I've always wanted to record a jazz album with strings. So I started composing a whole lot of music for strings and a jazz trio. I booked a studio, and some lovely musicians who would help me to record. But the more I listened to my compositions the less I felt like they were 'right' for this album. They sounded like string music with a jazz trio added - and not jazz music with a string quartet added.
So 2 weeks before we went into the studio I threw all the music out !
Then I set myself the task of writing 1 tune a night for 10 nights - no judging, no editing, just composing, accepting, and onto the next one.
During this new process I was trying to figure out how to tie the whole album together. And then I had a dream - and in it I was playing a melody on the saxophone. The tune woke me up (at around 3am) so I quickly sang it into my phone and went back to sleep. When I woke up - at a more reasonable hour - the tune was still playing in my head.
It's a chant of 4 bars, and contains only 15 notes. But it's simple form, when repeated, builds a foundation on which evolving melodic offerings can be explored.
The chant is TRiUNE.
I finished writing the pieces in time for the recording, composing 'timekeepers' on the night before the rehearsal. The quintet played through the music once at the rehearsal and then we went into the studio two days later. So the sounds you will hear are very fresh interpretations of the music. After the recordings were completed I listened to the takes for a few weeks and wrote the string parts to accompany them. We recorded the strings in my loungeroom a few weeks after that.
It was so much fun recording this new music with all of my lovely, talented, generous, musicy friends. I really hope you enjoy this album.
Love yas all,
p.s. I’d like to give a shout out to all the beautiful people at Arts Tasmania. If I hadn’t received the financial support through a grant for this album it simply wouldn’t have happened. I can’t thank them enough.
released January 24, 2022
saxophones :: spike mason
double bass :: hamish houston
drums :: konrad 'jazzrad' park
trombone :: stevie mcentee
piano :: kelly ottaway
violin :: daniel wahl
violin :: suzanne turner
viola :: juen vanhand
cello :: denni sulzberger
guitar :: zarven kara ('a blues for lilia)
voice :: eleanor meredith ('a blues for lilia')
voice :: lilia mason ('please come down from the sky')
choir voices :: zero, baz, lilia, eleanor, kelly, zarven, stevie, konrad, hamish & spike ('triune 4')
produced by spike mason www.spikemason.com
all compositions and arrangements by spike mason
except 'river jordan' composed by spike mason and mark lau
and 'the poet' by spike mason and cameron semmens (who sang melodic phrases into his phone and sent them to me - I used one of them in the melody)
recorded at www.reeltoreelstudios.com
by zarven kara on the 19th & 20th of april 2021
strings recorded at spiral studio by spike mason on the 15th of july 2021
mixed and mastered by james kennedy in december of 2021
album cover line drawing :: claire newland
artwork :: lilia mason
TRiUNE is my 11th album in 11 years.
This project was assisted through Arts Tasmania
by the Minister for the Arts.