I have enjoyed the sound of my tenor with Hammond Organ since my first opportunities to play in that context. Years ago, I sat in with Bobby Forrester at a local jazz club in Long Island, NY named Sonny's Place. Bobby was the long time organist and musical director for singer Ruth Brown. I hired Bobby for a few gigs on Long Island and Queens, NY. When I got my first record deal, I asked him to make a few sessions for the date. I paired him with drummer Rudy Petschauer, who was with Jack McDuff at the time.
Years later, I moved to eastern Pennsylvania. Shortly after, I found that Rudy had bought a house 10 minutes from where I was renting. I wound up buying a house, and Rudy and I now live in the same town in PA.
I told Rudy I'd like to lead a session, and he recommended Dan Kostelnik on organ. In March 2023, we recorded as a trio at Red Rock Recording, in Saylorsburg, PA. The only preparation was a set of tunes Dan had chosen for a gig that he missed due to bad weather. So the date was my first time playing with Dan. The session was just 3 hours, and many tracks are first takes.
We play in the Bebop vein. Rudy is versatile, and can play modern jazz in other settings as attested to in various CDs. I can stretch a bit also if I'm playing original compositions, but what comes natural for me is Bebop. It is a fallacy to say every jazz record has to break new ground. If cats can say it their way, and do it with artistry, that should suffice.
The album’s title track Whisper Not means to me, show your talent, let yourself be heard. I start that track with a whisper but built it from there. I felt that the right tempo was critical to this tune. On Embraceable You, I asked the guys for a walking ballad, and I listened hard for Rudy's quarter note. Dan had previously recorded Pensativa, and he came ready with a nice arrangement. Rudy knew that one well also. I jumped into the double time early, not trying to be careful on a difficult set of changes. My original Penelope's Peril is based on I'll Remember April, and I discovered that tune has a lot of changes for way up tempo. My tune Quick Drink is based on What Is This Thing Called Love.
We went for a strong groove on Airegin, and went uptempo on It's You Or No One. Those Foolish Things got a ballad treatment, and Speak Low got a free blowing, exuberant ride. Ceora had a nice groove from Rudy and Dan, which gave me the opportunity to double time. Just Friends has a take your time groove, that slow burned. Nardis is always a tune that can stretch the bandespecially dug Dan's comping. His rhythmic concept is nice. Rudy is great as usual, keeping us together and showing us the way. I brought the tracks to Rudy's house and I listened to previously recorded versions of these tunes and felt that we held up well. I he said the engineer Kent got his drums good. He also liked that he could hear the bass on the organ.
I remember playing with an older jazz musician who said music must have feeling. I would add that it must be sincere, and with a depth of emotion. I hope that these tracks will come across with that. What are my reasons to put this
recording out? I want to leave a bit of myself behind when I'm done. I guess it's obvious, a musician's legacy is in his preserved recordings - a piece of ourselves.
I would like to dedicate this recording to my brother Fred, who taught me many things about music. We grew up in the Rock era, and did Doo Wop tunes of the 50s. He taught himself guitar and sang, and I sang and played a little bit of baritone sax. I guess we branched off when he started playing electric bass in local Rock bands, and I went to college to learn jazz. Mostly though, I learned jazz at house sessions and clubs.
Recorded at: Red Rock Recording, Saylorsburg, PA in March 2023.
Engineered, mixed and mastered by: Kent Heckman.
Producers: Paul Kendall, Joachim “Jochen” Becker.
Paul Kendall photo by: Ron Schwerin.
Art direction and package design: Jack Frisch.
Executive Producers: Paul Kendall, Joachim “Jochen” Becker.