Drummer Mayhall brings together a great set of improvisers, including guitarist Jeff Parker, bassist Paul Bryan, keyboardist Jeff Babko and tenor saxophonist Chris Speed, for electric, lyrical and sonically powerful compositions founded on compelling textures and rhythms.
Released in: USA
"The album is called Tropes, and features some of Matt's musical kindred spirits: guitarist Jeff Parker and bassist Paul Bryan, with appearances by keyboardist Jeff Babko and tenor saxophonist Chris Speed. Matt wrote all of the music at the piano, which he admits is not an instrument he is entirely comfortable with. This was by design. "I didn't have an impulse or goal to write something really flashy or heavily rhythmic, as one might expect from a drummer," he states, "I tried to think as a piano player, to find chords and melodies that sounded good to me." But this is not to say drums are downplayed elsewhere; in fact, Matt has discovered innovative textures and beats, providing clarifying rhythmic context to his compositions. The result is a set of moody and spacious instrumental pieces in which improvisational stretching is kept to a minimum or woven into the compositional forms, with Parker's guitar as the primary melodic and chordal instrument.
While many of the songs employ the repetition of a set of chord changes, these vignettes offer much more than just an initial premise to begin soloing. Tropes stands out as an important album for its place in time and geography, as Los Angeles is now being recognized as a viable alternative instrumental music scene. Innovation need not be contrived, and with Matt Mayhall's new album we have a sonically compelling glimpse into the power of self-introspection and honest curiosity as a means of moving forward artistically.
• Show Bio for Matt Mayhall
"Matt Mayhall is a drummer and composer based in Los Angeles. Like many instrumentalists on the L.A. scene, Matt has embraced a full range of musical pursuits. He's toured with The Both - a group with Aimee Mann and Ted Leo - since the release of their album in 2014. He's performed with Liz Phair, John Doe of X, Dar Williams, and Susanna Hoffs of The Bangles. Yet he's also played with an enviable list of jazz musicians, players like keyboardists Larry Goldings and Adam Benjamin, bassists Tim Lefebvre and Eric Revis, guitarist Anthony Wilson, and saxophonists Vinny Golia and Chris Speed.
For a number of years he was in Spain, the syncretic alt-country/slowcore group led by Josh Haden, son of legendary jazz bassist Charlie Haden. Matt has the distinction of being the drummer on Charlie Haden's final recorded performance, Spain's song "You And I." He can also be seen in the IFC television series Documentary Now! as a member of the fictitious soft-rock band The Blue Jean Committee, produced and led by Saturday Night Live veterans Fred Armisen and Bill Hader.
Over the past decade, Matt has employed this all-of-the-above strategy to great effect, and with that confirmation it's time for him to finally release an album of his own.
The album is called Tropes, and features some of Matt's musical kindred spirits: guitarist Jeff Parker (Tortoise, Brian Blade Fellowship), and bassist Paul Bryan (Aimee Mann, Allen Toussaint, Meshell Ndegeocello), with appearances by keyboardist Jeff Babko (Frank Ocean, Mark Guiliana's Beat Music), and tenor saxophonist Chris Speed (Human Feel, Claudia Quintet).
Matt wrote all of the music at the piano, which he admits is not an instrument he is entirely comfortable with. This was by design. "I didn't have an impulse to write anything flashy, heavily rhythmic, or 'drum-centric,'" he states. "I was really just taking direction and drawing inspiration from chord sequences and melodies I had come up with." But this is not to say drums are downplayed elsewhere; in fact, Matt has discovered innovative textures and beats, providing clarifying rhythmic context to his compositions.
The result is a set of moody and spacious instrumental pieces in which improvisational stretching is kept to a minimum or woven into the compositional forms, with Parker's guitar as the primary melodic and chordal instrument. While many of the songs employ the repetition of a set of chord changes, these vignettes offer much more than just an initial premise to begin soloing.
Tropes stands out as an important album for its place in time and geography, as Los Angeles is now being recognized as a viable alternative instrumental music scene. Innovation need not be contrived, and with Matt Mayhall's new album we have a sonically compelling glimpse into the power of self-introspection and honest curiosity as a means of moving forward artistically. Here's betting Tropes will be among the albums which represent and define our current and evolving musical climate."-Matt Mayhall Website (http://www.mattmayhallmusic.com/about-1/)
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• Show Bio for Jeff Parker
"Jeff Parker (born April 4, 1967) is an American jazz and rock guitarist based in Los Angeles. Parker is best known as an experimental musician, working with avant-garde electronic, rock, and improvisational groups.
Parker currently plays guitar in the post-rock group Tortoise and also was a founding member of the ensembles Isotope 217 and the Chicago Underground Trio in the 1990s and early 2000s. He is also a member of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians, as well as working with musicians George Lewis, Ernest Dawkins, Brian Blade, Joshua Redman, Fred Anderson (musician) and Jason Moran. He has released three solo albums: Like-Coping, The Relatives and Bright Light in Winter."-Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeff_Parker_(musician))
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• Show Bio for Paul Bryan
"Paul Bryan (born April 13, 1967) is a music producer, arranger, songwriter and bassist based in Los Angeles. He was born in San Pedro, Los Angeles, California.
He has produced three albums by singer and songwriter Aimee Mann: One More Drifter in the Snow (SuperEgo Records, 2006), @#%&*! Smilers (SuperEgo Records, 2008) and Charmer (SuperEgo Records, 2012). He has also produced Grant Lee Phillips' album Little Moon (Yep Roc Records, 2009) and Amy Correia's You Go Your Way (2010).
Bryan wrote the string and woodwind arrangements for Nina Nastasia's critically acclaimed album Outlaster (Fat Cat Records, 2010).
He is a longtime member and bassist of Aimee Mann's touring band as well as having toured with Lucinda Williams in 2006, and Elvis Costello/Allen Toussaint in 2007, also appearing that same year on Jimmy Kimmel Live! backing up songwriting legend Nick Lowe.
Bryan is also a member of Gerry Leonard's Spooky Ghost.
Producer of the band The Both's self-titled album on Super Ego Records 2014, featuring Ted Leo and Aimee Mann.
He has recorded with artists Sam Phillips, Norah Jones, Billy Preston, Ann Peebles, Irma Thomas and Mavis Staples.
Bryan has produced albums for Glen Phillips, Swallowed By The New (2015), Jennifer Gillespie's Cure For Dreaming (2015), and tracks with Susanna Hoffs of The Bangles.
Producer/Bassist/Mixer of Jeff Parker's 2015 record The New Breed on International Anthem Records."-Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Bryan_(musician))
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• Show Bio for Chris Speed
"Chris Speed is a composer, clarinetist and saxophonist - and is "one of the principal figures in a dynamic left-of-center jazz/improv scene in the city" (NYTimes). His own bands include Endangered Blood, Human Feel, yeah NO, Trio Iffy, Pachora and The Clarinets. He is a founding member of Jim Black's Alas No Axis and John Hollenbeck's Claudia Quintet (two of the most influential working bands today), works with Uri Caine (deconstructing works by Mahler, Mozart, Bach, Schoenberg, Gershwin) and maintains a busy career of touring, recording, performing, composing, practicing and teaching. Current projects include work with Craig Taborn's Heroic Frenzies, Michael Formanek's Ensemble Kolossus, Dave King's Trucking Co., Matt Mitchell Quartet, Mary Halvorson's Reverse Blue, Banda de los Muertos (NYC's only Banda band), as well as touring his latest project, Endangered Blood (with Black, Trevor Dunn and Oscar Noriega) which was featured on NPR's Tiny Desk Concerts in 2012. (Endangered Blood 2010, Work Your Magic 2013 Skirl). "Speed's Endangered Blood originals stand out as his most melodically generous, accessible and warm batch of compositions he's yet to produce." -DownBeat ****Born in 1967, Speed grew up in the Seattle area where he met future colleagues Jim Black and Andrew D'Angelo, all of whom ended up in Boston in the late 80's where they formed Human Feel with guitarist Kurt Rosenwinkel. (Scatter 1992, Welcome to Malpesta 1994, Speak To It 1996, Galore 2007). While in Boston he studied at New England Conservatory and graduated in 1990. By 1992, after a short tour with the Artie Shaw Band (led by Dick Johnson), Speed moved to New York City where he started working with Tim Berne's (now legendary touring band) Bloodcount. (Unwound 1996, Discretion 1997, Saturation Point 1997, The Seconds 2006).In April 2006, he launched Skirl Records, a label dedicated to Brooklyn based creative music" -Chris Speed Website (http://chrisspeed.com/bio/)
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• Show Bio for Jeff Babko
"Pianist/keyboardist Jeff Babko is a native of Southern California, and has remained on the west coast throughout his career. Babko constantly balances many musical and professional hats, as an in-demand recording musician and touring keyboardist.
After graduating from the University of Miami's distinguished Frost School Of Music, Babko began working with international superstar Julio Iglesias on a series of worldwide tours. After leaving Iglesias, Babko began regularly touring Asia and Europe super-drummer Simon Phillips. Soon after, he joined guitarist Robben Ford's band, and later toured and recorded with Larry Carlton. With Carlton, Babko performed for the King and royal family of Thailand in Bangkok's royal palace. Listeners can enjoy Babko's recorded work with Ford and Carlton on their joint effort, Live In Tokyo, as well as on some of their individual recordings (see "other people's rekkids" section).
Other tours included Europe with the L.A. supergroup TOTO in 2000 (including the "Live In Sofia" television special), and also with Grammy award winner Shelby Lynne.
Television work began with Martin Short's syndicated talk show in 1999/2000, and later on the Wayne Brady daytime show. For the past 11+ years, most significantly, Babko has been the musical arranger, a composer, and house band member on ABC TV's "Jimmy Kimmel Live". He's backed up countless rock, pop and jazz artists on the show, and has produced much of the music for its comedy segments (including co-writing "I'm F**king Ben Affleck").
Always keeping one foot dipped in comedy territory, Babko has been the touring musical director and accompanist for Martin Short since 2002, and also performs with Mr. Short & Steve Martin, often accompanied by the bluegrass group Steep Canyon Rangers.
In 2010, Babko recorded ("100 Miles From Memphis") and toured with Sheryl Crow. The "100 Miles" band, dubbed "The Thieves", recorded a live set from the Pantages Theatre, which has been a televised mainstay since its release. Another ongoing touring and recording situation has been with James Taylor, and Babko can be heard on Taylor's "Covers" record, including its single, "It's Growing". Other recent recording highlights include Jason Mraz' "Love Is A Four Letter Word" and Frank Ocean's "Channel Orange", as well as Smokey Robinson's recent "Smokey & Friends" record of duets, produced by Randy Jackson for Verve Records. You also have heard Babko on recordings from Alanis Morrisette, Willie Nelson, Tim McGraw, Jennifer Nettles, The Madden Brothers, and others.
Babko has four solo albums out under his own name, including 2012's critically acclaimed "Crux" for Tonequake Records, featuring Mark Isham, Tim Lefebvre and Matt Chamberlain. His 2007 release "Mondo Trio" w/ Jeff Coffin and Vinnie Colaiuta is considered a classic "drum fusion" record.
He runs his own studio, TudorTones, with his wife, studio violinist Songa Lee. Also, Jeff hosts a podcast from TudorTones featuring fellow keyboard players called "The Caffeinated Keyboardist." "-Jeff Babko Website (http://www.jeffbabko.com/aboutthisguy/)
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Catalog ID: 036
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Engineered at Mayberry PCH, September 2015 to June 2016 by Paul Bryan.
Jeff Babko recorded at TudorTones.
Matt Mayhall-drums, percussion, piano, Wurlitzer electric piano, Mellotron, Yamaha PortaSound VSS 30
Jeff Parker-electric guitar
Paul Bryan-electric bass guitar
Chris Speed-tenor saxophone
Jeff Babko-Hammond B3 organ, Fender Rhodes, synthesizer
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1. On The Ceiling 4:13
2. Dum Dum 3:49
3. Removed 3:13
4. A Pact Of Forgetting 1:15
5. Maybe Younger 3:17
6. Picture Day 5:34
7. AandA 5:49
8. Includer 3:44
9. Myopic 3:14