Twilight Stories Album Credits
- Produced by Cecil Brooks for Ciladren Productions
- Recorded at Studio 44, Monster Holland
- Engineered by Max Bolleman
- Cover Photo by Alfred Silvera
- Additional Photographs by Doug Clapp, Anna Fronckiewicz, Phyllis Lane
- Design by Paige Simon
- Record # 32079
- Darrell Grant, piano
- Don Braden, tenor saxophone
- Joris Teepe, bass
- Cecil Brooks III, drums
That cat can play. Those four words – whether they be spoken by a few die-hard patrons at the last set in any jazz club in the world, or uttered by a seasoned veteran musician reminiscing about a contemporary or describing a young lion – are what every artist in jazz longs to hear when people talk about their talents. Radio broadcasters, music journalists, and even liner note writers can talk or write about a musician’s particular gifts: harmonic imagination, ability to swing, melodic invention and compositional originality. But when it comes right down to it, those four words are all that matter.
Those same four words, coincidentally, sum up the ever-expanding genius of pianist/composer Darrell Grant. Born in 1962 in Pittsburgh, PA – the same city which gave us Earl “Fatha” Hines, Mary Lou Williams, Errol Garner and Ahmad Jamal – Grant got his BA from the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, and his MA from the University of Miami. Moving to New York in the mid-1980’s, Darrell compiled an impressive list of employers including Woody Shaw, Betty Carter, Terence Blanchard, Roy Haynes and Tony Williams. His first recordings as a leader, Black Art and The New Bop were critically acclaimed in the press and well-received on jazz radio.
Which brings us to this CD Twilight Stories, “It’s the first record I’ve done under my own name with other people’s compositions on it,” says Grant. “It was really more of a collective endeavor than I’ve done before and that’s what i think makes it interesting. It’s got a little different spirit and it’s collaborative.” Grant and company offer up a tasty menu of musical styles: from the neo-bop straightahead swing of “Afrique-ville,” Arise” and “My Old Flame;” to the wistful ballads “Yvette,” “I Thought About You;” to the Afro-Latin and reggae grooves on “When You Dance That Way,” Wake Up Call (At Sista Maya’s House);” to the boogaloo-blues-gospel tinges on “The Resumption,” Percy Mayfield’s “Please Send Me Someone to Love” and, of course, the title track.
As with most artists, Grant’s muse is in a constant state of evolution. “The last couple of records I have done have had people talking about the arranging and the writing. This record was more about piano playing because it was more varied stylistically. For me it was challenging to try and come up with a synthesis of playing this broad range of material so that it was coherent and made sense. I’m pleased at how it came out.”
And so are we.
—EUGENE HOLLEY JR.
Sounds Of Your Dream
Sitting beneath the evening sky
With a gentle breeze blowing by
Ten thousand ears are listening
To the dynamic, glowing sounds:
Sounds of your music
Rising in beautiful rolling swells
Like waves cascading across the grounds
Then softly, like a baby's breath,
A melody puts our cares to rest.
And with the coming of the evening's hues.
We savor the sounds of your dream come true.
—Willie T. Grant
Deep in the safety of caves, or in the clear-cold air of the open grasslands, we would sit in the glow of the flickering light and be warmed by the voices of our wise ones. They were called griots and poets, shamans and minstrels. They would speak, chant. Sometimes with drum, sometimes with harp, sometimes with only the night noises as their accompaniment. They would tell us the stories of our lives. Stories to entertain, to enchant, to educate or just to while away the time. They would remind us of who we are. They would sing us our history and our dreams, our pasts and our futures. Tales of daring, of love, of courage and foolishness were spun out in these evenings under the stars. And we carry this memory deep within us. From campfires to fireplaces, from candle light to incandescent, the stories and the night have remained linked.
I spend a great many of my nights in jazz clubs. There is a particularly delicious moment, when the lights have dimmed and the musicians have made their way to the bandstand. In that moment just before they begin to play, when horns come to lips, fingers to keyboards, sticks to the ready, there is a magic, an anticipation in the air, that is palpable and dramatic; a silence that breathes as we wait. On the bandstand and in the audience we wait, quietly and eagerly savoring that moment. I think it is because we are beside the fire again, gathered together waiting for the griot to speak, for the stories of our lives to be told. We musicians are modern storytellers. We are the minstrels who weave spells that suspend time. Our instruments carry our voices. Our compositions and improvisations are histories, tall tales, metaphors, myths, parables, and allegories. They tell where we have been, and where we hope to go. Holding both experience and dreams.
This record is a collection of some stories from evenings like those. Stories from the journey of the four musicians whose voices are heard here. I am pleased to say that it is a collaboration in the real sense; music that was shaped by shared experience. Long hours on the road spent trading talk and time. Nights spent playing, interacting with the audience, crystalizing our ideas. Writing tunes and arrangements, hearing them and starting over again. It was a rare and satisfying journey.
And now that we have spun our tales, it is your turn. Our hope is that through this mysterious mix of harmonies and melodies, of rhythm and soul, we can take you where we have been, to show you what we have seen. But all music is communication, and the reflection of our journey is only the start of yours. So from the hearts of the players to the hearts of those who are willing to listen, I hope you will catch the magic. Welcome to Twilight Stories. The fire awaits. . .