After the release in '90 of "PUBLIC ACCESS"(GRP), it seemed like there just wasn't enough live work for the quartet, Eyewitness. So, I decided to try working in a trio format with acoustic bass and drums. After some months of work, I went in one afternoon and recorded a quick 8-10 tune 'demo' in about three hours with bassist Jay Anderson and drummer Joel Rosenblatt, probably my favorite rhythm section. When Polydor K.K.(Japan) heard tapes of the trio, they wanted to record the music, but, they insisted that I use more well-known players. These are often times things one cannot argue about! So, I decided to call upon two old and dear friends, Ron Carter & Al Foster. "LET'S CALL THIS" was recorded in '91, and the tunes are essentially all drawn from music I used to listen to and study while attending U.C.L.A. during the mid-'60s. If you were to go back and investigate the original versions of these tunes by Monk, Wayne Shorter, Lee Morgan, Larry Young, and Freddie Hubbard, you'd quickly hear just what I was into then. This CD begins a period of paying tribute to those years, those recordings, and those composers. "LET'S CALL THIS" was released in the USA on Bluemoon Records, and it is an especially beautiful recording by engineer Malcolm Pollack. It features the incredible sound of Al Foster's Paiste sizzle flat-ride cymbal. Truly a key element for me, as it makes the music float and creates a sonic environment that is wonderful for a guitar trio. Believe it or not, THAT cymbal gives the music an orchestral feeling, and it's one of my favorite things about working with Al. The CD was recorded as the Gulf War with Iraq commenced, and it was a pretty solemn time. When such things happen, they are impossible to ignore and, as global citizens, it's hard not to envision that such a chain of events could actually lead to World War III. Looking back, I sometimes feel that the grave nature of those days led to tempos which were considerably slower than where we had rehearsed the tunes, or where they had been when performed live. It only shows that, at times, it's impossible to block-out what's going on around you.
Photo: Steve, Al Foster, and Ron Carter - by David Tan