Either on the home or music page, you can click on If These Walls Could Speak, the first song I've sent out to my music people.
I first heard If These Walls from Barbara Gerry and Mark Chetkovich when I was singing with their band Playtime in Santa Cruz. One of the many wonderful songs Barb found to do! I fell deeply in love with it.
It’s by Jimmy Webb, and the version we loved and modeled after was Shawn Colvin’s.
To me it’s about forgiveness, I call it late-breaking forgiveness. It’s about family, and children, and zest for life, and love and loss. I hope you enjoy it!
This was a country tune, I have Jimmy Webb’s version: you can say ours is jazz mainly in the harmonics/ arrangement by exquisite jazz pianist Liz Kinnon—and in the complexity & sophistication of how these guys play this—its orchestration.
You could also say Roberto plays a jazz solo but that’s exactly where genre breaks down, which is one thing I’m trying to do—genre busting. Roberto’s solo is killer and/but in that respect it’s also like good ‘ol rock—and it is!
The way we worked was—I had an idea of a particular Brazilian rhythm I thought would fit a given song, from among the many Kirk Brundage had/has taught me (or tried!) over my years of loving and studying Bahian Brazilian rhythms—Afro-Brazilian / Samba Reggae music from Bahia—with his guidance.
Then Kirk and I got together with Liz to work on it, and soon after, Hussain Jiffry, the stellar bassist. And Liz & I would work on the arrangements. And in our 3rd or 4th group sessions, super drummer Enzo Todesco as well as virtuoso guitarist Roberto Montero joined us & we all worked on the song. Also on my first four tunes for this upcoming recording, I did a session separately with Kirk and Enzo to work out the feels.
Another thing I wanted to do was find where music from different cultures, geographies, times, is the same.
The rhythm I started with for If These Walls was Brazilian merengue (not at all the same as the Carribean/Mexican) but it evolved, changed with the song—but the metre of the song changes so it’s very composed- and jazz-like. And then that rhythm in the 1st part changes to rock, except that Roberto also plays reggae guitar in the second part, which makes it more a rock-reggae blend, and a blend it is.
So we adapted the rhythms, merengue into rock—and it’s faster than either Jimmy Webb’s or Shawn Colvin’s version.
Who are these guys?
Liz Kinnon, besides arranging (and directing everything musical!) plays both piano and keyboards/synth. Liz used to work, among all her other gigs, as the last person to check the charts for the Academy Awards—now she teaches at Colburn and privately, and I hope to work with her again more soon! Her husband Dick plays horns with shows at The Pantages (and on a couple of my songs) and they have two brilliant and lovely sons in college. She’s an LA girl, but would be right at home in Santa Cruz. She’s also a wonderful composer: check out her CD Ms. Behavin’—it's all-around gorgeous, great, satisfying music. I wrote more about Liz below, in May 7, 2011 and especially in a Thanksgiving blog! Nov. 24, 2012.
Kirk Brundage is a classically trained, now world music percussionist currently playing with Olodum again in Carnaval in Bahia (only white guy ever to do). His two new percussion CDs are amazing, I swear—and if you’re a musician, get his books on Afro-Brazilian Percussion (which I edited for him:). He’s from upstate New York, we met right after we both moved here (see below Blog of July 20, 2011) and had the same idea at the same time to do this project.
Hussain Jiffry is from Sri Lanka, as is his lovely wife Marita, and I once met his lovely daughter when she came to Liz’s for a rehearsal—a treat to have her there! And Hussain—like for these other players—just listen! Hussain is also a wonderful recording producer and engineer, besides regularly going out with Sergio Mendez, Herb Alpert & all.
Enzo Todesco is Swiss, another 1st-call player & drummer. He goes out with artists from all over the world.
Roberto Montero is Brasileiro, from the south, and again, just listen. From a musical family, he was born to play. He has also played with Sergio Mendez and a long list of worldwide and LA artists. I wrote about Roberto in a blog below, Jan. 25, 2013.
So that is my (international!) band for this song, and the ones to come soon! I'm so honored, grateful, and thrilled to have completed this amazing project!
There's more on the general concept for the recording on my "Story" page, under the "About" heading.
Other blog entries about this music, below: January 25, 2013; November 24, 2012; August 13, 2012; July 20, 2012; and May 7, 2011.
If These Walls Could Speak is dedicated to everyone who has ever gone through a divorce with children.