
Frank Kimbrough – Piano
Landon Knoblock – Piano, Fender, Accordion
Joe Fonda – Bass
Harvey Sorgen– Drums
Jeff Lederer, - Saxophones, Clarinet
Ayelete Rose Gottlieb – Guest Vocalist on “You Were There”
Special Thanks to: Phil Blackburn of Innova for his faith in this music, which he so aptly noticed was “nuts”; The Innova Label and team, for taking a chance & their wide ears + class; Nancy and Joe Marciano, recording studio founders/owners who epitomize total integrity at their Systems Two; Systems Two Engineer Mike Marciano who knows what the hell he is doing in a major way; Jeff Lederer, for collaborating on the production end with his listening ears; Queva Lutz, may she rest in peace, for the “Queva Years” at 55Bar where these songs developed; Fay Victor for curating the Evolving Voices series + including me at 269; Ras Moshe for the recent Large Unit experiences at Music Now/Brecht Forum; audience “regulars”– Peter, Mike, Roberta, and Steve, to name just a few; a mad-max-of-jazz buff I know who would probably prefer to remain anonymous; Fran Bull who is a fearless artist, and a good mother; best friends Davida, Aaileen, Ilse, Kristen, Juliette, Clohessy, Seth & Roberta; Whole Body Voice students; my ATC & NYU community; the visionaries Laurie, Priscilla, Sylvia, & Warren ; & last but most, Hannajane and Hudson who inspire my every single breath.
This Album is Dedicated to HBP, HBP, and HWP.
May the goose bump of love unite us all.
I would like to express my gratitude for my beloved band;
you are extended family.
Back to Square One (Bull)
I wrote this for Sheila Jordan , my friend and mentor, on her 80th birthday, and sang it with Frank Kimbrough at the Iridium. I met Ms. Jordan when I was a baby (and trained with her when I turned 14). Sheila knew my dad ,who was a jazz piano player from Detroit, moved to NYC & studying with Tristano. Sheila rocked me on her knees on McDougal Street; she rocks the jazz world, still.
There was a bird singing in the night, on the mountain where I have a house, near Woodstock, N.Y.
I dreamt this as part of a series of melodic threads – “dream strands” that are thread through this album. There are many American Indian spirits in the birches on my land, filled with singing birds.
I Thought About You (Van Heusen, Mercer)
This song is dedicated to another one of my mentors, Jay Clayton. I started training with Jay when I was 14, at the same time I met and starting studying with Sheila Jordan. Jay took me under her maternal & musical wings where she lived, on the “out” edge. Those were the loft years in jazz. Jay is a total pioneer, unique unto herself, having invented a vocal vocabulary way ahead of her time. She held the torch of invention to my ears.
Road Trip (Bull)
This is a song that I dreamt, and had to write at 3 a.m. because the melody and lyrics abducted me, making it hard to get back to sleep.
Another dreamt thread. I was having some iced tea by the Hudson river and saw some school kids release some butterflies. It was beautiful. The butterflies didn’t fly at first. They just clung to the cage. But then the teacher suggested the children blow on the butterflies’ wings, gently. And sure enough, they took flight. One of the butterflies rested on a sailboat before flying off into the sky. Afterwards I walked to the Body Exhibit.
You Were There (Bull)
My friend told me a story. Sometimes some one else’s story inspires a song, for me. Ayelete Rose Gottlieb, joined for Guest Vocals. She is a gorgeous singer, composer, and spontaneous improvisor. Also she is a beloved friend.
One Moment (Bull)
This song arrived as a poem first. It’s a song about a turning point, and the band handled it tenderly.
We did one take.
How Insensitive (Jobim)
The insensitive and the sensitive,;the silent and the not so silent; and all that comes inbetween.
Blue Light (Bull)
The image is of a spinning wheel, and the threads are blue. Matt Wilson was on one of my gigs> Matt took the blue neon sign at Smiths’ Bar and turned it off on his last chorus, as part of his solo. Sometimes something blue transforms.
My step mother Cynthia died of breast cancer. My father, Richard, also passed away of cancer. When my dad died of cancer, (one year after she died), Cynthia appeared to me in a vision. She said, “Your dad died how he was supposed to die, that was the death he was meant to have; it was no accident. So let the ice in your heart melt.” The chords are just the approximate key she was speaking in; the melody was what I heard when I heard her talking. Her face constituted as points of light, inside of a planetarium. She was wearing her John Lennon eye glasses.
Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off (Gershwin; with Intro and Interludes by Bull)
I grew up with my dad playing the classic jazz standards in “out” jazz jam sessions where the songs would go on atonal rides and land softly back into their gorgeous melodic forms. I improvised the intros and interludes surrounding this standard, which I consider to be one of the greatest cut diamonds ever created. Jazz standards are my family jewels.
This song arrived when it was ready. I didn’t want it at first. But, now, I understand that sometimes the universe writes the song for you that you cannot write for yourself.
An Opportunity (Bull)
For Tony Soprano
What happened to Tony Soprano? We will never know. Did he die? An airport is a necessary limbo between destinations. The last french-fry, Tony holds the last french-fry in his hand, he looks at his wife she looks at him he looks at her she looks at him there is still love.:Ketchup. Blackout. We have an opportunity to alleviate our sense of loss by keeping our sense of play.
The Gifts (Bull)
This song was also dreamt; it arrived in the middle of the night and I literally woke up singing “Thank you for the gifts.”. out loud! For me, some kind of essence of Gratitude is available and ever present. If one is open to It. I hear influences from South American musician friends in this song; I’ve been singing in La Plata the last three years (Argentina), and I just visited Brazil. I want to thank the musicians from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Peru, Uruguay, and Columbia that I have met, and/or played with in South America.