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Freedom Vessel

Mark Berndt, my photographer and CD designer, once said to me "The best thing about putting out your first album is that once it is done, you can work on your second album. You can't ever get to the second one, if you don't put out the first."

Wise words. Freedom Vessel was a big step – the first album that got radio promotion and a winner of a Borders Books and Music competition that allowed us to tour Borders stores with a California tour.

The album, released in 2000, featured another dream rhythm section: Joe LaBarbara on drums (Joe was Bill Evan's drummer for Bill's last few years, and appears on countless Bill Evans Cds – you should check out "Turn Out The Stars" on Warner Brothers Records), and Dave Carpenter on bass (Peter Erskine's favorite bass player). Once again Eric Marienthal generously appears playing sax, Dr. Bobby Rodriguez plays trumpet and M. B. Gordy produced the album and did percussion overdubs.

Millennium Schmellenium is propelled by Joe's New Orleans second line drum part. The song asks the question, "So what's the big deal?"

Blues For Sunny is dedicated to Sonny Rollins. The melody was inspired by the angular heads found on Sonny's early Blue Note recordings.

Evan's Seven is dedicated to my son Evan. He has aways been a math whiz, and he loves to count. The song uses a 7/4 pattern and then throws in an extra beat every now and then to keep him (and us) guessing.

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Freedom Vessel is a homage to Miles Davis and his classic quintet. It is a vehicle that carries the players towards freedom and exploration. As opposed to the slave ships that brought people into oppression and slavery, this vessel is moving towards the light.

Bill And Gil's Excellent Adventure is dedicated to two of my mentors, Bill Evans and Gil Evans. It was inspired by an old Wayne Shorter recording of one of Gil's tunes.

The Way You Do The Things You Do is a Smokey Robinson song, performed in the style of the Wynton Jelly trio.

One Moment Of Your Life is the first recording of this song – It was recorded later with a lyric sung by Tierney Sutton

Samba By Starlight, inspired by the movie "Black Orpheus", evolved from a simple jazz samba into something more contemporary, polished and adventurous. Great solos by both Dave and Eric on this one.

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The Garden closes out the album. It is a jazz version of a song that also appears on the "Conscious Dreams" CD. Originally composed in 1980, it still holds up as a beautiful melody, and Bobby does a wonderful solo on the flugehorn.


Song List

  1. Millennium Schmellenium
  2. Blues for Sonny
  3. Evan's Seven
  4. Freedom Vessel
  5. Bill & Gill's Excellent Adventure
  6. The Way You Do the Things You Do
  7. One Moment of Your Life
  8. Samba By Starlight
  9. Over the Rainbow
  10. Stollin' (wif Ma Bebe)
  11. The Garden