In 1996 I had been leading my band for a year. I was lucky to have teamed up with vibraphonist Tom Rickard and bassist Tony LaPuma. We'd met at the UMKC Conservatory of Music and were playing around KC for a good while as sidemen when we decided to get something original going.
I organized a recording session at UMKC for an afternoon in April and we ran down about 14 originals and covers. It came out a lot better than I'd expected, everybody played very inspired and I felt it was swinging, musically mature and tasteful.
When it came time to send the CD off to the replicating company, several of the best tunes couldn't be used because I couldn't get the rights to them and the CD ended up not being a as I wanted it to be, but we were bent on putting it out, we'd already booked the CD release dates!. To our dismay, the art design came out bad and the sound levels were too low for some reason. We released the CD on a limited local basis. Still, we had a lot of success with the CD, it got us gigs opening up for Joshua Redman and Charlie Hunter at the Grand Emporium and in 97 were were a headlining act at the KC Jazz and Blues Festival.
I took the DAT to Trading 8s studio, run by Chris Sulit and I was amazed at how great the album held up; the playing, the sound we got on tape, the tunes, the whole thing. The sound was really good, I could hear Tom's mallets so clearly on the vibes and the drums had a real organic and deep sound. The playing was very in the pocket; I was reminded of how great Tom really is, he lays a lot of great spaces for the drummer to have a dialogue, he swings, he plays so melodically and also modern when he shifts into that gear. We had a real natural hook-up.
Since I'd never released the CD on an international level, I consider this CD new to the world. Now that I have had success with other CDs, and they can be self-released on iTunes, CD Baby and Amazon, I liked the idea of adding this CD to my available recordings.
I really liked the streamlined sound of a vibes trio, and so that's where I got the new name for the album "Streamliner".
I'd taken a photo of the St. Louis arch at a dramatic angle that looked like a single line going up into the sky and I thought it represented the album well, so I used that for the cover.
When I re-programmed the CD I finally felt like the album was very representative of the band and also just made for a much, much more complete CD. Some of the songs I couldn't get the rights to back in 96 I could now obtain, like "Naima" or "Summertime" or "Mambo Koyama". A few of Tom's originals that were not on the original release like "In July" and "Saving Time" made for great additions and completed the programming of the disc. I even deleted a few covers from the original CD in favor of Tom's original tunes.
It's not often one can re-visit a musical relationship and have it live up to your expectations, but when I got together recently with Tom in St. Louis to release the CD and play some dates, I was laughing out loud at how easy it was to play with Tom again and how we'd both added a couple gears to our musical depth. We played the Cigar Inn and Robbie's House of Jazz and both nights were amazing to me.
The new CD can be purchased here: