It started from my little demo website containing a collection of music that I had written and recorded. One day Gerry Pagano wrote me to say that I needed a bass trombone on the music. I had played all the trombone parts on my alto trombone and since that horn cannot go below a low A, I was limited in the bass range, to say the least. I had used synthesizers, bass bone samples and in some cases, a guitar effects box called Fireworx to lower my sound an octave. But it certainly wasn’t the same as a real bass trombone sound.
I agreed that it needed more, so Gerry flew me to St. Louis to record some of my music with his section from the symphony along with a couple of local St. Louis trombonists. We recorded five tunes in the studio but after listening to them after the session, I didn’t think we did them justice. The arrangements needed something more and the parts needed to be tighter – in a way that would be very difficult to do with a trombone section in a live studio setting.
So I returned to Arizona with a plan to write more music and to record all the trombone parts myself in my studio. And, of course, to bring Gerry in at the right time to record the bass trombone parts. After putting everything together, Gerry spent a week putting his massive sound on these 13 songs. I was impressed with his ability to quickly adapt to the styles of these pieces, as different as it was to his daily playing in the St. Louis Symphony. The first song we did was Yardbird Suite. I thought it was going to take a lot of time giving its speed and style, but Gerry laid it down in pretty much one take. Gerry left and I spent the next 6 months adding his part, rerecording some of my parts, and mixing the final collection of tracks.
I think the final result is a compilation of music unlike what is normally associated with the trombone. Between the improvisation using the alto trombone, the studio effects, the uncharacteristically processed sound of the horn on some of the tracks, and the overall trombone ensemble writing, I hope you agree that Gerry and I have created a unique collection of music.