The Serial Sessions: Skyscrapers
Your 5th subscriber track of the year is here! Reedman Chet Doxas talks about recording Skyscrapers:
I’m writing this at the Bronx Zoo and just said out loud, with my ear buds in, “hey, that sounds like a Dave Douglas tune!” Feeling inspired by the uniqueness and clarity of Dave’s composing, I decided to find out a little more about Skyscrapers and texted Dave to ask if he could explain the meaning of the title (see below for his description, it’s inspiring)
The idea for the tune came years ago, when I first came to NY. I wrote a poem about an experience I had walking on 34th Street. I was intimidated by the bustling crowds and all the competition. The skyscrapers at dusk kind of reminded me of the hustle, and then, as I walked down 34th, the moon emerged from behind one of them and I realized how very small those buildings were in comparison. Kind of put the whole thing in perspective.
I never found a use for the poem or the image, until you and I were working on Riverside and we played Giuffre’s tune, The Train and The River. This felt like a 21st century update of the feeling in that title.
Because we moved so swiftly through this day of recording, it makes it particularly interesting for me to listen back to these tracks every month. I couldn’t say that I remembered recording this piece specifically but, it certainly came flooding back to me within the first five seconds of listening. As anybody who has played with Dave will tell you, his compositions always sound great the first time you play through them and, because he’s so good at getting to the point of each compositional idea, it keeps everyone who’s performing the material fired up and engaged in a fresh sounding way. This is especially obvious by the great solos played by Ryan Keberle and Rudy Royston. Being new in town, I had never met either of them and was blown away by their playing. I’ve have since had the pleasure of listening to them on several occasions and am always excited about how committed they are to interacting with each other while, at the same time, having such command of their instruments and ideas.
I hope you enjoy listening to this music as much as we enjoyed performing and recording it. While listening, try to picture how much fun we were all having; great pieces and direction from Dave, several new musical meetings among the group, no rehearsals…a kind of “jam session” feel to the whole day.