With Eyewitness in disarray, I was honored to be asked to join Joe Zawinul's Weather Update in 1986. At the time, I was hoping that we would remain a group for years to come, but, this was not to be either. Still and all, it was a tremendous experience, some musical moments I will treasure always, and Joe and I remain good friends to this day. I learned so much from him! Upon my return from the 7 weeks of touring, I was offered a chance to possibly record an 'all-digital' CD for a new record division of Denon, for which Christine Martin was assembling various projects. I had an idea and went right to the brilliant keyboardist, arranger, composer, Rob Mounsey to see if he was interested. He was, and "LOCAL COLOR" was born. When I look back over my recording career I can see this distinct little pattern.....three recordings for Columbia followed by an all acoustic guitar recording....then three Eyewitness recordings followed by "LOCAL COLOR"...again, an all acoustic recording! I guess this is my way of 'cleaning house'....recharging the batteries, etc.? "LOCAL COLOR" remains a very unique project....and for me the highlights will always include: "Tafiya"; "I See a Long Journey"; "The Blue Rose," and "The Hunt." Because of all the improvising done in the composing process and the performing of the music, it felt like the 'spirit' of jazz was all over this recording(though it obviously does not 'feel' like a recording with Ron Carter and Elvin Jones), but somehow the CD was nominated for a Grammy in the "New Age" category! A great honor, but, very unexpected. Rob is not only one of the greatest musicians I know of but is also one of the most thoughtful and intelligent people as well. Somehow, when we start to make music together, it always falls into a 'World Music' area, which makes it hard for business types to fit the finished recording into one convenient category. This is not generally a ticket for great success!
Photos: David Tan