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Out of Time

It is hard to believe that it was 10 years ago, in 1998, that I recorded OUT OF TIME – my first jazz release.

Living in Los Angeles, the biggest decision I had to make on this album was how high I wanted to aim – the city is filled with great musicians, and I have plenty of friends with garage studios, etc. But when I thought about it, I decided that it was time to PLAY BIG and aim as high as possible.

I thought to myself, "If I could play with any rhythm section in LA, who would I choose?" The first names that came to mind were Billy Higgins and Charlie Haden. I called Charlie's manager, told him what my plans were, and he laughed. I asked if he would at least ask if Charlie was interested, and he laughed again. So that was that.

After licking my wounds for a couple of months, I got up the nerve to call Billy. At the time Billy's wife was his manager, and Billy was fully recovered from the liver transplant that he had a few years earlier. She laughed also when I first gave her my proposal, but she said she would check with Billy and get back to me. I told her that if Billy agreed, we would work out the financial details and he could pick the bass player.

A week later I got the call – Billy was willing to do it! He brought in Richard Reed, his regular bass player. Once Billy was on board, it was easy to line up two of the best session players in LA – Eric Marienthal and Wayne Bergeron.

The session was a revelation – I gave Billy a book of charts, which he immediately put on the floor and never looked at once. The guy had the biggest ears in the business. And his touch was so soft – the engineer had trouble mic-ing the drums because he played with such a soft touch, like a painter painting watercolors on a canvas.

We got every tune in one or two takes. The first day Billy was a little disgruntled, but the second day when we did the originals with the horns he really brightened up. What a beautiful spirit. My best memory of the session was one moment when we were listening back to one of the songs in the control room, and the engineer said, "You know, that song really speeds up from the original tempo – maybe we should redo it?" Billy looked at him and said, "So it sped up? What do you think we are, machines?" We stayed with the original track.

Sadly, Billy passed away in 2001, 3 years after this recording was made.

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Song List

  1. See Cruise
  2. The Big 4-0
  3. Martuni Time
  4. Driving Miss Daisy
  5. Benji
  6. Say Goodbye
  7. Black Orpheus (theme)
  8. Bloosie Moves
  9. Whiter Shade of Pale
  10. Days of Wine and Roses
  11. Out of Time