The roots of this music run deep for me. Having recently gotten off the bus in the latter 1980’s, (actually via i-5 in a used Subaru from the Bay Area), it was my good fortune to visit a film-scoring session at Group IV Studio in Hollywood. There I first met Terry Woodson, whose music preparation service was located in a small on Gower Street, just north of Sunset Boulevard- the true heart of Hollywood. Like medieval monks, copyists still using pen and ink would write out the parts and scores used for recording sessions and performances. Terry asked me over my first lunch at Musso & Franks, whether I would like to do some music proofreading- looking through freshly copied sheet music for errors.
The Terry Woodson Music Service at that time ‘kept the books’ for some of the leading artists who still toured and performed with big-bands and orchestras; Frank Sinatra (Sr. & Jr.), Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Liza- the list went on. All of Sinatra’s master scores and parts were kept in fireproof file cabinets in a back room. Many of the leading arrangers and composers came through the shop- to drop scores off, pick them up, and just to hang out. There I met Billy May, Nelson Riddle, Pat Williams, Nick Perito, and so many others. Hank Mancini was on the phone. As a result, I ‘got my hands in the clay,’ soaking all that great music up, directly from the handwritten scores I was looking at. One day I gathered up all the rubber stamps used for labeling the finished sheet music, and printed them on a single manuscript page- reproduced here.
Symphony No.3 for Jazz Orchestra began as sketches a couple of years back, when I participated in the BMI Jazz Composers Workshop, at that time run by Andy Farber and Ted Nash. I thank them both for picking up their horns and pitching in. For me, varied musical tributaries flow together- Film Music, Blues, Roots, World Music, the American Songbook composers- in addition to the ‘Third Stream’ melding of Classical and Jazz. “Bossa Alla Cali” is one example of this hybrid. The title of the fourth movement, “Life Against Death,” is borrowed from a book of that name by Norman O. Brown, who taught at UC Santa Cruz when I was a student there.
Capt. Trips is dedicated to the memory of Jerry Garcia. Coming up through middle and high school in the 1960’s in Berkeley, we looked to members of The Grateful Dead as our big brothers- as role models! I am pleased that guitarist Steve Cardenas brought his own sound to bear here, summoning Garcia from the Isle of the Dead. Listen here
Concerto for Piano & Jazz Orchestra features soloist Adam Birnbaum, with whom I first discussed the piece at The Village Vanguard in New York. Adam has been a member of the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra in recent years, which supercharges that small stage on Monday nights. I thank him for helping to woodshed the score and parts for this composition- and for playing the heck out of it!
BIG BAND SASHA
Conducted by Sasha MatsonRecorded by Ryan Streber 8/14 & 15 & 9/13 2021, Oktaven Audio, Mount Vernon, New York
Assistant Engineer – Edwin Huet | Editing & Mixing – Nicholas Prout | Digital mastering – John Atkinson
LP mastering – Joe Harley & Kevin Gray/Cohearent Audio | LP pressing – Record Technology Inc.
Photos – John Atkinson and Edwin Huet | Graphics – Ian LascellWinds – Kurt Bacher, Jay Brandford, Andy Farber, Mark Lopeman, Ted Nash Trumpets – Summer Camargo, Shawn Edmonds, Bruce Harris, Brandon Lee, Bob Millikan Trombones – Willie Applewhite, James Burton III, Alan Ferber, Jack Schatz | Tuba – Marcus Rojas Guitar – Steve Cardenas | Piano – Adam Birnbaum | Bass – Gregg August | Percussion – Mark Sherman | Drums – Charles Goold
Produced by John Atkinson and Joe Harley
Parts & Scores – Subito Music Corporation www.subitomusic.com
c 2021 Sasha Matson Music Co. BMI www.sashamatson.com