Goin’ Home: A Retrospective
Gay Pearson composer, piano
John Lockwood bass
Phil McGowan drums
Tracy McMullen tenor sax
Lea Pearson flute
Shannon Allen cello
GOIN’ HOME… A RETROSPECTIVE is pianist and composer Gay Pearson’s second release on Big Round Records. The album is a live recording of her most recent annual chamber-jazz concert, featuring an eclectic ensemble with Gay Pearson on piano, John Lockwood on bass, Phil McGowan on drums, Tracy McMullen on saxophone, Lea Pearson on flute, and Shannon Allen on cello. This varied ensemble performs a wide variety of music with different instrumental combinations, from Astor Piazzolla to classic tunes of Chick Corea, Harold Arlen and Jerome Kern, to more contemporary original compositions by Pearson herself.
Quoting Pearson, “My compositions do not always begin with a simple idea of a single chord, but it is important to note that I always hear harmony first, out of which melodies may or may not evolve. My favorite and easiest approach is to change one note of a chord at a time and see where that takes me, or to start with a harmonic sequence, then decide how long it should be, at what intervals it will repeat.” This can be seen primarily in the sequence she utilized in her piece Chromatic Exploitations.
In her piece Pent-Up Love, Pearson fuses pentatonic riffs with inspiration from saxophonist Tracy McMullen’s My Truculent Paradise and suggestions of John Coltrane’s A Love Supreme, creating an entirely new and energetic contemporary jazz tune filled with technical improvisational skills and quartal harmonies.
Sea Journey and So Far Away, written by Chick Corea and Carole King, respectively, are co-titles of Pearson’s 2004 studio release. Inspired at the time by her move back from her home in Trenton NJ to Falmouth ME, Pearson was inspired to revisit and rework these pieces as well as in advance of her next move, “Goin’ Home” again, ultimately back to Newburyport MA. These newest versions are refined live performances, including a compelling bass/piano duo within Pearson’s arrangement of So Far Away.
Also revisited was her milestone and probably unique arrangement of Romberg’s Softly As In A Morning Sunrise which included 6 reharmonizations for 6 duets, each for different combinations of flute, cello, viola and bass from her 1998 release Alone Independent and Unresolved.
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Track Listing & Credits
|01||C-Saw||Gay Pearson||Gay Pearson, piano; John Lockwood, bass; Phil McGowan, drums; Lea Pearson, flute; Shannon Allen, cello||1:23|
|02||Michelangelo 70||Astor Piazzolla, arr. W. Thomas-Mifune for cello and piano||Gay Pearson, piano; John Lockwood, bass; Lea Pearson, flute; Shannon Allen, cello||3:54|
|03||Softly As in a Morning Sunrise||Sigmund Romberg, arr. & reharmonized, Gay Pearson||Gay Pearson, synth; Tracy McMullen, tenor saxophone; John Lockwood, bass; Phil McGowan, drums; Lea Pearson, flute; Shannon Allen, cello||4:05|
|04||Sea Journey||Chick Corea||Gay Pearson, piano; Tracy McMullen, tenor saxophone; John Lockwood, bass; Phil McGowan, drums||9:59|
|05||So Far Away||Carole King, piano & bass arr. Gay Pearson||Gay Pearson, piano; John Lockwood, bass; Phil McGowan, drums; Lea Pearson, flute; Shannon Allen, cello||9:05|
|06||Chromatic Exploitations||Gay Pearson||Gay Pearson, piano; John Lockwood, bass; Lea Pearson, flute; Shannon Allen, cello||6:01|
|07||Piece of Cake||Michel Camilo||Gay Pearson, piano; Tracy McMullen, tenor saxophone; John Lockwood, bass; Phil McGowan, drums||11:25|
|08||Peacocks||Jimmy Rowles||Gay Pearson, piano; Tracy McMullen, tenor saxophone; John Lockwood, bass; Phil McGowan, drums||7:45|
|09||The Song Is You||Harold Arlen||Gay Pearson, piano; Tracy McMullen, tenor saxophone; John Lockwood, bass; Phil McGowan, drums||7:28|
|10||Goin' Home||Russell Ferrante||Gay Pearson, synth; Tracy McMullen, tenor saxophone; John Lockwood, bass; Phil McGowan, drums||6:05|
|11||Positive Vorticity Advection||Gay Pearson||Gay Pearson, piano; John Lockwood, bass; Phil McGowan, drums; Lea Pearson, flute; Shannon Allen, cello||3:06|
|12||Pent-Up Love||Gay Pearson||Gay Pearson, piano; Tracy McMullen, tenor saxophone; John Lockwood, bass; Phil McGowan, drums||7:26|
|13||Arise||Lynne arriale, arr. Anthony McDonald||Gay Pearson, piano; John Lockwood, bass; Phil McGowan, drums; Lea Pearson, flute; Shannon Allen, cello||5:34|
|14||Stick Slap||Alan Pasqua||Gay Pearson, piano; Tracy McMullen, tenor saxophone; John Lockwood, bass; Phil McGowan, drums||5:04|
|15||This Will Be My Shining Hour||Harold Arien||Gay Pearson, piano; Tracy McMullen, tenor saxophone; John Lockwood, bass; Phil McGowan, drums||7:30|
All tracks recorded live October 18, 2015 at Unitarian Church Parish Hall in Newburyport MA
Session Producer Gay Pearson
Session Engineer Timothy Phillips
Cover Photography Joanne Arnold
Executive Producer Bob Lord
Executive A&R Sam Renshaw
A&R Brandon MacNeil
Audio Director Jeff LeRoy
Mastering Shaun Michaud, Nate Hunter
Art & Production Director Brett Picknell
Graphic Design Ryan Harrison, Brittney Tambeau
Marketing Morgan MacLeod
Gay Pearson received a B.M. in applied piano from Lawrence University in '65 and a B.S. in Meteorology from Purdue University in '83. During her twelve years of employment in air quality evaluation with New Jersey Dept. of Environmental Protection in Trenton, she also studied jazz harmony, theory and improvisation. Since relocating to Maine, she is finishing her eighth year of studying advanced improvisation and composition with Vardan Ovsepian, first in her home town of Newburyport MA, then via skype.
John Lockwood, who teaches at Berklee, says, “I basically learned on the bandstand. I got called for these gigs that I shouldn’t have taken, I suppose, looking back. People just proceeded to shout and scream at me, and that’s how I learned. Piecing things together. So when I teach it’s the same thing. A student walks in, I teach them the tune, and—bang—we’re off. It’s pretty much playing all the time. Once we get into it there’s sheets and things like that, but it’s mainly playing and then talking about concepts. To me, it’s the best kind of learning. You learn fast.” His career highlights include a B.M. from the Berklee College of Music and performances with Gary Burton, Dance Umbrella, Donal Fox, the Fringe, Eddie Harris, Johnny Hartman, Joe Henderson, Freddie Hubbard, Dave Liebman, Joe Maneri, Tate Montolia, Makoto Ozone, Joe Pass, Danilo Perez, Pharoah Sanders, Carol Sloane, Clark Terry, Kenny Werner, James Williams, and others.
Currently, drummer Phil McGowan can be found throughout greater Boston playing with some of the top jazz musicians in the area, who have included Bruce Gertz, Marshall Wood, Billy Pierce, Greg Hopkins, Russ Hoffmann and Ted Casher, among others. A New England native, McGowan was born in Newburyport MA in 1985. At an early age, McGowan joined with his brother and a local pianist to form a jazz trio, and began his career as a freelance musician. At this time he also began his studies with Les Harris, Jr., who has roots in Newburyport as well. With Harris as a mentor, McGowan was able to hone his skills by sitting in with various legendary musicians at the Press Room in Portsmouth, NH through his middle and high school years. Later on, McGowan was hired as a sideman by some of these musicians, including Herb Pomeroy, Dick Johnson, Ted Casher and Volker Nahrmann. McGowan holds a Music Performance degree in Percussion, with Jazz Studies concentration, from the University of Southern Maine, where he continued his studies with Les Harris while gaining familiarity with different types and traditions of music from around the world. Through his years at music school McGowan continued to freelance, finding himself in concert halls, clubs, music festivals and cruise ships, which ventured into Europe, Africa and Asia. Currently he can be heard weekly at the Andiamo restaurant in Newburyport MA.
Tracy McMullen is an assistant professor of music at Bowdoin College. She has performed with Pauline Oliveros, Anthony Davis, Dana Reason and many others and can be heard on the Cadence jazz label.
A teacher and performer for more than 35 years, Lea Pearson studied music, education, psychology and anatomy and holds a BA degree from Hampshire College, an MA from Stanford University and a Doctorate in flute from The Ohio State University. She is a Fulbright scholar and the author of one book, more than 15 articles, and numerous resources on body use. A Certified Health Coach, she is educated in the Alexander Technique and licensed by Andover Educators, the leaders in injury prevention for musicians. Pearson has performed and presented residencies, workshops, classes and private coaching at more than 40 universities and music schools, military bases, festivals, conferences and conventions across the USA and Europe. She is a founding member of Dr. Tony’s Original Ragtime Band and former Artistic Director of the UUNIVERSE! Chamber Music Series.
USM student and cellist Shannon Allen is currently pursing a degree in music performance at USM’s School of Music (class of 2015). Born and raised in Portland Maine, Shannon began his cello studies with Katherine Graffam. He subsequently studied with Paul Ross of the Portland String Quartet, and currently studies with William Rounds at USM. He has been an active freelance musician throughout New England for well over a decade, and he enjoys performing in many different genres. Allen serves on the faculty of the Portland Conservatory of Music.