Mill Creek Road
Twice GRAMMY®-nominated pianist/composer Geoffrey Keezer teams up with San Diego, California's stellar guitarist Peter Sprague in a set of all new, original music. With a core quartet that features Hamilton Price on bass and Duncan Moore on drums, MILL CREEK ROAD explores their unique vision of music - acoustic jazz that is firmly grounded in the groove but which draws inspiration from rock, Americana, country and even India. From the straight-ahead swinger En Babia, which captures the essence of the classic Wes Montgomery quartet, to Sprague's India Zach, a kinetic acoustic world-fusion romp with tabla drums, to Keezer's Etendue, a gorgeous short story that brings to mind the Pat Metheny Group in it's heyday, MILL CREEK ROAD is beautifully complex, fresh and contemporary. This is music that makes you feel good without being 'feel-good' jazz. "Geoffrey possesses a refreshingly open-eared sensibility in the modern manner, and he has more than enough virtuosity and sheer musical wit and intelligence to weave all of his apparently disparate strands of influence into an original and compelling whole." Time Magazine 'Sprague reaches for and grabs elusive chords from outer space as easily as most guitarist grab single-note blues riffs. As any of you who have heard Sprague would easily guess, he is, indeed, up to the task. While the playing here is certainly dazzling, the genius and beauty in his approach is that of always letting the guitar playing serve the music, not the other way around." ? Craig Yerkes ? San Diego Troubadour In Geoffrey's words: Since moving to San Diego in 2006, I've had the fortune to collaborate with several world-class musicians who make their home in this lovely, sun-drenched seaside town. I first heard Peter Sprague performing with Billy Childs' jazz-chamber ensemble, and knew immediately this was someone I wanted to make music with. Peter's combination of beautiful guitar tone, original harmonic language and stellar sightreading skills, along with an easygoing surfer personality, make him a joy to work with. We formed this quartet in 2009, with SoCal guys Hamilton Price and Duncan Moore, as an outlet to play creative, energetic modern music without anyone having to ever get on a plane. Thinking globally, acting locally! In Peter's words: I had known about Geoffrey Keezer and heard some of his beautiful recordings but never had the good fortune of hearing him play live or to meet him in person. It was a special day in San Diego when the word spread that he'd moved here. He showed up one night at a concert where I was playing and right away I felt a kinship with him. Not only does he play up a storm but his way of playing, his way of living, is truly inspired. He carries a strong focus that is always in balance with a great sense of humor. He's an improviser on all fronts and this to me is someone you seek out to collaborate with. We put the band together and right from the start, creative musical moments were happening, new pathways for songs glued together with improvised interludes were emerging, and all of this executed around a similar vision of what music is. Hamilton Price on bass and Duncan Moore on drums complete this vision with their fantastic abilities and their enthusiasm for exploration. Our next move as a band was to make this recording that you're now holding in your hand. Thanks for tuning in and I hope you enjoy it. The instrumentation is: Geoffrey Keezer - piano Peter Sprague - guitar Hamilton Price - bass Duncan Moore - drums Zach Harmon - tabla drums (3,6) Erica Adams Ochoa -violin (6) Produced by Geoffrey Keezer and Peter Sprague Recorded at SpragueLand Studios, Encinitas, CA September 14 & 15, 2010 Recorded, mixed, and mastered by Peter Sprague at SpragueLand Studios Photography and Graphic Design by Nadja von Massow (nadworks/Siula Grande Design) The Songs 1) Thessaloniki Music by Peter Sprague Satyam Music (BMI) Peter: "Thessaloniki" is a piece I wrote in my hotel room in Thessaloniki, Greece while on a Euro tour with vocalist Dianne Reeves. We'd been in full on travel mode for weeks and it was a real relief to have a day off in this beautiful town right on the Mediterranean Sea and explore some big intervallic moves on the guitar. 2) En Babia Music by Geoffrey Keezer Keezer Music (BMI) Geoffrey: 'En Babia' (Spanish slang for 'spaced out') is a jazz waltz reminiscent of Wes Montgomery, and is loosely based on the form and chord changes of the Eagles' 'Hotel California', a song I hear almost every day. 3) India Zach Music by Peter Sprague Satyam Music (BMI) Peter: Geoffrey had the idea of bringing in Zach Harmon for a few tunes on this recording and I jumped at the chance to write a piece that centered around his tabla drums. "India Zach" shares the imagery of a train ride through India and all the wild things you'd see looking out the window. 4) Mill Creek Road Music by Peter Sprague Satyam Music (BMI) Peter: I played a few gigs in Missoula, Montana and fell in love with the pace that this place operates at. I imagine "Mill Creek Road" at the outskirts of town, safely guiding it's travelers to wholesome C major chords with wide-open space next to a grove of Rocky Mountain juniper trees. 5) Durga's Hammer Music by Geoffrey Keezer Keezer Music (BMI) Geoffrey: 'Durga's Hammer' is dedicated to my wife, who embodies qualities of the feisty Hindu goddess and likes to build things. I imagine Durga coming home from a long day of slaying demons, donning a tool belt and setting to work building cabinets or putting up some drywall. 6) Etendue Music by Geoffrey Keezer Keezer Music (BMI) Geoffrey: 'Etendue', originally a ballet term, is the name of a sculpture by artist Richard MacDonald for which my wife Susan modeled as a young dancer in Sacramento. It's kind of a juxtaposition of pseudo-raga with a Dave Matthews-esque chorus. 7) Moot Point Music by Peter Sprague Satyam Music (BMI) Peter: "Moot Point" was a fun tune to write and I like Geoffrey's comment on it. He said, "It's like a forgotten Art Blakey chart but someone stuck a 5/4 section in there." Cooking! 8) Nightfall on the Serengeti Music by Geoffrey Keezer Keezer Music (BMI) Geoffrey: 'Nightfall on the Serengeti' was originally recorded in 1992 on my album Other Spheres as 'Serengeti Stampede'. Our new version is slower, freer and more cinematic - picture little animals scurrying around for cover while the big cats sharpen their fangs for the night hunt.