GRP A 1006
GRP - GRD 9504
POWER WAVE (5:10)
THANKFUL N' THOUGHTFUL (4:10)
THEME FROM "ST. ELSEWHERE" (4:13)
HAUNTING ME (5:04)
(FROM "RACING WITH THE MOON") (3:36)
NIGHT LINES (5:03)
TICK TOCK (4:13)
KITCHEN DANCE (3:59)
SOMEWHERE BETWEEN OLD AND NEW YORK (4:32)
BOSSA BAROQUE (4:17)
Phoebe Snow (Vocals), Randy Goodrum (Vocals), David Sanborn (Saxophone), Marcus Miller (Bass), Lincoln Goines (Bass), Buddy Williams (Drums), Rubens Bassini (Percussion), Ed Walsh (Synthesizer), Gary Roda (Vocals)
Arranged by Dave Grusin
Produced by Dave Grusin & Larry Rosen
This is what happens when you allow an imaginative musical mind to wander alone at will in a room full of the latest technical gadgetry.
Although other artists leant their talents to this album, in truth it represents very much a one-man affair, the result of inventive application of music technology and a merry approach to some tunes of his own as well as others.
The sense of fun which Dave Grusin brings to most of his upbeat work is here in abundance, enlisting everything from high-tech electronics to literally (not figuratively!) pots and pans to create an album full of wizardry and surprises.
There can be no question that he is in the musical environment he likes best when working in studio with fellow performers of rarefied talent. So, that makes it all the more fascinating that Dave Grusin regards the “Night-Lines” project - such a wide departure from these collaboration-oriented sessions - to be one of the most enjoyable he's worked on.
A radical change also from his two previous albums - both of which were live stage performances - “Night-Lines” stands as a unique event among his recordings, finding him individually laying down tracks, from drum rhythms upwards, until the entire piece was ready for augmentation of vocals or the occasional add-on by David Sanborne, Marcus Miller and Buddy Williams - an intricate and protracted process.
For each track, it was a matter of first putting down a basic rhythmic pattern into the memory of a Linn drum machine, followed by individual layering of basic parts. A synthesized bass line completed the ingredients. However, that was only the start. Then the tinkering began. No small matter just keeping track of the multitudinous elements and layers. Rather like finding one's way through a maze made up of fine, purposely entangled threads or taking apart a watch and putting it back together.
Despite being produced with an assortment of goodies - like programmable drum machines, digital synthesizers and sequencers - this record at no times sounds artificial or mechanized under Dave Grusin's creative touch.
Enjoyable as the whole experience was, Dave Grusin admits, “by the time I got to the end of the production, I was dying to hear some acoustic elements, so I brought in some players to actually play some notes, instead of hitting a key that triggered the same sound of the note played previously.”
“Power Wave,” the opening track, perfectly defines the album's approach with its light, but very snappy beat. (You can witness a live performance of the piece on the “Live In Session”/”Lee Ritenour & Dave Grusin Live from the Record Plant” videos, the latter also available on DVD.
Rhythm and blues magic follows in the form of one of Dave Grusin's better-known releases (being included on the “Dave Grusin Collection”), “Thankful and Thoughtful,” on which he is ably assisted by some `power wave' vocals of her own by Phoebe Snow as well as the sax of David Sanborn.
Next up is perhaps Dave Grusin's most recognizable melody, the theme from the long-running TV series “St Elsewhere.” Synonymous with the word irresistible, this might cynically be considered `commercial' music. If so, we gladly surrender to commercialism! (To hear a rendition by live ensemble, check out “Live in Session” in both record and video formats, respectively ”Lee Ritenour & Dave Grusin Live from the Record Plant” video/DVD. The “Night-Lines version has also been included on Dave Grusin's “Collection” and “Priceless Jazz.”)
Next, Randy Goodrum sings his own composition, “Haunting Me,” an easy ballad, one of three contributions from him on “Night-Lines.”
The Grusin solo on this album is “Secret Place” from the film score of “Racing With The Moon,” which he composed in 1984. Departing as far as possible from the electronic toys aspect of this record, it is played on acoustic piano, and is the essence of a Dave Grusin think piece, gently evoking the isolated spot by a lake where the lovers go.
The album's title song, “Night-Lines,” another Grusin composition, brings us back to the main ground of the project, driven by a great beat and some hip synthesizer chords. "Tik Tok,” a second Randy Goodrum original, features vocals by the composer, and has a nice dreamy feel.
Things wake up substantially on the next offering, Dave Grusin's “Kitchen Dance.” `Performed' by some obliging saucepans from his own household, we are left wondering if this piece is about what the kitchenware gets up to in the middle of the night when everyone is asleep, or it describes a spontaneous family dance around the breakfast table.
In actual fact, to create some of the percussion on the track, Dave Grusin indeed enlisted household items to create the sound on this track. Using a Fairlight synthesizer, he recorded the sounds made by a variety of pots and pans, then assigned these to the keyboard. Delightful are the results of this interesting experiment. The composer explains, "I like using samples that mix digital and analog combinations, but mostly I like the idea of samples to make new sounds that normally wouldn't be thought of in music and incorporate that in some way."
The intriguing and haunting baseball song of Randy Goodrum, “Somewhere Between Old and New York” features evocative vocals by Phoebe Snow. This mood piece stirs up all kinds of touching imagery.
“Night-Lines” concludes with another of Dave Grusin's high-profile numbers. “Bossa Baroque.” This ultimate fusion piece has even been used by scoring colleague Van Dyke Parks on the soundtrack of the film “Casual Sex?,” and is a most satisfying conclusion to this varied collection, using the electronics to especially good effect.
No surprise that "Night-Lines" was a smash hit which spent over a year in the Billboard jazz charts.
Recorded by Josiah Gluck
Additional recording by Larry Rosen & Ollie Cotton
Mixed by Larry Rosen & Dave Grusin
Assisted by Ollie Cotton
Mastering by Ted Jensen, Sterling Sound
Cover Illustration by Frank Riley
Art Design by Lee Corey
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