My goal for this project has been to create some music that would resonate with everybody, casual jazz listener who likes dancing to the music, as well as the informed jazz aficionado who takes pleasure listening intently to the music . . . To that end, I sincerely hope I have succeeded. Enjoy! – John R. Lamkin
Rooted in the post hard-bop as well as the jazz-rock, Latin-jazz and neo-jazz traditions, THIS MUSIC is an aural reflection of my jazz influences from the time I started listening to the music in the 1950s to the present. “All The Steps You Take (While Walking Through Your Brain),” whose title suggests that many of my compositions were conceived during my early morning walks, is an eight-bar New Orleans-tinged second-line groove, complete with a shout chorus influenced by the shout choruses of the swing era big bands. With an introduction inspired by the Miles Davis arrangement of “Some Day My Prince Will Come,” “Somumin3 (You Dig!),” is my only composition that’s in 3-quarter time. “Da Market,” a 24-bar funk blues, dedicated to the Lexington Market clientele, was written to please listeners, dancers and musicians alike. Taken from my Sacred Jazz Quintet repertoire, “Down by the Riverside” is an up-tempo hard-bop influenced swinger that swings from the beginning to the end. On “God Bless the Child,” after a “Round Midnight” inspired introduction, I created a neo-soul jazz ballad feel for my wife’s soulful voice. The title track “Transitions,” was inspired by the compositions of Horace Silver, particularly the things he wrote late in his career. I became quite intrigued with his approach to harmony and how some of his compositions would start in one key and end in another. “Transitions” starts in Eb, transitions through F and ends in Ab. My brother’s composition “V.M.W.,” written for his wife, has a binary form that bounces between a Latin groove and swing, and is based harmonically on the Lydian mode. From my previous recording “Hot,” I included “722,” which is an up-tempo Latin composition that features my son on drums, who was 14-years-old when “Hot” was released. The last two tunes really expose the breadth of my jazz influences. Based on the form of the famous “I Got Rhythm,” “Get On Up and Get On Down,” is a nod to James Brown and has a danceable jazz-funk feel. On the other hand, the final tune, “Swinging at the Castle,” which is dedicated to Caton Castle, is a shuffle blues that harkens back to how the blues was played by the 1960s and 1970s jazz combos.