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Eric Harland is the complete musician. He has immense technique and groove, coupled with speed and lightness. This, combined with a selfless and open musical spirit, goes a long way in explaining why everybody loves to play with him.

In a nod to the monthly nature of the The Seasons project, I thought it would be fun to write a contrafact of a well-known standard containing the word “April” in its title. In this case, if you listen closely, you will hear elements of “I’ll Remember April” hidden within the composition. One of the challenges in writing a drum/sax duo is how to create a sense of form, harmony and movement. I chose to split my role as saxophonist into bass and melody. The result is a separation of the lines, with the bottom outlining the root movement and harmony, and the top providing melody.

As cameras were being placed, Eric and I started improvising a free piece to warm up - I knew right away we were going to have a great time. The duo version that we eventually settled on was take ten out of fourteen! Why did we record so many versions? It was simply because we were enjoying playing and seeing how deeply we could get inside of the piece. Each version was different in vibe, dynamic and tempo – we liked most of them but this was our favorite.

While working on this duet with Eric, I realized that a big part of his musical philosophy embraces exploration and acceptance in the moment, regardless of what comes out musically. With this in mind, I hope you enjoy and experience these elements in the April installment of The Seasons.

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