Release Date: 30 March 2015
Format: LP Double Vinyl
|Stephan Abel The Windmills of your Mind Limited Vinyl 2LP Set
Ballads are always the highlight in every show for me, regardless if I am one of the musicians or one of the magnetized people in the audience. In these slow, fragile pieces where every note, every shade and each quiet moment has a meaning, an artist can tell and share a real story. It is in the ballad, where the musician communicates intuitively with his audience.
I always thought of recording an album of ballads, but believed that you need a certain amount of maturity and should not do it under the age of 50. Now the time has come. Never before there was somebody looking forward to his 50th birthday with such an excitement. To cut a long story short: It is a special thing with being mature. During the Easter holidays in April 2014 we met in Buggy Braune and Inga Rumpf’s rehearsal studios in Hamburg situated one floor above a garage, to record some of our favourite songs.
We deliberately decided against the aseptic atmosphere of a professional recording studio knowing that we would only be successful in an intimate, intensive mood rather than having a 100% separation of sound signals behind a glass wall. „We“, that means Buggy Braune, Olaf Casimir, Heinz Lichius and the wonderful Ken Norris, our special guest. Except for my long-time companion Olaf these were all musicians who I knew and appreciated, but rarely had a chance to work with. The key event with this rhythm section was a gig at the Jazzclub Hannover when we were playing an exclusive set of Miles Davis tunes. The sound of this band and their relaxed, but still highly focussed conception kept spinning in my head. I prepared myself in a very special way during the weeks before the recording, concentrating almost solely on my own sound and all its facets as well as the compositions and their interpretation. In this period there was not one technical exercise, quirky bebop phrasing or loud sound escaping my rehearsal room.
I had a clear vision installed in my head how the album should sound like. It only took a few attempts in our „studio“ and we knew: This is it! It seemed like the musicians all pulled together and knew exactly how to play this music without any need to talk about it. And, when the evening set in, we had the first „magic moment“ in which everything seemed to feel totally natural and flowing. This is when „Olhos de Gato“ and „The Peacocks“ were put to tape. For me „jazz“ and „the night“ are just one thing and I would love to publicly dispute the guy who first started a „jazz brunch“. I am so happy and really glad that we could keep up the focus and intimacy over the following two recording days!
I am really happy that this collection has been titled after a song I did not intend to include in the first place and which I did not play instrumentally before. “The Windmills Of Your Mind“ was added to our set spontaneously, because we really wanted to have a „chanson“ in our repertoire. After the first few bars from Buggy and Olaf it was obvious that this was going to be a fascinating take, and another one of those „magic moments.” The album closes with a not too serious ballad. For „The Party Is Over“ I thought of one of those numerous Frank Sinatra copyists who, with a loosely knot tie, a good dose of self-pity and a glass of whiskey in one hand singing about their own aging...!
The album ended up exactly how I wanted it to be. We had four wonderful days in Hamburg, which I will definitely never forget. I want to thank all the musicians and our sound engineer Ingo Schmidt that they all participated in the project with such inspiration and intensity. A very special thanks goes out to Ken Norris with his distinctive, soulful voice refining the album in a very special way.
A1. Chelsea Bridge
A2. Never Let Me Go
A3. It Might As Well Be Spring
B1. Olhos De Gato
B2. Spring Is Here
C1. The Windmills of Your Mind
C2. Soul Eyes
C3. Everything Happens To Me
D1. The Peacocks
D3. The Party Is Over