Saxophonist and flutist Arthur Barron, known for his work with Hilton Ruiz and Jerry Gonzalez, and legendary soprano saxophonist Dave Liebman, of Miles Davis, Elvin Jones, McCoy Tyner and Chick Corea fame, team up for an outing of original compositions and remake of John Coltrane’s Dahomey Dance with Miami-based keyboardist and production wiz Abel Pabon (Nestor Torres), bassist Josh Allen (Negroni’s Trio), bassist Eric England (Troy Roberts), drummer Michael Piolet (University of Miami Stamps Quintet) and vibraphonist and percussionist Alfredo Chacon (David Bisbal), delivering The Miami Jazz Project's brand of fusion soundtrack.
Musicians are all influenced, in one way or another, by their predecessors. For me, it was jazz saxophonists John Coltrane, Joe Henderson and Dexter Gordon, as well as the avant-garde rocker Don Van Fleet (aka Captain Beefheart). And, of course, Miles Davis, whose seminal Jack Johnson LP was one of the prime motivators for my desire to become a musician. That innovative album, together with Miles’ subsequent recordings, ushered in a new jazz genre recognized as fusion.
As Dave Liebman states in his book What It Is; “We are responsible….the people of my generation for keeping this music alive….the spirit of this music; its tradition; the people who came through it and why they created it; the blood, sweat and tears that were literally put into this. We are now left with the flame that’s been handed down to us and we have to be true to the cause. We are missionaries from the other side and we have continuous work ahead of us.”
With Dave’s quote in mind, The Miami Jazz Project CD features its own brand of contemporary jazz. It can be regarded as an extension of the tradition that Miles and other bands like Weather Report laid down. The tracks include both acoustic and electric material with stylistic elements rooted in mainstream jazz, blues, jazz rock and world music - a fusion of harmonic structures and modal works. Although comparisons can be made to what came before, the depth of the performances along with the original compositions and the overall production sound results in this music taking on a life of its own on this recording, as well as representing how the fusion style has evolved over the decades since Miles broke ground. Arthur Barron
DAHOMEY DANCE: this blues is one of Coltrane’s lesser played tunes, presenting the classic challenge of trying to be true to the original concept while at the same time giving it a contemporary approach and sound. The arrangement of the horns and the rhythm took care of that aspect with the solos reflecting our own individual slant applied to Trane’s chord changes. Dave Liebman
LORDY LOURDES: inspired by a special lady friend Lourdes Gonzalez, this tune features an eclectic blend of a Middle Eastern influenced head and a blues-like bridge over an R&B styled vamp. Solos are based on diminished and Middle Eastern scales along with blues phrasings. I like an air of mystery in my work, and Abel’s co-writing and arrangement of the piece conveyed the feeling that I was seeking. Arthur Barron
From left : Dave Liebman, Abel Pabon, Arthur Barron.
JINNISTAN: the concept of the tune evolved through my study of Sufism when I came across Arabian folklore about Jinns, thought by some to be supernatural spirits with powers that could influence people to do good or evil. According to Islamic mythology, the Jinns lived in a place call Jinnistan in ancient Persia. This piece is centered upon a driving vamp over a fused Middle Eastern/Jazz melody, culminating with a repeating blues riff. We let loose with abandonment on the solos. Arthur Barron
WINTER DAY: this tune was written exactly on such a day which happens quite a bit where I live in the Pocono Mountain area of Pennsylvania. Invariably, you get such days when there is nothing happening outside; meaning you are left with more time on your hands than usual. Arthur had been requesting something to record with this being the result. Dave Liebman
SHEER JOY: this was one of the few commissions I have ever received coming from an amateur saxophonist in Germany who owns a successful computer company and somehow found me through mutual friends, resulting in being hired to write a tune for him to play. His last name was Scheer, so with a play on words using a familiar expression, I wrote this eighth note based lyrical composition. Dave Liebman
MISSING PERSON this is a short duo meant to highlight two horns in a playful conversation, setting up an improvisatory atmosphere. The title refers to people we meet in life who may not be technically “missing” but in social interaction don’t seem to be on the same page as oneself or what is happening around them….physically present, but mentally not all there. Dave Liebman
TU AMOR NERI this piece was written for Afro-Cuban dancer and choreographer Neri Torres. It is essentially a Bolero played in 4/4 time with a jazz feel. Much time was spent on the melody, which ended up being a fairly complex composition with an introduction followed by five sections, each expressing different moods and dynamics embellished by Dave’s signature harmonic concepts. Arthur Barron
Producer and Musical Director: Abel Pabon Arrangements: Dave Liebman and Abel Pabon. Engineer: James Delia Mastering: Sound Lab at Disc Makers. Photography by Ken Kay, James Delia and Jack Frisch (artist photos). Art Direction and Package Design: Jack Frisch. Executive Producers: Arthur Barron and Joachim "Jochen" Becker.