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Vintage Astronaut

by John Daniel Ray

This is music that catalogs the last 10 years of my life. I’ve played in cover bands and done pickup jazz gigs for a long time, and I’m sick of playing cover tunes. Especially the same 50 songs that get called on every gig. I started playing at Southside in Winston-Salem with the intention of building something unique, and part of that vision is using the session as a creative outlet for my compositions, and those of my friends. I wanted to write tunes that have interesting and unique improvisatory possibilities, and then learn them and hone them live so we can improvise with them as fluently as the jazz tunes we’ve all been playing for years.

This album marks the end of an era for me, and the beginning of new one. I wrote the oldest of these tunes in 2008, while I was on tour with a beach music band. ‘Perceptions’ was written after I discovered the Brian Blade Fellowship album ‘Perceptual.’ I listened to the record 3 times in a row on the tour bus, and then picked up a bass and sketched out the melody to ‘Perceptions.’

Waffle Time was written shortly after that. While I was eating a belgian waffle with Nutella and ice cream on top, the form just came to me and I pulled out a pad and write it down. I still have the original in my notebook, complete with Nutella stains.

This album was recorded in one night. I booked the band weekly for the whole month, expecting to compile the record from the best takes from all four shows, but the magic happened in one night, in one set. With the exception of Waffle Time (the recording stopped mid-way through that tune and I had to use a take from the other set that night) and a little editing, this album is a continuous recording. The vibe was just right, the crowd was into it, and like the best recordings - the magic was there. There are plenty of mistakes recorded on here, but that’s part of the vibe and trying to fix them would take away from the record in my opinion. This is pure- this is a documentation of what I’ve been trying to say with my music for the last 10 years. I can happily close this chapter now and move on.

-John

// Jonathan Greene, drums

// Daniel Serrif, guitar

// Matt Kosma, tenor sax

// Michael Kinchen, keys

// John Daniel Ray, bass

©2019 Mr. Haircut Records

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