Songbook Vol. 1: Bus Stop Serenade, Brian Lynch
MULTI – GRAMMY® Award-winning trumpeter Brian Lynch is proud to announce the release of Brian Lynch Songbook Vol. 1: Bus Stop Serenade, his new recording on Hollistic MusicWorks. The first in a series of “Songbooks” intended to reclaim the many original compositions that Lynch has recorded for other labels throughout his distinguished career as a recording artist, Bus Stop Serenade focuses on music originally composed between the mid 1990s through the mid 2000s, configured here for the classic quintet formation of Lynch on trumpet and flugelhorn along with longtime front line partner Jim Snidero on alto saxophone, the redoubtably creative Orrin Evans on piano, stalwart virtuoso Boris Kozlov on bass and the swingingly inventive Donald Edwards on drums.
What provoked Lynch to re-record his old material? Brian explains : “I’m quite attached to all the tunes that I’ve written over the years, and have often felt that they would benefit from a little attention in the form of new versions that would introduce them to contemporary listeners who may not be familiar with my earlier work. Accordingly, I have embarked on a quest to re-record for my own label Hollistic MusicWorks every single original tune of mine that was recorded on other labels between the beginnings of my recording career in the 1980s up to the last album I recorded outside HMW in 2010. I will be releasing a series of “Songbook” albums, of which Bus Stop Serenade is the first volume, updating this body of work for a new generation of listeners as well as for those familiar with the original versions. I think that these remakes will reflect favorably on the years that have passed and bear the most exacting scrutiny as both compositions and performances!”
It is certainly evident that invoking artistic self-determination has reaped benefits for Lynch ever since his first fully self-produced recording project, the Grammy® Award winning The Brian Lynch-Eddie Palmieri Project: Simpático was released 15 years ago. The ambit of Lynch’s artist-owned label Hollistic MusicWorks has been distinguished by many triumphs, including a 5-star Downbeat review for the label’s first release, Unsung Heroes; critical acclaim for Questioned Answer, which first introduced new piano star Emmet Cohen to wider recognition; a Grammy nomination (one of the very first for a independent artist-owned label) in 2016 for Madera Latino, celebrating the music of Woody Shaw with an all-star cast of trumpeters and Latin jazz aces; and most recently, Lynch’s second Grammy Award for 2019’s magisterial The Omni-American Book Club, his first big band album and a project inspired both by Brian’s love of reading and his lifelong passion for social justice.
The rewards of revisiting Lynch’s past oevure on this new album are plentiful. Whether the quintet is burning on swingers like 24/7, Keep Your Circle Small, or On The Dot, hitting a Afro-Caribbean groove on such numbers as Afinque or Clairevoyance, or getting pensive on the delicate Before The First Cup, Lynch and his all-star quintet bring a level of virtuosity, nuance and pure vibe to these songs only hinted at in their original recordings. Jim Snidero’s probing alto sax stylings bring a new dimension to compositions recorded originally in quartet form such as Charles Tolliver (a salute to the iconic trumpeter/composer) and the title track, Bus Stop Serenade. And the stellar work in solo and accompaniment of pianist Orrin Evans, bassist Boris Kozlov, and drummer Donald Edwards, along with the fearsome swing these three generate, transform all they touch into musical gold, notably Woody Shaw, a Lynch classic from the turn of the millennium and also a highlight of The Omni-American Book Club in big band form.
As always, Lynch’s trumpet and flugelhorn never fails to excite, delight, and edify the listener, whether aficionado or causal newcomer to his sound. Brian’s dedication to excellence on his instrument along with his oceanic comprehension of the many idioms that comprise his musical territory and a good dose of natural soul deepened by life, experience and loss, has resulted in his remaining at the top of the heap of today’s trumpeters, and Lynch as he experiences it is: “…playing the best that I ever have in my life at this point!”
A special note about the recording process and the resultant track list for this album, as Brian relates in his liner notes: “We cut this album in a single day and things had to move quickly. There wasn’t generally time for more than two takes of anything – a “warmup” first take that allowed us to get comfortable with the tune and then a second pass for the record. When I reviewed the session for mixing, to my surprise I found that so many of those first takes were special, along with the “real” takes being so outstanding, that it was exceedingly hard to make a choice. So I decided to include them all! On some tunes there’s a shorter “radio-friendly” and a longer “stretching out” version, and on other tunes the two takes are more or less uniform in length. I’ve organized the album itself as two “takes” of the program (“The Express Route” and “The Alternate Route”), with Keep Your Circle Small, the only tune represented in a single take, as the bridge between the two programs.” These “routes” correspond to each CD on the 2 CD physical version of the album; all tracks in both routes are included on the “complete recordings” version of the digital release.
A special aspect of Bus Stop Serenade is the design for both digital and CD presentations of this album. The unique line drawings of Robin D. Williams, executed using her signature “blind drawing” technique, and the contemporary yet classic package design from Jamie Breiwick combine to delight the eye every bit much as Bus Stop Serenade’s music delights the ear. For those who love artistry in both sight and sound, Bus Stop will be also released in a special edition, limited to 100 copies box set, featuring reproductions of Williams’ artwork from the album suitable for framing and a deluxe booklet to accompany the two CDs.
Brian Lynch looks forward confidently to a positive reception of his “new wine, old bottles” project and the success of its first volume. Brian states: “This album will appeal to all who want to experience the bracing immediacy of gifted improvisers in flight, conversing with the distinctive musical frames provided them by yours truly. Whether on your device, in your car, or even sitting in your special listening room, Bus Stop Serenade will provide a satisfying musical journey worth taking, on either express or alternate routes.”
Note: This album is released in three digital versions on Bandcamp: a) The Express Route (CD1 of the 2 CD set physical release), b) The Alternate Route (alternate takes corresponding to CD2 of the physical release), and c) The Complete Recordings (all the music from the 2 CD set). See the Brian Lynch artist page to access the version of your choice.