Jeff Coffin – Sometimes Springtime (2016)
“That is a very special and intmate CD…awesome Jeff! I got lost in it. You must understand this is special.”
– Boyd ‘BT’ Tinsley (Dave Matthews Band)
“What a piece of joy, like a delicious fruit, you’ve produced!!!”
– Carlos Malta / Brazilian woodwinds master (Hermeto Pasqual, Pife Muderno)
JEFF COFFIN – wurlitzer electric piano, sopranino, soprano, tenor sax, Bb clarinet, bass clarinet, flute, alto flute, bass flute, D whistle, kalimba, gong
CHRIS WALTERS – wurlitzer electric piano (tracks 7 & 9)
FRED BERMAN – drums (track 11)
“Sometimes Springtime is a beautiful, unusual, and occasionally, haunting musical soliloquy by one of the leading saxophonists in music today.”
01) FALLING (1:07)
02) FIRST STEPS (1:45)
03) OPEN WINDOWS (1:51)
04) LOVE CRY (2:55)
05) SLOW WHIRLING (2:27)
06) ROUND & AROUND (1:43)
07) GATHERING (3:03)
08) THE CELEBRATION (3:58)
09) TENDERNESS & TEARS (2:48)
10) REFLECTIONS (2:53)
11) FORWARD MARCH (2:47)
12) SOMETIMES SPRINGTIME (1:43)
TOTAL TIME: 29:39
about the music:
I am interested and intrigued in seeing what I can come up with by myself in my studio and this is another exploration of that idea. On this recording, I play everything with the exception of Chris Walters playing Wurlitzer on “Gathering” and “Tenderness & Tears” (tracks 7 & 9), and Fred Burman playing drums on “Forward March” (track 11).
On Sometimes Springtime, I’m exploring and examining the beauty of simplicity as well as the beauty of tension and release. The tunes are mainly through-composed and are basically short, non-symphonic tone poems. Some are as short as one minute and others up to about four minutes. There are 12 tunes and they are sequenced in the order I wrote them.
On this recording there are basically no solos occurring. There are some fills here and there, but this is not an improvisational project per se. However, the tunes were written from improvisations I started on the Wurlitzer electric piano and built from there. I have tried to retain the spirit and ‘off-balance’ nature of the improvisation within the tunes and I hope you’ll hear that here.
the writing process:
I have never really written this way before and the tunes are unusual for me as a composer. This music sort of ‘fell out’ of me late at night in my studio. I would find interesting repeating figures or unusual chord changes and melodies and would explore the possibilities without getting too caught up in form or tradition. I tried to let the melody and harmony tell me what they wanted and I did my best to get out of my own way during the writing process.
Have you ever heard one of those old wind up music boxes? My sister had one when we were kids and it had a ballerina on top. Her’s was missing part of an arm, and the music would sound a little ‘off’ because the springs had weakened over time. It almost had a wobble effect to the sound. Some of these tunes are written with that sound and feeling in mind.
This particular Wurlitzer keyboard was gifted to me by my first band director in Dexter, Maine. Many years ago he sent it to me from Maine to Nashville in a big, heavy wooden box to protect it. That box was HEAVY! This particular Wurly is from the early 1970’s and was in the band room when I first started playing saxophone in 5th grade. It has a long history and there have been many, many tunes written, and recorded, on this beautiful instrument. My heartfelt gratitude goes out to my late band director Arthur Lagassee for this and so many other gifts.
On a couple tunes, you can hear that the tines (the pieces inside that are struck and make the sound) were going out of tune. That reminded me of the fragility of music, that tuning is a relative term, and how we are so used to everything being in tune when we record that sometime we miss the beauty of sounds that don’t adhere to even-tempered tuning. Using sound is like using color to me and we need to use different shades from time to time.
I recorded everything in my home studio, ITA Studios, in Nashville, Tennessee. I ended up using a variety of great mics including an AEA44, a Lawson 47, a KSM32, and an AKG414. I used an Apollo interface and Pro Tools as my recording platform.
For the mix, I decided to use a new friend who recently moved to Nashville, Greg Magers. I heard a duo project of Jennifer Hartswick and Christian McBride that he had mixed and asked him to mix this. I’m thrilled with the result. Jim DeMain mastered it and brought a three-dimensionality to the sound. These guys both have incredible ears.
The entire recording is only about 30 minutes long but it’s a full statement. Because the digital format allows it, artists sometimes feel they have to provide large amounts of content. In this case, I think less is more.
Ultimately, this music is about love and how it finds your heart.
about the musicians:
My friend, and extraordinary keyboard player, Chris Walters, plays on “Gathering” and “Tenderness & Tears” (tracks 7 & 9) and he really captures what I couldn’t. Chris serves the music in a sincere and deeply emotional way and I love working with him! Chris also plays and records with the Mu’tet and has a few solos cd’s out that deserve more than a listen.
The other guest on this project appears on track 11, “Forward March”. Fred Berman – aka Freddie B is a great friend, and one of Philadelphia’s legendary drummers. You might be familiar with his playing with the great singer/songwriter Amos Lee. Fred is a beautiful player with such a deep spirit to his musicality.
Engineered by Jeff Coffin / ITA Studios / Nashville, TN
Mixed by Greg Magers / The Attic / Nashville, TN
Mastered by Jim DeMain, Assisted by Amy Marie / Yes Master Studios / Nashville TN
Compositions by Jeff Coffin / Otani Music / BMI
Design by Robert Hakalski / Visual Machinery
This recording is dedicated, with love, to my dad.
Alex Mathews • Alex@jeffcoffin.com • 314.488.8326