SECRETS FROM THE JAZZ GHETTO

In putting together this retrospective package, the first goal was to showcase the varied compositional talents of George Kahn. The second was to group them into two discs for listening, a “Nightside” and a “Dayside”.

“Nightside” (Vol. 1) is perfect for late night listening, martinis or chardonney. Good for background at a dinner party, or just chillin' late at night.

“Dayside” (Vol. 2) is perfect for party time — it is mostly uptempo jazz that will keep your feet tapping and your hips shaking. Good for getting the party started, driving up the coast or setting any festive mood.

Song List

CD1

  1. Sombras De Noite ( Night Shadows )
  2. Over The Rainbow
  3. Waltz For Diana
  4. My Funny Valentine
  5. See Cruise
  6. Say Goodbye
  7. Benji
  8. Freedom Vessel
  9. Open House
  10. Out of Time
  11. One Moment of Your Life
  12. 5 To Get Ready, 10 To Go
  13. The Hero's Journey

CD2

  1. Too Much Sax
  2. The Big 4-0
  3. Millennium Schmellenium
  4. Evan's Seven
  5. A Bop For Billy
  6. Swiss Cheese
  7. Midnight Brew
  8. Mercedes The Lady
  9. Gnomesayin'
  10. Wes' Coast
  11. Mitchell's Blues
  12. Evan's Eleven
  13. Wayne's World

Musicians

Detailed liner notes

Sombras De Noite (Night Shadows) (Kahn/Chapman/Behnia)

Recorded January 2010, with George Kahn — piano, Pat Kelley — guitar, Karl Vincent — bass, Jerry Kalaf — drums, and Luba Mason — vocals. Recorded and mixed by Jerry Kalaf at Studio J, Studio City, CA

This Bossa Nova, in the style of the classic Getz/Jobim recordings from the '60s, was written and recorded s an instrumental back in 2003. My good friend, Meredith Chapman, was inspired by the melody and wrote lovely lyrics in English. Upon hearing them, we thought, “wouldn't it be great to get the lyrics translated into Portuguese, and really make it Brazilian?” So we brought in Elenice Pinto Behnia, our Brazilian friend who lives here in Santa Monica to work with Meredith on the lyrics. The result is Sombras De Noite, literally “The Shadows of Night”.

Now we just needed to find the perfect singer for the recording. Luckily I was able to enlist Luba Mason to sing on the recording. Luba was on the verge of moving back to her native New York City to continue her career singing and being a triple threat star on broadway (singer/dancer/actress). Being the wife of Ruben Blades, she got some really professional coaching on the Portuguese, I think — and the result is as sultry as anything recorded by Astrud Gilberto. Pat Kelley turns in a gorgeous acoustic guitar solo as well.

Lyrics

Na solidão da noite In the loneliness of the night
fico pensando em voce I keep thinking about you
deixo a dor do dia pra tras leaving behind the pain of the day
na escuridão tudo é real in the darkness everything is real
te vejo e te sinto I see you and feel you
meu coracão chora de amor my heart cries of love
BRIDGE
Nos amamos e sorrimos We're loving and smiling
que alegria estamos juntos with joy we are joined/together
e nao quero acordar jamais, and I never want to wake up
quero ficar sempre com voce I want to stay here always with you
nas sombras da noite In the night shadows
(Na) solidão da noite In the loneliness of the night
voce se vai ao amanhecer you leave in the morning/dawn
me leva com voce, meu grande amor take me with you, my love
logo é dia e eu soon it is a new day (it is morning, there's light)
tenho que esperar and I have to wait
por mais uma noite… for another night
nas sombras da noite in the shadows of night

The Hemet Session

Recorded January 2009, with George Kahn — piano, Andy Suzuki — sax, Karl Vincent — bass, M. B. Gordy — drums, Recorded at Park Hill Music Studio by Eric Galletta, Hemet CA and mixed by Carl Sealove in Los Angeles, CA.

January 11, 2009 was a beautiful day in Hemet, California, especially for the George Kahn Quartet. After winning the Chuck Niles Bebop Award at the Temecula Valley International Jazz Festival in the summer of 2008, it was finally time to “cash in” the grand prize, a free day in the studio at Park Hill Music Studio in Hemet. The studio, located at the remote end of a remote town, is comprised of 3200 Sq ft of recording studio built the “old fashioned way” (a big airplane hangar-type room with baffles, but no isolation booths). It features a world class Neve V3 60 input console and a producers desk which holds an array of class A outboard gear (including a bunch of tube amps to warm up the sound). The room includes a 1902 Steinway 6' 10" Model B Grand Piano and a slew of top-end microphones.

George and his quartet (saxophone player Andy Suzuki, bassist Karl Vincent and drummer M. B. Gordy) showed up at the uncharacteristic jazz hour of 10:00 AM to start recording, with the plan to kick out 6 new songs by the end of the day — a full albums worth of material to be completed by the time the dinner bell rang. The added challenge was to be that, due to the lack of isolation in the studio, there could be no overdubs — this was going to be recorded the “old fashioned way” — with no fixes.

The plan was to start the day off playing “Over The Rainbow” (track 2 on Volume 1) to get things rolling. George, who recorded this song as a solo on his second album back in 2000, was looking forward to a new shot at one of his favorite tunes, and was especially looking forward to Andy Suzuki doing a Stan Getz-esque tenor solo on the song. Andy, of course, did not disappoint. This was a special day for Andy as well, as it was his last recording session in the US before he and his wife moved to Berlin.

Karl Vincent turned in a wonderful solo, and then George took a turn. By the time the track was over, the quartet was in the groove, and ready to attack the 4 new originals that George had written for this occasion.

Three of these new songs make it onto the new album: “Waltz For Diana” (track 3 on Volume 1), dedicated to George's wife, gives Andy a chance to do a little Paul Desmond on the alto. This new album closes with the other two new compositions, “Evan's Eleven” (track 12 on Volume 2), a rollicking funk/blues in 11/4, and “Wayne's World” (track 13 on Volume 2), dedicated to Wayne Shorter. This last track gives the band a chance to really stretch out. Make special note of the rhythm section on the way out of this tune — Karl Vincent, George and MB roar like a well-oiled machine. They just did not want to stop — so they didn't.

At the end of the day, the lights were turned down, and George and Andy did a duet version of “My Funny Valentine” (track 4 on Volume 1). This bittersweet love song poured out of their hearts onto the tape, and was done in one take. Then it was time to thank Eric Galleta and all the Park Hill Studio people, pack up the tapes and hightail it back to the big city. Mission accomplished.

The Tierney Sutton Session

(Out Of Time, and One Moment Of Your Life, from Volume 1 tracks 10 and 11)

The Midnight Brew album was a really fun project. Released in early 2002, it was my first album to be recorded direct to a dedicated hard drive. We recorded at Castle Oaks Studio in Calabasas, CA, a wonderful studio in the hills — great piano room, with windows and natural light. It was also the first recording that featured my “performing band”, the cats that I usually play with in Los Angeles.

My wife, Diana Zaslove, had been working on lyrics to the title song from the first album, “Out Of Time”. Finally she had a complete lyric which we both thought was very evocative, and so the question became, “who will sing the song on the album?” My habit is to aim high on my recordings, and I had just heard Tierney Sutton for the first time at a Jazz Convention in Long Beach. She lives in the area, and after speaking with her she agreed to come in and sing a song or two for my album.

Of course, at that point I only had one song! But I had an inspiration for a lyric one day while I was hiking in the Santa Monica mountains. I sat down on a rock with my notepad, and within a short while I had the basic outline of the lyric for “One Moment Of Your Life”, a song that I knew would fit the classic “standards” song format. When we got to the studio, Tierney added her vocal to the tracks we had laid down the day before. As always her pitch and tone were perfect, and we were done in no time.

In the end we decided to drop this second vocal from the Midnight Brew album, but in going back through the archives I fell in love with Tierney's voice again, and felt the song needed to see the light of day. So here it is, as one of the Secrets From The Jazz Ghetto, complete with a swinging sax solo from the incomparable Justo Almario.

Out of Time Lyrics

There was a time,
Long distant past,
We lay with hands outstretched in fields of summer grass.
The sky was still,
the air hung close and silent as the hourglass
drifting past,
Out of Time.

There was a place,
A memory,
We walked beyond the hills as far as we could see.
You held my hand.
The world became as boundless as the azure sea,
floating free,
Out of Time.

A dragonfly hung like a blue thread from the sky,
and passed us by to reach the cloud
that seemed to linger in our view,
Just me and you.

I often dream
about the day,
When languid stillness was our business and our play.
What I would give
To step outside the rushing tide of “everyday”,
Drift away,
Out of Time.

Long distant past,
There was a place,
A memory,
Out of Time,
Out of Time,
Out of Time.

One Moment Of Your Life Lyrics

The moment that I saw you
Dreaming in the morning light
I knew that we'd be here a long, long time.
But then the days grew short,
The mornings cold and you were gone,
And all I have are dreams of
One Moment Of Your Life.
Warmth of day, and heat of night
Can seem so certain and so right
How can what had been so true
Become a whisper without you.
And now the days are long,
The sun's caresses warm again
I think of you and know that I have
One Moment Of Your Life.