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The Harvest

The Harvest

Page | Brown | Psathas



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Adam Page (saxophone)
James Brown (guitar)
John Psathas (production & composition)

 

The Harvest is comprised of two suites, two continuous 30-minute compositions broken into 8 and 9 parts respectively. The Harvest Suite (composed by Adam Page and John Psathas) features Adam on solo tenor saxophone played through various looping pedals and effects, while Like Picking Fruit is a duet with James Brown on guitar. Both suites are a deft, and at times near-invisible blending of composition and improvisation, and together they produce an album of rare honesty.

"I spent our studio time in awe of James and Adam. Listening to them go into those remote unchartered territories during the recording of Like Picking Fruit was something I'll never forget. They'd come out of the studio with a look in their eyes like explorers returning from months in the wilderness. And what a unique piece it is, rich and ingenious, fearless and uncompromising, but mostly, phenomenally musical." John Psathas


Click HERE to read Graham Reid's Elsewhere review




RAT-J-1012 (October, 2012)

Produced by John Psathas
Recorded and mixed by Lee Prebble at The Surgery
Mastered by Steve Garden at the Garden Shed, Auckland, New Zealand
Cover photo by Peter Lindon
Studio photos by Emily Newcome, James Brown and Georgia Bradtke
Design by UnkleFranc

  The Harvest
  Adam Page, James Brown & John Psathas

  The Harvest Suite  (27:18)
  Composed by Adam Page & John Psathas © 2012, APRA
    The Seed in the Wind  (7:23)
    The Seed in the Storm  (5:26)
    The Couple's Prelude  (1:38)
    The Couple  (2:46)
    The Couple's Trust  (2:49)
    The Couple's Etude  (2:33)
    The Seed Meets the Soil  (3:20)
    The Weight of the Seedling  (1:21)

  Like Picking Fruit  (29:39)
  Composed by James Brown © 2012, APRA
    Prelude  (4:30)
    Dawn  (2:36)
    Mist  (3:46)
    Cede  (5:03)
    Condense  (2:03)
    Dusk  (1:10)
    Recede  (2:05)
    Roots  (3:14)
    Coda  (5:12)

 


 

Anyone who has moved away from friends and family knows the challenges involved, especially if the move is to another country. There is doubt and trepidation, risk and reason, but also hope and excitement. The Harvest Suite was inspired by the emotions my partner Georgia and I experienced while planning our move from Adelaide, Australia to Wellington, New Zealand.

Co-composing with John Psathas was a delight, as both of us were wading in unknown waters – bouncing ideas off each other constantly, exploring the performance possibilities of every phrase and motif while always pushing my technical boundaries. Writing for tenor sax played through looping pedals and effects was new to both of us, and overwhelmingly exciting as the composition started coming to life. Utilising the studio scenario for this recording, and Lee Prebble's powerful vision, was wonderful as we were able to create a seemingly three dimensional soundscape not feasible live. John's guidance throughout the recording process also ensured my best performance possible. The piece has given me so much inspiration and in many ways has planted the seed we are now reaping in the beautiful 'land of the long white cloud', Aotearoa.

Immortalising James Brown's masterpiece Like Picking Fruit was bliss, as this is the first time one of his extended works has been recorded. It’s a perfect accompaniment to The Harvest Suite, very different in many ways, but just as honest in it's approach. James is one of my long-time collaborators and all-time favourite people, and in my opinion, Like Picking Fruit is one of the great extended jazz works. There can be no better musical conversation than that of two great friends, and recording this piece with James was the best hang imaginable. I am ecstatic that this project has a life of it's own now and sincerely hope you enjoy the ride.

Adam Page

 


 

Unnamed until this project, “like picking fruit off an old tree” was a metaphor Adam used to describe the experience of performing this piece when we discussed recording it for the album. I am honoured and privileged to be a part of this project. Listening to Adam record The Harvest Suite under the watchful ears and wisdom of John Psathas and through the engineering skill of Lee Prebble was an experience in itself. Just as rewarding, though in a completely different way, was having an extended composition of mine codified for the first time.

In essence, the title comes from the idea of familiarity: Adam and I have played together for most of our adult lives, mainly playing derivatives of jazz and other improvised music, sometimes with the utmost seriousness, other times just for kicks, though usually with a healthy dose of both. For me (and I know Adam feels the same), there is a great deal of familiarity within this performance, and yet there is a sense of the unknown too. This is the first time that Adam and I have really played together without others, and, perhaps most significantly, without our “usual” selves. We both love the musical possibilities offered by pedal technology. For Adam: looping-pedals for the most part (though give him anything and he’ll find a way to make music with it), and for me: delays, reverbs and distortion. My goal in writing this piece was to strip everything back, to take us out of the comfort zone we’d created for ourselves. Taking these familiarities away from my own sound palette certainly left me feeling “exposed”, and on listening back that’s how I hear it too. There are some brutal but beautifully raw moments throughout the performance. In particular, the more improvised sections took on a life of their own in the studio, with each of us searching, groping - grappling even - with a familiar yet bizarrely unfamiliar dynamic. In fact, the improvised sections are all first takes, something that we can credit to John’s insights in the studio, encouraging Adam and I to accept what was happening musically between us, which I think ultimately lends the recording a depth that it otherwise would not have had.

James Brown

 


 

What an amazing time Adam and I had. Full days in my home studio, kicking off with the Strongest-Coffee-Known-To-Man, then diving into possibilities and following creative leads. What I loved more than anything (apart from working with this consummate, intensely inspired musician) was to not know where our frothing ideas and runaway muse would take us. It was a beautiful time. One of the few truly collaborative experiences I’ve had. And how great to take it further in the studio where we retained the spontaneity and spirit of the original but also used the technology to explore our ideas even further. I first saw Adam on stage trying to extricate himself from a Sumo suit. I knew right off that there was way more to him than comedy. Adam is a very real, very rare and gifted musical voice. The sun shine’s brighter in Wellington now that he’s here. I spent our studio time in awe of James and Adam. Listening to them go into those remote unchartered territories during the recording of Like Picking Fruit was something I'll never forget. They'd come out of the studio with a look in their eyes like explorers returning from months in the wilderness. And what a unique piece it is, rich and ingenious, fearless and uncompromising, but mostly, phenomenally musical.

John Psathas

 


 

Thanks and acknowledgments

Adam
Thanks to Ma and Da for your divine support, John Psathas for inspiring me, and everyone around you to never forget 'yourself' in your music - I love you man. James Brown for the human being you are; Lee Prebble for being the most relaxed and amazing engineer imaginable - you truly are a wizard; Riki Gooch for your humility and faith in my art; ArtsSA for supporting the creation of The Harvest Suite and Downstage for giving it it's first home; Bella and Kiva - the munchkins of my heart; my Aussie friends & family; Wellington for embracing me in your windy arms; Emily Newcombe; Peter Lindon; Steve Garden at Rattle; and especially Georgia Bradtke for your undying love and support - you really do make this journey a whole lot easier.

James
My sincere thanks to my bro Adam for his remarkable playing, friendship and continuous inspiration; to John and Lee, two of the most knowledgeable and encouraging humans imaginable; Rattle for getting it out there; and everyone who made this project possible through their generosity. Extra special thanks and much love to Emily Newcombe and Georgia Bradtke for their never ending love and support.

John
Thanks first and foremost to Adam Page for inviting me into a new universe where we made up our own rules. What a place to play! And thanks to Carla for keeping me (and staying) sane. Thanks to Lee Prebble for such a cool and brilliant recording experience, and to Steve Garden for welcoming Harvest into the Rattle family. Thanks to the New Zealand School of Music and Victoria University for giving me the space and creative freedom to do what I love, and ArtsSA and Downstage for being the Harvest Suite’s midwives. And thanks to everyone who supports live and recorded music.

Adam, James and John collectively thank the team at pozible.com and every one of the 67 people that supported this project, especially Michael Deacon, Bette Bradtke, Craig Lauritsen, Dan Boundy, Dennis Page, Callum Moncrieff, Emily Newcombe, Andrew Brown, Rachel Johnston, Brenton Tregloan, Jason Behrndt, Kathryn Macnish, Kim Thorpe and Peter van der Zwaag. We dedicate this recording to all of you.