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MP3 Bill Stevens - Full Circle

Six new Jazz compositions by New York trumpet player Bill Stevens influenced by the past while looking toward the future. A future represented in the present state of Jazz in NYC at the beginning of the 21st century.

6 MP3 Songs
JAZZ: Bebop, JAZZ: Traditional Jazz Combo

Bill Stevens
Full Circle Liner Notes

Shortly after the release of my fifth CD, Dedication, in 2003 I began to reevaluate my musical journey. Over the following year I began to see this journey more as a quest, one that is still incomplete and may be realized, completing the circle, during my next project. As I look back over the past year I have incorporated some theories that have shaped the compositions and improvisations on this CD.

These theories were developed initially through my study of Jazz history, primarily the influences of Miles Davis'' Second Great Quintet through Kilimanjaro, the spiritual approach to sound of John Coltrane to the freedom of the 1960''s "New Thing" musicians and the electrified sounds of Miles Davis'' 1970''s "Lost Quintet" are all represented as the foundation of this music. Others who have shaped my approach on this CD include Ornette Coleman, early Weather Report, Mark Isham, Woody Shaw and the last recordings of Lee Morgan.

This study of the past has allowed me to explore musical concepts that I feel have opened up the compositions to allow the musicians to break through to a new, freer conception of Jazz improvisation and performance. My desire is for each player to construct what he feels in the music at any given moment. I want them to play what they hear in the music for themselves. These concepts have included the following:
* I have explored, in some of the compositions, the idea of not grouping the rhythm in patterns of repetitive 3''s or 4''s. I have sought to remove the feeling of the continual one coming, now here in the present and then going.
* Instead of melody being the jumping off point for the improvisations, in all but two of the compositions, I have attempted to interweave the improvisations within the context of the melody.
* I have attempted to deconstruct the concept of the 8 or 12 bar phrase creating a more open feeling by minimizing or extending the phrase lengths within the compositional process. The improviser is asked to solo both individually and collectively through this process by letting go of repetitive phrase lengths.
* In examining chord structure and harmony, I have used the words of Wallace Roney to focus my study of melodic improvisation, "as being polyharmonic, not simply chromatic, but attempting to hear and play in three or four different keys simultaneously."
* The rhythm section has been asked to approach this music in two ways. One, as a more open, minimalistic approach using space and in other compositions, to create a more dense sound foundation utilizing a layering of polyrhythms.

In 1959 Ornette Coleman stated the following: "Modern Jazz, once so daring and revolutionary, has become rather settled and conventional." Throughout its history the masters of each generation took their study of the past to constantly reshape the music in the present, ever looking forward to the future. I am indebted to Louis, Prez, Bird, Dizzy, Monk, Miles, Ornette and Trane to name a few who have set the bar so incredibly high. This CD is my attempt to use the past to create music in the present that challenges our beliefs and understandings of what we think or are told Jazz "should be." I would ask that you approach this music with no preconceived ideas or expectations, instead I ask you to listen with an open mind.

My hope is that after listening to this music you will not only hear the influences of the past, but hear a modern approach that looks to the future of the music. A future that is represented in the present state of Jazz in New York City at the beginning of the 21st Century.


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