Us and Them - The Bakery Sessions '99 is finally released!
A little background on this album: it was recorded in 1999. Why did it take so long for it to get released? No good reason. It got lost in the shuffle. It was a collectively led group, so no one really took the lead in shopping it around. Times were different then. You actually had to shop it around to different labels. You had to find out who ran a label, get the physical address of that label, write a cover letter, buy a padded envelope, put compact disc in the envelope, go to the post office, pay for postage, wait a few weeks, call them to see if they received it, leave a message if no one picked up the phone (land line), call back after not hearing from them, try a different label, repeat, etc. We were all young and just getting established in our careers and juggling things and the project just got lost in the shuffle. Every few years, one of us would come across the CD and tell someone else in the group, “Hey, that recording still holds up. We should put it out”! Some background on us: I met the Ferbers in 1996 or so when they were going to UCLA. I had just graduated from CalArts and was hungry to meet like minded musicians and play and get gigs. I was blown away by how great these guys sounded, their work ethic, their general hilarity and of course how much they looked like each other. I met Dave Sills around the same time at the old Chadney’s jam session. Chadney’s was a watering hole across from the NBC studios in Burbank where, shall we say, “seasoned” jazz musicians would, shall we say, “relax” after gigs and the like. Most of the attendees were, in my estimation, older than dust (it’s important to remember that at this time in my life I probably thought anyone older than 38 was older than dust). There was a little community of younger guys that went to this session as well as the much hipper (and much later at night) session at 5th Street Dick’s in Leimert Park. I would see Dave at these sessions and he really impressed me with his sound and forward leaning conception. Mark was playing a lot with Joe Bagg and thought we would sound good together and get along. I believe I was initially ambivalent because I associated organ with crusty blues licks that pandered to the audience. But after playing with Joe… boy, was I right! Just kidding. Boy, was I only partially right! Just kidding again. We hit it off and became very close friends and musical associates over the next 20 something years. We started having regular jam sessions at the Ferber’s place where we would workshop originals and tunes that we were learning. It eventually evolved into this group. Somewhere along the line we decided to record. We spent two days recording and mixing at a very nice and hospitable studio in Burbank called The Bakery. We played a few times at Rocco, which was THE place for jazz in Los Angeles at the time. We made a few attempts to get the recording on a label. We shopped it to Naxos Jazz, who were very complimentary but not signing at the time. The great, one of a kind, character and classic producer, Ozzie Cadena, who had recorded the likes of Bud Powell and Sonny Stitt and had hundreds of stories that he would regale you with, was booking the Lighthouse in Hermosa Beach at the time. Somehow he got a copy of the CD and offered to shop it around in exchange for the copyrights to the tunes. That sounded like a bad deal to us at the time (but in all likelihood would probably have been fine) so we passed on it. And that was about it. The Ferbers moved to New York. We all grew up and got married. Most of us have kids now. We all teach. One of us is Grammy nominated. Some guys occasionally tour. We all got much better at playing music. We still play and record but now we release the things we record. It’s easier to do that now. We still all play with each but it’s less frequent now. But still as fun. I hope you enjoy this recording. It represents a very fond period for us. -Jamie Rosenn March 31, 2020
released April 2, 2020 Dave Sills - tenor sax Alan Ferber - trombone Jamie Rosenn - guitar Joe Bagg - organ Mark Ferber - drums Recorded Feb 20 and 21, 1999 at The Bakery in Burbank, CA