*** MUDZONE MUSIC / BMI *
Recorded and Mixed by Tim Landers at MUDZONE, Woodland HIlls, CA
Mel Collins' Saxophone Recorded by Jakko M. Jakszyk at SILESIA SOUND, London
©Copyright 2009 INNER KNOT
In the three short years that I knew Ian, we played a lot of gigs together, and made two great records, one of which you are hopefully listening to as you read this. It's pretty amazing that we made both of these records in such a short amount of time but then again, working with the CJ3 always went incredibly smoothly.
Vol. 1 was recorded in less than a week during May of 2005 and Vol. 2 followed suit in June, 2006. I had only just met Tim the day before we started recording Vol. 1, and it was as if we had known each other forever. I'll never forget that first week we all spent together. We'd start working around 10 AM each morning and we fell into such a groove that we'd usually get a great take of our first tune by noon or so, which would prompt one of us to exclaim, "Great...print it...next tune" and "so what do you guys wanna eat for lunch?" For those of you that have never attended a record date before, this is not always the way things go. Lucky for us, this was just another day in the studio with the CJ3.
What you hold in your hands is not a tribute album. This cd, nor it's predecessor, were never intended to be such a thing. When Ian asked me if I'd like to participate in an experiment of his; a jazz piano trio doing King Crimson music, I leapt at the chance. As a jazz pianist who spent years playing and singing in rock bands, I had been a huge — fan since high school in the '80's. What a trip to think I'd be part of something that might contribute to the band's legacy, and that I'd get to do it with one of the band's alums, (and now with this record, two alums...thank you Mel!) I used to jokingly refer to the project as "Swing Crimson" but in a way, that really cheapens what we were aiming at. We had some goals in mind. Some were discussed verbally, some weren't. The following are a few of my own personal objectives:
1) To demonstrate that the entire CRIMSON canon was screaming to be reinterpreted in a jazz setting. Although many people like to put the band in the "art rock" category, I always heard them as a much more diverse mix of jazz, classical and rock. Okay, there was a fair amount of mellotron on those early records but the band certainly did their fair share of improvising over the years as well. We set out to prove that KC's music is as viable as any other body of work to be exploited for reharmonization, restructuring and improvisation, in the same tradition that any great jazz musician would do with Duke Ellington, Cole Porter, Wayne Shorter or even The Beatles. At first this seemed like a daunting task. But then I figured, if Brad Mehldau can do it with Radiohead and Nick Drake, and The Bad Plus with Nirvana, then — was more than fair game.
2) That a jazz piano trio could make this material rock just as hard as any guitar based ensemble that might attempt it. Some would argue that without Robert's and Adrian's soundscapes, Frippertronics and ever-frightening demonstrations of guitar heavy-osity, that this is not a possibility. I beg to differ and would like to suggest that the cd you are listening to right now, (Vol. 2, in other words) should prove this point even more accurately than it's predecessor did.
3) That Ian should (and could) find a way to prove to himself, his peers, and the world at large, that although he was a first call, world class, rock sideman and session drummer, he was also a formidable jazz drummer/band leader who could swing his ass off!
4) Finally, it should be fun. Take the music seriously. Take the business seriously. Take ourselves... not so seriously. If we found a particular arrangement or treatment of a tune amusing enough, it usually stuck. We tried to keep in mind that jazz needs a healthy dose of disrespect from time to time, and rock even more so.
Well, by now, you probably know the rest of the story. Just as things were really starting to get rolling, Ian was diagnosed with cancer and before we knew it, he was gone. Note to self: next time you get involved with a band that was this much fun, with heavyweights like Tim Landers and Ian Wallace, be less cautious, less responsible, throw some caution to the wind, take a leap of faith and get as much music recorded as possible. Life is short.
Wishlist for potential Vol. 3: (which is now, unfortunately an impossibility...how I lament this...no pun intended) Indiscipline, Neurotica, Waiting Man, Larks' Tongues in Aspic, The Great Deceiver, Dig Me, The Power To Believe, and oh yeah, I promised Nadim, our webmaster, an attempt at Level Five.
I've been dreading writing these liner notes for months now, pretty much ever since Margie asked me to write them. I wasn't sure I'd be able to put into words, what I wanted to say, but somehow, once I got started, it began to flow, just like the way we made these records. Although I miss Ian terribly, I'm very proud of the work we did together, and I think he'd agree that we reached our goals the best we could in the short time that we had...before he got the "great gig in the sky." Looking back now with just a little perspective, all I can say is "Great...print it...next! So what do you wanna eat for lunch?"
Nashville, TN, U.S.A.
Thank You: Ian, Tim, Mel Collins, (thanks for playing on this...what a thrill!), Marjorie Pomeroy-
Wallace, Alana Rocklin, my mentors: Keith MacDonald, Kenny Werner, Rufus Reid, all past,
present and future members of the Jody Nardone Trio, my parents, our pets: Buckley, Rufus, and
Atreyu, r.i.p. Attila who passed on while I was in L.A. making this album, and last but not least, I
dedicate my performance on this record to my beautiful wife, Claudine, who
has always encouraged me to push harder, reach for the stars, and
become all that I can be. I love you, babe, and
I'm so lucky to have you in my life. A
special dedication to our beautiful baby
boy Gabriel Levon Nardone, born 2/1/08,
and teaching me something new every
day since. I love you little man ... Thank
God you look like your mommy!
This second jazzation of Crimson's music is a slight departure from our first. There is more experimentation in the playing and in the arrangements as well as the addition of ex-Crimson saxophonist Mel Collins on two pieces. As usual, Ian Wallace was the assertive member, coercing Jody and myself into the recording studio within months of the first CD's release.
We recorded in June of 2006, again at my studio and once more Jody Nardone dexterously manipulated the 6-foot Kawai in the living room while Ian and I remained around the corner in the studio - that 1962 Kawai is a nice piano but not without it's quirks, most notably a noisy sustain pedal. We finished all of the recording within a week's time and even managed to fit in a live gig in LA before Jody returned to Nashville. That night would be the last time the three of us played together as we lost dear Ian on February 22,2007. To say he is missed is a tremendous understatement.
Ian wanted to continually push the envelope when recording Crimson's songs and this venture is no exception. All of the arrangements are unique but I especially like the journey through Formentera Lady and Sailor's Tale. Jody's unaccompanied piano piece is simply a beautiful work and so too is lan's solo drum composition (note the tasteful use of mallets). It was also a real pleasure to have Mel Collins participate on the CD. Besides his definitive saxophone style he also adds a refreshing textural change to the trio, consummating the distinctive approach we sought for this Volume 2.
I hope all who take the time to listen to this CD will take a moment to appreciate the unique talent of Ian Wallace on this, his last recorded effort. In retrospect, it is somewhat poignant that Jody and I encouraged a reluctant Ian to play more solos this time around as he was at the top of his game at the time. If you could have seen the pure joy on his face when we played these songs none of these words would be necessary. Ian loved to play and he loved this music.
One last comment: There is great pride and fine musicianship but mostly a lot of fun emitting from this music. It is such a sad fact that we'll never have the opportunity to explore more of the vast King Crimson songbook with Ian. He had big, big plans and without him no one really knows what will become of this little ensemble. But I do know one thing; if anything does ever happen in the future Ian Wallace will always be a participant in spirit. After all, it was his idea.
Love you Ian. - Tim Landers
Thanks Go To Margie Pomeroy-Wallace for her tireless work in getting this finished; Jody Nardone for his talent and heart; to my family: Patrice, Shaelen and Micaella for putting up with all the noise and giving up the living room for a week; to Jakko Jakszyk and Mel Collins for their generous contributions; to Richie, Bob and all at La Bella for the strings and Lightwave and Mike Pedulla for the instruments.
These songs represent the final recordings in this life by Ian Wallace. They represent the culmination of a lifelong dream and years of study, devotion, hard work and passion for the drums. They honor his past and his love of the music made with and made by his brothers in King Crimson. They celebrate his love of jazz. They are the legacy of a brave and beautiful man, a very talented drummer and a gentle, loving soul. As you listen, I hope you will hear the joy and laughter. He is in his element, swinging with his band and there is nowhere else he would rather have been.
After 42 years as a professional musician, Ian still loved making music with the exuberance of a child. The music he made with the Crimson Jazz Trio was that which he had waited a lifetime to play and in Tim Landers and Jody Nardone he found his musical soul mates. Throw in his brother Mel Collins and it was heaven on earth.
On lan's behalf, I would like to thank Tim, Jody and Mel for their time, their gifts and their love and friendship. I never saw him happier than when he was playing with you.
We Thank All of the members of King Crimson for making music that continues to influence generations and for kindly allowing the CJ3 to have their way with it.
Thank You Also To Tim Landers and Jakko Jakszyk for the hard work, care and attention to detail taken during recording. And to Tim for the dedication and countless hours spent mixing it to make it "sound just like Ian would have wanted." Thank you Jakko, Peter Erskine and Bernie Larsen for your guidance when inexperienced ears failed. Thanks to Patrice Landers for her piano and to the entire Landers family for sharing their home.
Thank You To lan's family: Elsie Simpson, Mary & Jim Wallace and Hagi the dog. And for moving this project along, each in their own way: thanks to Nigel Dick, Fred Gruber, Edy Bronston, Neil Peart, Claudine Nardone, Mathias Aspelin, Chris Ishee, Lori Hehr, Nadim Haque, Jeff Nebin, Amy Worthington-Priore and Geoff Gillette.
Ian Wallace used, exclusively, and was a very proud endorser of YAMAHA Drums, AVEDIS ZILDJIAN Cymbals and Sticks, EVANS Drumheads and SHURE Microphones. We thank all of our dear friends, without whose support this project would not have been possible - Joe Testa, Jordan Barth, Jim McGathey, John DeChristopher, Ryan Smith, Mark Brunner and Steve Lobmeier.
Last but by no means least, I would like to thank Ian for being a gift in our lives, for the beautiful music and for the imprint you've left on our hearts.
- Marjorie Pomeroy-Wallace
Los Angeles, California
5. Inner Garden
Autumn has come to rest
in her garden
Come to paint the trees with emptiness
And no pardon
So many things have come undone
Like the leaves on the ground
And suddenly she begins to cry
But she doesn't know why
Heavy are the words that fall through the air
To burden her shoulders
Caught up in the to
Don't leave me alone
Rome now comes to sit
In her garden
Mingling the breeze with memories
Of a lime when
There was a room in pale yellow hues
Her room with a view
Where love made a bed of happiness
In muslin and lace
Sweet is the voice from far away
That speaks sotto voce and
Is lingering there in the golden air
To quiet the day