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Conrad Herwig - New York Breed


Conrad Herwig - Trombone, Dave Liebman - Tenor Sax, Richie Beirach - Piano, Rufus Reid - Bass, Adam Nussbaum - Drums

1. Code Mode 6:14
2. Search For Peace 7:40

3. Cousin Mary 6:09

4. For Heaven's Sake 6:50

5. Gatekeeper 6:48

6. 40 Bars 5:42

7. Deluge 6:52

8. In The Wee Small Hours 4:22

9. New Breed 6:04

10. I'll Take Romance 8:23

Total Time 65:37

Listen to CD Tracks

   According to history, jazz was born in New Orleans and in the first three decades of this century gradually moved up the Mississippi River to the central United States.  If New Orleans was the birthplace of jazz and the Midwest is where it spent its adolescence, New York is where the music found adulthood.  Since the 1930’s when the bands of Cab Calloway, Chick Webb and Duke Ellington reigned supreme and into the 1940’s, when many of the hottest jazz improvisors uprooted and shifted base from Midwestern cities such as Chicago, Detroit and Kansas City to the East Coast, New York has been called “The Jazz Capital of the World.”

    When the great bebop innovators Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Thelonious Monk and others made 52nd St. their headquarters, that reputation was once and for all secured.  In the 60’s the next generation of innovators like John Coltrane, Miles Davis and their colleagues, all made the New York area their home.  A young jazz musician might get his start elsewhere, but if you could make it in the Big Apple you could make it anywhere.  New York improvisors of every genre from bebop to avant garde have been considered on the cutting edge of our unique American art form.  All the musicians on this recording are part of this “New York Breed”.

    I first came to the city when I joined Clark Terry’s Big Band in 1981.  When Clark went back to a small group format I relocated in New York and it’s been my home since.  Where else could one perform and record with musicians like Jack de Johnette, Randy and Mike Brecker, John Scofield, Toshiko Akiyoshi, Mel Lewis, Max Roach, Eddie Palmieri, Tito Puente, Dizzy Gillespie, Mario Bauza, Paquita D’Rivera and the brilliant musicians on this recording?  It seems like name dropping, but the fact of the matter is these guys are local cats.  Of course that locality happens to be the island of Manhattan.

    Dave Liebman is one of the premier saxophone virtuosos of our time.  His credentials include the groups of Miles Davis and Elvin Jones and co-leadership with Richie Beirach of the trail blazing musical groups “Look out farm” (70’s) and “Quest” (80’s).  Combine astonishing instrumental technique and a deep, insighted musical mind with fire and a heart the size of Brooklyn and you have a jazz improvisor for our era and the next.  It is an honor for me to have worked and recorded with his group in the past and a real pleasure for me to have him on this date.

    Pianist Richie Beirach is another virtuoso performer and visionary improvisor.  He started his career with the groups of Stan Getz, Chet Baker and as mentioned earlier co-led “Look out farm” and “Quest”.  His recordings as a leader on ECM in the 70’s established him as a ground breaking soloist.  His razor sharp technique, keen intellect and profound knowledge of 20th Century Music combined with an intuitive jazz improvisational acumen put him in the vanguard of modern pianists.

    Rufus Reid is respected as one of the most in demand bassists in the world.  His work with greats like Dexter Gordon, Thad Jones-Mel Lewis Big Band and his co-leadership of the Tana/Reid Project have put him at the pinnacle of his instrument.  More than just a world class bass player, Rufus is also a renowned jazz educator.  He combines the attributes of tough task master and nurturing counselor, and many of today’s top young jazz musicians can be counted among his students.

    Adam Nussbaum has garnered a reputation as one of the “hottest” drummers in the world.  His credits include the groups of Stan Getz, John
Scofield, John Abercrombie, Mike Brecker, Dave Liebman and many others.  He combines volcanic energy with taste and sensitivity.  His innate sense of  swing and musicality set him apart.

    Conrad Herwig - January '96

This recording is dedicated to my wife Maria Ines
Te Quiero Mi Amor

 1.  Code Mode (6:14) (RadJazz) Conrad Herwig - An up-tempo original of mine dedicated to Richie Beirach, known to his intimate friends as “ The Code.”  This opening track features the soprano sax and trombone in a quintet setting and captures the feeling of what I call the “New York Burn.”  If you still don’t know what I’m talking about, check out Adam’s drum solo.

 2.  Search For Peace (7:40) McCoy Tyner - One of my favorite ballads, this haunting McCoy Tyner tune from the 1965 Blue Note release “The Real McCoy” is given a straight forward performance by the quartet.  This classic piece needs no embellishment.

 3.  Cousin Mary (6:09) John Coltrane - A well-known Coltrane tune from the “Giant Steps” album, here it is re-harmonized as an open F-minor blues and gives the quartet a chance to stretch out.

 4.  For Heaven’s Sake (6:50) Meyer, Betton, Edwards - Originally a ballad, this chestnut standard is performed here with a new slant, an up tempo pedal point re-harmonization.  This track features a Beirach piano excursion followed by spirited trombone and tenor sax exchanges.  Burning!!!

 5.  The Gatekeeper (6:48) (Radjazz) Conrad Herwig - Imagine approaching an ancient Moorish castle at sunset.  Who do you meet?  The Gatekeeper.  This atmospheric 1/8 note ballad is intended to create mystery and enchantment.

 6.  40 Bars (5:42) (Beirach Music) Richie Beirach - An early Beirachian line from the 70’s in its first record performance.  This circular 40 bar structure is a challenging vehicle for improvisation.

 7.  Deluge (6:52) Wayne Shorter - An “in the pocket” romp from the
pen of Wayne Shorter. This tune features Liebman’s muscular tenor sax
sound and some really hard-swinging group empathy.

 8.  Wee Small Hours (4:22) Dave Mann - A classic ballad made famous
by Frank Sinatra in the 50’s, this tune was originally composed in C major.  Here in a duo setting, we treat it in a minor mode giving the song a reflective
and more melancholy mood.

9.  New Breed (6:04) (Liebstone) Dave Liebman - A Dave Liebman composition originally recorded with Elvin Jones.  The main features are an inspired use of consonance and dissonance in his horn writing and
spontaneous, interactive, asymmetrical improvisation.

10.  I’ll Take Romance (8:23) Ben Oakland - My arrangement is a radical transformation of a familiar standard inspired by John Coltrane’s versions
of such unlikely show tunes as My Favorite Things and Chim Chim Chiree.  The quintets powerful performance adds to the Traneish atmosphere and
is a fitting climax to this recording.