RENO DE STEFANO &
MICHEL DONATO - CD : MATTERS OF THE SPIRIT (2001)
Audio files available in mp3 format
Mineur (R. De Stefano) 6 :19
2. Don't Bossa Me Around (R. De Stefano) 6 :43
3. Rwanda (R. De Stefano) 4 :55
(R. De Stefano) #9; 4 :10
5. La Vie Change (R. De Stefano) 5 :57
Incognito (R. De Stefano) 4 :18
7. Black Beauty (R. De Stefano) 5 :23
(G. Gerswhin) 4 :05
Hymne à Christian (R. De Stefano)?5 :18
10. Just Friends (J. Klenner) 5 :22
11. Triplets Lullaby (R. De Stefano) 6 :33
Le Néant (R. De Stefano) 4 :41
13. The Days of Wine and Roses (H. Mancini) 4 :29
14. All The Things You Are (J. Kern) 6 :00
This jazz CD is somewhat unusual and original
because it features only two instruments, guitar and double bass.
The jazz duo requires that both musicians assume a greater harmonic
and rhythmic role than they normally would in the usual combo setting.
However, one should not assume that this means that the musicians
are required to play more. On the contrary, this context requires
more subtlety, a more refined control of dynamics and precision
in putting things in the right musical space.
It was my intention to use this specific
instrumentation to feature the guitar as a quasi "solo instrument",
allowing it to be fully explored, noticed and appreciated in this
simple and subtle musical setting. In a sense, Michel Donato and
I are both "naked" before you, stripped from the steady
support of the traditional jazz rhythm section which includes piano
and drums. This has enabled us to interact more freely and to explore
the music and our instruments in a very different manner.
I love jazz music but more importantly I
love to play jazz guitar. I enjoy the physicality needed to create
the music : the touch of my fingers on the string and the ebony
fingerboard, the movement of my arched hand along the neck, my fingers
instinctively falling into various complex positions, the incessant
exploration of new chords and formulaic musical patterns in a solo
improvisation. I enjoy the sensation of having the instrument rest
against my chest and of the resulting vibrations of notes filtered
through the guitar. Performing on the guitar takes me deep within
myself in "the interior life" as some have called it,
a place of silence, a place of sacredness, a place where we get
a glimpse of our true image and of the interconnectedness of all
things. I guess this phenomenon exists in all acts of creation when
they are explored with the deepest integrity, sincerity and reverence.
This recording features ten original compositions
that represent a particular moment or event that I have experienced
in my life between the years 1994 and 2000. They not only serve
as a reminder of events which have transpired, but are also stylistically
diverse vehicles on which jazz improvisation can be fully developed.
I am indebted to all those who have touched my life in many different
ways- parents, family, friends, teachers and students. This music
speaks of our life experiences together.
Hymne Pour Christian (Christian's Song) is dedicated to a very kind, sincere and talented music student that I taught at the Université de Sherbrooke, who passed away suddenly a few years ago at the prime of his youth. This composition helps keep his memory alive every time I play it. Here's one for you Christian!
Le Néant (I Don't Know) Many tragic events and situations in life are so inexplicable and senseless that we cannot grasp their immediate significance. Suffering surrounds us all and it is often difficult to make any sense of it. Mother Theresa says that "suffering is a gift from God". Maybe someday we will clearly understand this profound statement.
Triplet's Lullaby This modal-type composition is one of the most difficult pieces to improvise on because of its fast moving non-functional harmonies. It is dedicated to three great kids, Andréa, Eric and Nicolas, my niece and nephews who are triplets. What joy and good times they have brought us since they were born. Kids, this one is for you!
Blues Incognito is a fast-moving, bebop-type blues head. In the statement of the theme I use some blues motives and some bebop formulaic patterns embellished with neighbor notes. It is the only piece where Michel and I trade fours. This piece, unlike the others, is not associated with any particular moment or event in my life. I just wanted to include an up-tempo 12-bar blues on the recording!
Rwanda is dedicated to the 800,000
innocent people who were cowardly slaughtered in the 1994 genocide
in that same country while the United Nations and other "super
powers" watched with indifference. The image of thousands of
mutilated human corpses floating in rivers and lying motionless
all over the countryside moved me to compose this rather somber,
Fugitive is a hard bop composition
that was inspired by the music of Horace Silver, Clifford Brown-Max
Roach and Art Blakey, true masters of the hard bop idiom. It is
not surprising then, that I originally composed this piece for horns,
needless to say, it ended up being the most challenging theme to
perform in duo. It is dedicated to my friend André White
most generously and kindly offered of his time during post-production
Incident Mineur (Minor Incident) is a minor blues with a lydian-dominant bridge. My life is made up of thousands of minor incidents that can really upset me at times (losing my keys, being stuck in traffic before class, forgetting my favorite pick on my way to a gig) but are absolutely insignificant and inconsequential in the big scheme of things.
La Vie Change (Life Changes) is a modal piece I composed at a particular time in my life when I suddenly realized that things and loved ones were changing. At first I sought to resist these changes but only to realize that it is better to accept them and embrace them peacefully with joy and serenity.
Don't Bossa Me Around is a bossa nova tune that I composed for all you "bossy" people out there. This piece contains several chromatic progressions that give an interesting harmonic twist to the composition.
Black Beauty is dedicated to my wonderful
wife of thirteen years. She loves to dress in black, hence the title.
This piece has a particularly dark, peaceful, melancholic, latin
quality that is achieved through the D phrygian chord in key areas
of the structure. I hope this melody speaks to you!
I have included arrangements of four popular
standards from the jazz repertoire : All The Things You Are
by Jerome Kern, The Days of Wine and Roses by Henry Mancini,
Just Friends by John Klenner and an original solo guitar
arrangement of Summertime by George Gerswhin.
It has been a real privilege and honor for me to record with Michel Donato. I couldn't have chosen a more creative, spontaneous and musical bass player for this challenging duo performance. Thanks Michel for this musical venture; I had a really great time! I would also like to thank Myke Roy for his involvement and to my colleague Richard Provençal for his important participation.
Most importantly I would like dedicate this
first CD recording to my wife and life-long partner, Maria. Her
constant encouragement, patience and unwavering support for the
last 17 years made this creative venture a reality.
Reno De Stefano, August
Pierre Leduc, piano
Dany Roy, saxophone
Normand Lachapelle, bass
Maxime St-Pierre, trumpet
Reno De Stefano, Guitar
Richard Provençal, drums
Audio files available in mp3 format
mineur (R. De Stefano)
2. Triplet's Lullaby (R. De Stefano)
3. Black Beauty (R. De Stefano)
4. Hommage à Mingus (R. De Stefano)
Recorded at Maison de la culture Frontenac by Radio-Canada, October 2000.
Audio file available in mp3 format
1. The Days of Wine and Roses (H. Mancini)
2. Darn that Dream (J. Van Heusen)
4. Just Friends (J. Klenner)