In early 2006, I traveled to Chicago for the first rehearsals and performances of a band called the Lucky 7s. The band was the idea of my friend, fellow trombonist, and Chicagoan, Jeb Bishop. It consisted of members of the Chicago scene and a couple of Katrina refugees from New Orleans who landed in Chicago, and me. That band eventually released two CDs, played the Chicago Jazz Fest, and made some pretty good music. That first trip to Chicago introduced me to a
wonderful thriving scene of creative musicians who took control of their performance opportunities, and made things happen for their music in their city. I wanted a scene like that in New Orleans.
Today, thanks to the continuing work and dedication of many people, New Orleans has a pretty strong scene for creative and improvised music, and this album is a reflection of part of that scene. Long Sidewalks is like an inverted Lucky 7s, in that instead of me traveling to Chicago to work with the musicians there, Jeb traveled to New Orleans to work with the musicians here. Jeb’s visit was one of the first projects of the New Orleans International Sound Exchange (NOISE), which is a non-profit
dedicated to fostering interactions between New Orleans based improvisers and other world class musicians based in other places. The group of New Orleans musicians who make up 7/8 of Long Sidewalks represent a significant portion of the free jazz/improvised music/whatever you-want-to-call-it community. There are a couple of complete extant ensembles contained within Long Sidewalks, and a couple of other groups that have majority representation.
About the name: drummer Marcello Benetti started visiting New Orleans in 2008 and moved here in 2011. He has had a wide ranging influence on the community, especially in social contexts. One thing that Marcello has introduced to us is the concept of the staffa. This is an idea that he brought from his native Venice. The staffa is the last drink one has before leaving the bar or party. Staffa translates to stirrup, meaning that the rider has already started to mount his horse by the time he has this last taste. Of course Marcello has also taught us that there does not have to be but one staffa. Jeb liked the concept, so it found its way to a song title, then seemed the obvious choice for the name of the album. We hope you enjoy this staffa.
Lucky 7s came to be in the immediate aftermath of Katrina, and the visit I made to New Orleans for the Long Sidewalks work was my first trip there since before the storm. Maybe for that reason this project feels to me in part like a celebration of the regained vibrancy of the musical life of this
indomitable city. I want to thank Jeff, Marcello, Helen, Rex, Ray, Chris, and Jesse for all their beautiful work. It was a wonderful if too brief musical adventure this time -- I hope we'll be able to do it again soon!
Rex Gregory - soprano and tenor saxophones
Ray Moore - alto and baritone saxophones
Jeb Bishop - trombone
Jeff Albert - trombone and laptop
Chris Alford - guitar
Helen Gillet - cello
Jesse Morrow - bass
Marcello Benetti - drums
Recorded on September 18, 2013 by Steve Panacek at Vital
Sounds Recording in New Orleans, LA
Mixed and mastered by Jeff Albert
Produced by Jeff Albert & Jeb Bishop
Jeb’s appearance in New Orleans made possible in part by
New Orleans International Sound Exchange (noise-nola.org)
Cover photo by Jaki Cellini
Visit Breakfast for Dinner Records at b4d-records.com
Jeb Bishop (BMI), Joshua Abrams (Los Potreros ASCAP)
Rex Gregory (BMI), Jeff Albert (BMI)
Breakfast for Dinner RecordsNew Orleans, Louisiana
Breakfast for Dinner Records is a label focused on new music from New Orleans. New Orleans is a city known for its music,
and that music is much more multi-faceted than most realize. B4D Records releases some of that music that falls outside of the classic idea of New Orleans music. Like having pancakes and bacon for dinner, this music may be a bit out of the mainstream, but it sure is good....more