100% of the proceeds from this record will go to the MusiCares COVID-19 Relief Fund.
Rudy's statement about the album:
It is my sincerest pleasure to donate 100% of the proceeds of this album to charity. I myself have received financial assistance from MusiCares and other organizations alike. In a time when many of my fellow musicians and others in the entertainment business are in financial hardship from loss of work, faced with uncertainty about the future of work, I am honored to offer any help I can.
In mid-March I was still reeling from the recent, massive loss of work, income, opportunities and the uncertainty of my future, when a call came from a friend on who's canceled tour I had been scheduled to play. This friend offered to pay me a quarter of the fee for the tour. The next day a check came from the Louis Armstrong Foundation. A couple days later, Newport Jazz COVID relief money came (I had applied for all I could in the early days of losing all my work.) The relief I felt was like coming up from underwater to take a much needed breath of air. We are all in unfamiliar territory and it was the best comfort is to be reminded I was not alone.
I had recorded PaNOptic a few years ago and was just waiting for the right time to release it. A few days later, with most bills paid and a little breathing room, I was thinking how I could help any fellow musicians who are also in need and perhaps more immediate need than I. I wanted to give others the assurance they were not alone in this pandemic. I remembered PaNOptic and knew this was something I could offer to help. I emailed Dave at Geenleaf Music the idea of using this solo CD as a fundraiser for charity and he felt the same as I did about helping others as much as we can.
At first I thought to try and find a few select musicians who were in financial hardship and donate the money directly to them. Then I realized we are all in hardship right now, so Dave and I thought to cast the widest net possible would be best. I asked around to some friends and MusiCares came up a few times. I chose to go with MusiCares on my friends' advice though still a little skeptical, until a week later when a check from MusiCares arrived in my mailbox. It was confirmation MusiCares is doing what their name says. To know this somewhat larger organization was present with one little jazz drummer in a New Jersey suburb was all I needed to be assured of MusiCares' sincerity. I have been helped all along the way from the generosity and care of others, I just want to repay to others the care and love and concern that has been given to me.
For me, the music on this CD represents freedom from boundaries, hope, beauty, love, joy, light, adventure, inspirations. I hope to offer the same to all who listen. Love you all sincerely,
When I recorded these tracks I was driven by a desire to produce music played only on drums and cymbals, no overdubs, no electronics, no samples. It would be solo drum music that I hoped could feel like completed songs within themselves, full of melody, harmony, groove, emotion, style, color, texture. I wanted solo drum pieces that could be experienced in succession as a whole the same way a non drum solo recording could. What came of the almost three hour session was an impromptu medley of the songs and scenes and poems, inspirations, meditations and tributes that flowed through my conscience at that moment. It is purely how I was feeling on that day, at that time. It was an incredible feeling and so freeing. It was as if I was stepping into a dark room to sit at my drums and there were vacillating melodies echoing quietly in the background. And as I began to play along with any one tune, explore any one texture and color, another tune or moment would call my attention: I went wherever I felt the call.
The name PANOPLY comes from these perpetual moments of music, like light beams, shining through the melodic darkness of my conscience. This CD is a somewhat comprehensive exploration of music, moments, words and pictures that inspire me, each light shining forth through the darkness one ray at a time.
Tracks 1-6 are just inspirations and meditations of moments and music and poems I like. "BlaCk--Bad CoMPAny--BiRd" I love the contour of the melody of the Beatles’ Blackbird, when Bad Company shined through for a moment, I went. "bLUes" is a solo over a twelve bar blues form with a refrain inspired by a live performance of Elvin Jones’s, “Shinjitu”. "ciTy buS StOp" is an illustration of a city bus ride…for a few stops. "defeRRed" is inspired by a Langston Hughes poem entitled, Dream Deferred. "desirE" explores the onset of longing and the propelling passion to fulfill that desire. "foolish" is inspired by the Victor Young, jazz standard My Foolish Heart: the song references the sometimes quiet resignation that you have fallen in love despite your best efforts to resist.
Tracks 7-12 are tribute pieces. These are pieces that evoke some of the indelible sonic references that come to mind when I think of these great musicians. At other times, music landscapes or emotions that these musicians evoke come to mind. As always, I am not attempting to mimic these musicians, I am only taking the invaluable gifts their music and playing has given me and exploring the joy of emotions and adventure that came with them. Elvin Jones is one of the first jazz musicians I ever witness on film—you know the black and white footage of Elvin playing with Coltrane and there are streams of steam rising from the crowns of the bands’ heads. As a teenager, seeing and hearing the strength of Elvin’s drumming and the emotion and spirit with which he played is what sealed my passion to be a jazz musician. "intO ElVin" is a constant piece of me; "BilL". Having the opportunity to play with Bill Frisell has taught me that the journey is just as important as the destination; but upon every destination is only the beginning of another journey. "Jack, fIgHt oR FligHT" is a tribute to the smooth-flying, propulsion I feel in DeJohnette’s music; "maXX", a tribute to the musicality and phrasing I feel in Max’s drumming; "oWhNet", the energy and power and soulfulness of Ornette; "s'TRopHy" brings to my affections everything joyful, skillful and profound about jazz, embodied in Thelonious Monk.
Tracks 13-17 are sacred music. Growing up in the Pentecostal church is the most essential part of who I am as a person and a musician. "coMe" reflects a personal benediction. "I'm Coming Home" was a song we would sing when a "prodigal" member (backslider) came back into fellowship in the church; "MOTHER KELLY and the preacher part 1" is the melody the First Lady (Pastor's Wife) of the Mount Sinai Deliverance Tabernacle Church of God In Christ would sing while she would pray—she would pray words, then sing this melody, then back to words; "mother kelly and THE PREACHER part 2 - sermon" is an illustration of a typical sermon with the pastor ardently preaching a few words and the church would respond in a collective refrain of affirmation—think of the call and response of Moanin; "mr zoot suite--bruh Arnold" is honoring my ex-brother-in-law, who was a great example to me of soulfulness and the power of music growing up. He later became a deacon in the church. Always a spiffy dresser, Arnold’s style and mannerisms—back then a little raw by church standards—always brought a liveliness and soulful groove to the day. Bruh Arnold died during the preparation of this album, in April 2020 from COVID19.
Tracks 18-23…more inspirations and meditations of moments and music and poems I like. "oNe SnaP fIngER" inspired by Herbie Hancock’s phrasing and harmonic adventures; "PaNOptic" a somewhat comprehensive, stream-of-conscience exploration; "pANt 1" and "pANt 2" are meditations on mood, motion, the color black and light; "pop LOVE soNg (prinS-esh)" is inspired by a the melody of Prince’s The Most Beautiful Girl In the World; "We Real Cool" is accompaniment to the Gwendolyn Brooks poem of the same name. The “music” of the poems of Brooks and Hughes were the main influence of me studying poetry in college.
I pray that this music is something that brings you inspiration, enjoyment and comfort. Change is upon us. I love you all.