Liner notes for Solos, Robin Holcomb/Wayne Horvitz
|4||The Pleasures of Motion||2:27
|6||Before the Comet Comes||13:14
|7||Stars Fell on Alabama||2:50
|9||The Road to Zamora||1:56
|14||Crispin and Lisaís Duet||3:59
I donít take much stock in psychic interaction but I was mildly stunned when Tony Reif
from Songlines called one day. "Wayne, why donít we do a record where you and
Robin both play solo piano?" The thing is, I had just had the exact same thought
days before. I just wasnít sure if it was a great idea or a really corny one.
A certain logic - married almost 25 years, both pianists, and irrevocably influenced by each
otherís music. Then again, like I said - corny? Well, Tonyís phone call nailed
it. My grandfather said, "If ten people tell you youíre drunk, sit down."
This wasnít ten - but two, inclusive, was enough for me.
Originally we had planned to play some pieces of each otherís, and in fact we did record
some. Neither Robin nor I like long CDs (with some obvious exceptions), so some
pretty nice takes did hit the cutting room floor. Time on CDs seems like money in
the bank - whatever you have you use. With great discipline we have tried to avoid
that, although this CD still comes in 15 minutes longer than my 100 most favorite records.
The first track, by Robin, is Reno and in fact I did do a couple of takes myself
of this. It is a real gem, and sentimental as well. When Robin and I first lived
together in Santa Cruz she was on a mission to write a tune a day which she actually kept
up for a while. This one comes from that period. Next is my composition Tired,
which Iíve also recorded with my quartet on "Forever".
The next tune is a classic Wayne Shorter composition, Armageddon. This
tune has my favorite chord progression of all time, using the major chord based on the
flat 6th of the key in a minor blues (works great on a major tonic as well). I
loved this chord when Albert Collins used it, I loved it when Kurt Cobain used it in
about half his tunes, and Iíve overused it in my own music for almost 30 years.
There is a beautiful moment in bars 10 and 11 where Shorter II Vís down to Eb7 from Bb
minor and then up to the Gb that is just one of those reasons to keep on living, where
you stop and go, "there - thatís it." Anyway, I tried to save the best for
last in this take. The Pleasure in Motion is one of Robinís two free
improvisations on the CD. By contrast the next two pieces are both through composed
without any improvisation. First, Joannaís Solo, which I wrote in a castle
in Italy and used in a score for the Crispin Spaeth Dance Company. Next is Robinís
Before the Comet Comes. This is a beautiful suite of music, written for a
theater piece of the same name, and really the centerpiece of the CD. About 13
minutes long, it goes right to the heart of what makes Robinís music so unique and
If we had a side B this is where it would start. Iíve been fooling around with
Stars Fell on Alabama for a few years now, although not exactly on a daily basis.
We got this late at night - it sure doesnít sound anything like Teddy Wilson, but it exists
because of how much Iíve always loved his playing. Interpretation #1 is one of two
improvised pieces of mine. The Road to Zamora, Robinís tune, also comes from
that time in Santa Cruz. Zamora is on the map of the beautiful rice country south of
Sacramento, but doesnít currently exist. Buttermilk Hill is a traditional American
ballad ("Johnnyís Gone for a Soldier"). I ripped off the basic arrangement
of the theme and harmony from Robin, who sings this from time to time. Up Do is a
tune Robin used to do with a trio and a quintet in NY, sort of a fractured swing tune.
Interpretation #2 is also improvised. It is really my favorite of my
contributions to this CD, and I find it interesting because I donít think Robin would ever
improvise a piece like this, and yet in my playing here so much of it reminds me of
something Robin might compose. Done ForĒ is a Robin improvisation. I
close with Crispin and Lisaís Duet, written for the same score as Joannaís Solo.
This tune opens my CD, "From a Window", with the Four Plus One Ensemble,
so it seemed fitting to close with it here.
Hope you enjoy the music.