All of the music on this disc was improvised live ("pulled out of thin air", so to speak). None of what we played was worked-out in advance. You are hearing it exactly as it was played, with no overdubs, editing or re-mixing whatsoever. (Refer to the Improvisation Level Classification System for more details about the method and the madness.)
Before you listen to this music for the first time, you can use the following notes as sort of a road map through the disc, or you can save this section for later and in the spirit in which it was played, jump into the music head-first without a net.
The Cram and Stuff Method (Recorded 4/3/00- IL2)
GS: "I was referring to packing a suitcase. (Shame on you.) This began as funk a la Goblin and went all over after that. Definitely got to rip up some rhythm here, and riffage of all kind abounds. At 26 minutes it's a daunting way to begin, perhaps, but we hope you'll find it in your hearts to forgive us"
HS: "At one point during the session one of us (I forget who) suggested "let's try some funk", and this is the result. While it isn't always very funky, it rocks throughout. I make no apology for the John Bonham grooves that creep in during the piece. I lost my mind at 9:38 and dropped a beat- I hope that the drum police division of the musician's union doesn't find out, or they'll haul me away to the Jeff Porcaro Memorial Re-Programming Facility and make me play along with Steely Dan records for 3 months before I'm allowed behind a drumset on my own again. "
Approaching Readiness (Recorded 4/3/00- IL2)
GS: "I often enjoy doing very non-guitarlike things with a guitar- musically speaking, that is!- and being a big fan of early Tangerine Dream, Ralph Lundsten and experimental music in general, I like to sneak in guitar interpretations of things like that where I can. This has sometimes led to confusion for the listener and when I was with Paper Bag one of the most common questions I received was 'Where's the guitar on (fill in the track)?' One of the many nice things about Jugalbandi is that there is no more need for this question. If it ain't drums, it's guitar, period."
HS: "As soon as I heard how Greg began this piece I knew that it shouldn't have a conventional drum part, so I adopted an orchestral approach that intentionally didn't so much as suggest any sort of pulse or metric structure. The resulting piece wound up being 'lead drums' over the sounds and textures that Greg played. Although there's no conventional "beat" or meter, the piece still has a tremendous sense of forward motion, supplied by the constantly shifting percussion patterns played over the almost continuously rumbling bass drums. And true to my experimental progressive rock roots, there's a gong solo during the final minute of the piece."
My Yiddishe Boogie (Recorded 4/3/00- IL3)
GS: "(Featuring: 'My Bar Chord Mitzvah' and 'Dance of the Zaydehs'.) Alternate title: 'Ringling Bros., Barnum and Moskowitz'. The riff developed out of several improvisations and we decided to turn it into a song. The best version we did was lost when the DAT machine mysteriously shut off during recording. We immediately launched back into another version but I was in an absolutely foul mood over the loss when we did this. I said to Hyam, 'I'm seriously pissed off". He said in sympathy, 'Yeah', but it wasn't emphatic enough for me and I said 'No, I mean I'm really pissed off. I'm "it's right after the Holocaust and I'm ready to go kick ass and found the state of Israel" sort of pissed off. Ya know? Let's do it.' That state of mind is definitely apparent in this version. You can hear during the performance how each little glitch is reminding me of that perfect lost take, and in frustration the piece gets kicked just that much harder, with a really vengeful sort of hamfistedness infecting the playing. Rough but fun."
HS: "On the third day of these sessions we were plagued by recording gremlins, and when I looked at the DAT after we played the killer version of 'Yiddishe' and saw that the 'record' light wasn't lit, my heart sank. By the time we did the version included on this CD, we were pissed and it shows in our playing. Clearly a case of using music to beat demons into submission. This may be the kind of thing Mahavishnu Orchestra would have done if John McLaughlin's name had been Goldberg instead of McLaughlin."
La Bionda (Recorded 4/4/00- IL2)
GS: "Named after the comic book by Saudelli. This is one of the rare cases where the title preceded and directly inspired the music. We set out to do something which suggested elements of tongue-in-cheek Italian spy thriller and science fiction (and of course lots of good looking barefoot women tied up tightly- see the comic book or any of Saudelli's work for more details) This starts out fairly straight and gets progressively more weird. The sudden ending was inspired by the sudden lack of tape when it ran out."
HS: "I kept the idea of mid-1960's vintage spy movie music in my head when we did this, using mostly exchanges between the snare drum and bass drums to give it a rather sparse texture, with a lot of syncopation to push it forward."
Get Out and Walk (Recorded 4/3/00- IL1)
GS: "The title was taken off the old Dog Neutral list, like a lot of these were- don't remember who came up with it. Sometimes pieces will suggest imagery and form little stories in my head, and once this one was titled that happened to me. It brought to mind a woman getting kicked out of the car by her asshole boyfriend/husband, and the thoughts that occur to her on the walk home- a journey from subservience to independence. Of course the music actually has nothing to do with that and it can mean anything you want it to- a promotion for the healthiest form of exercise, fun with a dysfunctional family, etc. Or it can mean virtually nothing at all. It's up to you."
HS: "The opening swing rhythm on the hi-hats suggests a strolling walk, and to me seems quite a bit more light-hearted than it does to Greg. The interplay between us is, well, kind of playful all throughout the piece, which (in typical Jugalbandi fashion) goes through several transformations during its journey. The final four minutes or so could be a separate piece in its own right, and probably will indeed become one at some point."
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