elliot humberto kavee: composition, cello, drums
francis wong: tenor sax, flute, erhu, clarinet
radio valencia, san francisco
this is my first trio outing as a leader. my attempt was to create a music leading from the drum chair (or in this case the drumcello chair!). i attempted to create a music centered on the tone, pitch and rhythm of the drums. i've always loved that story about monk going to his gig and simply starting to play, letting the men he hired use their ears, taste and judgement to respond to his music. how could i do that with the drums? well the first choice was to hire creative individuals like francis wong and ben goldberg. having spent a number of years with both gentlemen playing music, discussing everything under the sun and simply hanging out, i knew we'd have enough on the same page that they would intelligently follow my lead. also, despite having an impressive body of work as leaders (or perhaps because of it) they showed a remarkable humility toward my attempts.
the first piece, following, uses simultaneous drum & cello playing (featured on my first solo album) as the centerpiece. it is structured a bit like a concerto, with me laying out themes and variations as a soloist and francis and ben functioning much like the orchestra to create dialogue.
the title piece, pariah is based on a melody and an idea. pariah was interesting to me because it is about the outsider. this could be a victim of some sort or someone who simply refuses to play along. thus one could end up sad or strangely at peace. it resonated with me at the time, being an "outspoken" musician who managed to alienate himself quite a bit. after i named the group i found out that the root meaning of pariah comes from a south indian word meaning drummer, that being the second to lowest caste. drummers are often treated like second-class musicians.
the title of the last piece, miles, might seem strange since the piece is neither a sound portrait of the man nor a retread of any of the myriad styles he created. it is rather a tribute to his quote "it's a drummer's band", meaning it ain't happening if the drummer ain't happening. this piece focuses exclusively on source material coming from the drums and cymbals. it is a pure trio with drums as the lead instrument.
about the recording itself: the music was recorded with a sony datman using a stereo microphone. this was one of several recordings francis and i have done using this method. it sidesteps the usual endless setup and testing that can make the machine bigger than the musician. it also picks up the club noise remarkably well!
i hope this music finds you.
©1997 Elliot Humberto Kavee.