Vous êtes sur la page 1sur 16


For Immediate Release


Patrick McDonagh: syntax expeditor

Trevor Gould: artwork
Katherine Knight: photography

Thanks to Jennifer Giles for her

assistance with the score analysis and leadsheet.

For more information, please contact

Robert McFadden
73 chemin Juniper
Chelsea, Quebec
J9B 1T3

phone: (1) 819-827-1788

fax: (1) 484-698-5216
email: Robert@TravellingInCurves.com
website: TravellingInCurves.com

The music, text, design, and images included in and with this publication are for promotional purposes
only and are protected by copyright law. Any duplication or transmission, by any means, electronic,
mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, is an infringement of copyright.
In Memoriam

It was with great sadness that all of us involved in the Travelling in Curves

project learned of the death of our friend and colleague Alun Davies in February


Alun’s role in the cd goes far beyond that singular bass sound you hear on these

tracks. The very notion of making a cd grew from recordings of arrangement

sketches swapped between the two of us to supplement the improvisational

approach of our rehearsals and gigs. As Zakari Frantz (alto sax), Jennifer Giles

(piano), and Mike Essoudry (drums) added their individual, contrasting voices to

the fray, Alun’s attentiveness ensured these tunes maintained the simplicity,

directness and intimacy we both heard at the heart of the music and recognized

in the best moments of our playing together.

Those fortunate enough to have collaborated with Alun were deeply impressed

by the uncompromising personal dedication and directness which he brought to

every project he undertook. Travelling in Curves documents a special

production sensibility applied to an unusual set of musical and performance

challenges. It is also a testament to an immensely gratifying, provocative and

generous relationship - professional and personal - with a dear friend warmly


Robert McFadden
Chelsea, Quebec
April 2008
Travelling in Curves

The music of Travelling in Curves sketches the emotional landscapes we

traverse through the challenges, surprises and pleasures of daily life. Whispers

of anticipation open to pools of certainty; clouds of doubt break in sweeps of

exhilaration. This succession of feelings is traced through the individual tunes;

sometimes within the space of a few bars. Pieces such as Souvenirs

(deux/trois) riff on an emotional refrain, punctured periodically by secondary

turns of memory. Others, like Second Thoughts, explore a wider range of

emotional colours – some dark, some absurd, some hopeful: the palette of

feelings many of us experience when having our own second thoughts.

These visceral transitions are underscored by the writing, arrangements and

performances of the ten original tunes on this album. Familiar sounds are

infused with the pleasures of musical invention and genre bending. Blues, ballad

and Spanish-inflected pieces develop as simple, logical motifs progress through

surprising turns of time, form, and harmony. These are tunes played in reference

to a palette of musical ideas rather than particular styles; music that thrives on

the creative tension generated by mixing the familiar and the singular. This

eclecticism echoes in the album’s voices and languages. While the

instrumentation of guitar, saxophone, piano, bass, and drums is well known to

any listener of popular western music, the quintet on this album speaks with

inflections originating in non-western and modern classical playing. A reflection

of the players’ experience, these inflections also derive from the fresh

compositional approach evident throughout the album.

Stretching forms and conventions has always been essential to Robert

McFadden’s music. In Travelling in Curves, the processes and history of jazz

are drawn upon as points of departure. “I wanted to know more about how

players meeting for the first time could head off on that amazing rollercoaster of

sound. I found this rich ferment of understandings, backgrounds, intentions: all

those things that get people playing this music and moving it in new, unexpected

directions.” To the casual listener, Robert’s recent music is jazz, pure and simple.

To the jazz aficionado, these tunes have an outside feel that runs directly to the

root of the jazz tradition. As Bill Strickland reminds us, “Jazz is a state of mind in

which possibilities for innovation and discovery are revealed to you, and you are

able to tap into deep reserves of commitment and passion.”*

In jazz, convictions, enquiries and epiphanies are usually the stuff of

improvisation, with starting points provided by the players’ sound and experience,

and the tune itself. Robert’s music extends this flow of connections by drawing

upon familiar life experiences for the emotional source in his writing. It is music

that looks to reveal, affirm, inspire and challenge our experience of music, the

worlds in which we live, and our own self-perceptions.

* Bill Strickland, Moment by Moment, Jazz Times, February 2008, p. 28

The following analysis and leadsheet provide a sense of the conceptual and
compositional approach to the tunes on Travelling in Curves. The overriding
emphasis is on exploration and emotional weight rather than technical aspects
such as tempo or style. The leadsheet instructions to performers (at the top left)
function more as questions than guidelines. They are also reminders to have fun
with the pieces.

Who says that an extraordinary rhythmic scheme has to be the kiss of death
when it comes to hummable ear candy? Souvenirs (deux/trois) has a novel
twist to its AABA structure. The A section features a 13/4 feel (written II: 4/4 I
3/4 I 4/4 I 2/4 :II). In contrast, the B section is in 4/4. An extraordinary rhythmic
scheme indeed. Still, you will be hard pressed not to be whistling this tune by the
third time you’ve heard it.

The melody in Souvenirs (deux/trois) is extremely simple. The A section is a

set of variations on the 1/8 note motif given in the first two bars, mainly laying
back from the downbeat. The B section introduces a second idea comprised of
longer notes.

Harmonically, the piece is also straightforward. The A section is a standard vi, ii,
V, I pattern in the key of C, with a Spanish tinge (E7, F7, E7) added to the end.
The B section nudges the composition forward beginning with a ii, V, I pattern in
the key of F. This is followed by a cycle series ending with another Spanish tinge
(D7, D#7, D7).

The appeal of any tune comes from its balance of tension and release. In
Souvenirs (deux/trois) tension is introduced principally through the 13/4 feel of
the A section. Release comes with the familiar 4/4 of the B section, and – less
obviously – with the 4/4 at the very end. This mix of meters essentially provides
the hook for the piece.

While the title translates literally from French as Memories (Two/Three), it also
works as a pun when spoken: Memories of You. To be played “frankly”, this
tune is best delivered without affectation: think Frank.
frankly music by Robert McFadden

Copyright © 2008 Robert McFadden

International Copyright Secured. All Rights Reserved.

photograph © Katherine Knight 2008

Robert McFadden has been writing and performing music since the late 1970’s.

Originally trained as a visual artist, Robert developed his music as part of a

multidisciplinary practice including installation, digital media, and performance


Early projects give a clue to the diversity in Robert’s approach: Sounds on

Wednesdays (1978), a free improvisation series hosted by the National Gallery

of Canada; The Post Barbie Band (1978 - 81), a cocktail of musicians, artists

and programmers performing in clubs and art galleries; and People in the

Speakers (1986 – 90), a karaoke/movement ensemble championed by Gay

Delorme (Frank Zappa, k.d. laing) as “seriously bent; way hip”.

Constructing Nature and The Edge of the World - musical performances

playing off Broadway, roots, jazz and minimalist genres - were presented in the

late 80’s and early 90’s at The Western Front (Vancouver), Globe Theatre

(Regina), A Space (Toronto) and The Slade (London, England). For Those Who

Stand For, a virtual reality soundscape produced at the Banff Centre for the Arts,

was recognized in 1992 at Ars Electronica (Linz, Austria).

In 1993 Robert began work on ventures in sound production, digital animation

and software development for companies such as Softimage, Microsoft and Avid

Technologies with clients including Industrial Light and Magic, Mainframe

Entertainment and Disney. In 2004, a two-week hiatus taken to consider ideas

about jazz improvisation grew into a four year full-time process of listening,

studying, jamming, composing and recording. Travelling in Curves, a cd

release with Robert McFadden (guitar), Zakari Frantz (alto sax), Jennifer Giles

(piano), Alun Davies (bass) and Mike Essoudry (drums), documents recent

developments in this exploration.

Musician Biographies
Zakari Frantz (saxophone)

Zakari has quickly earned a reputation as a versatile and lyrical reed player sharing the

stage artists such as Femi Anikulapo Kuti, Dele Sosimi and Joe Sealy. Over the past

year Zakari has played to great acclaim with the Soul Jazz Orchestra in Europe, across

Canada, and at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. Zakari is a graduate of Boise State

University where he studied saxophone with Brent Jensen.

Jennifer Giles (piano)

Trained as a classical pianist with degrees from McGill University (Montreal), Jennifer

teaches ear training, music theory and keyboard classes (Concordia University, Carleton

University). Jennifer’s playing focuses on free improvisation with groups including

Radar and Rakestar.

Alun Davies (bass)

Classically trained, Jaco-inspired and fuelled on the sounds of North Africa and India,

Alun’s reputation as a sideman, session player, engineer, composer and producer grew

though work in R&B, fusion, world beat, hip-hop and rap with artists including Juno

Award winners Maestro Wes Fresh, 2 Rude, and Glenn Lewis. In 2005, Alun returned

to the bass full-time, playing with Ropeadope recording artists Antizario until his death

in February 2008.

Mike Essoudry (drums)

Rooted in popular music - rock and jazz – Mike brings a unique blend of groove/riff

based playing to groups exploring the frontiers of folk (Megan Jerome Trio), country

(Three Jimmies), and free improvisation (Parade, Fly Poem). A composer and

percussionist, Mike has a Masters in Jazz Drumset from McGill University (Montreal).

Souvenirs (deux/trois) (5:52)
Second Thoughts (4:39)
Swimming to the Moon (4:49)
Simple Pleasures (6:03)
Escaleras Azules (7:26)
The Gucci Effect (8:06)
As If (This Could Make a Difference) (4:36)
Tongues Will Wag (6:18)
Misha (5:44)
Pas des tous (7:32)

All compositions © Robert McFadden (SOCAN) 2008

Robert McFadden: guitar
Zakari Frantz: alto saxophone
Jennifer Giles: piano
Alun Davies: bass
Mike Essoudry: drums

James Stephens / Stove Studios: audio expeditor
David Bignell / Heat of Sound: mixing engineer
David Cain / SoundMaster Studios: mastering engineer

© ® Robert McFadden (SOCAN) 2008. All rights reserved.


“Like meeting an old friend for the first time”

- Deborah Dunn, choreographer (Trial & Eros Dance Theatre)

“Urbane and heartfelt in its’ directness”

- James Stephens, musician/producer (Ian Tamblyn, Fat Man Waving)

“Lovely, lovely, lovely”

- Linsey Wellman, musician (Galitcha, Kobo Town, Worlds Collide)

Intimate, wry & soulful jazz with art house roots & world beat branches.

Does improvising make a difference to your

perceptions of the people and situations around you?
Must an extraordinary rhythmic scheme really spell the
kiss of death for hummable ear candy?

Hold on to your hat: this handy introduction blows the

house down to tell about the people, inspirations and
influences behind the production of the 2008 cd
release Travelling in Curves. Inside you will find a
tribute to musician/producer Alun Davies, background
notes on the project, a sample analysis and leadsheet, biographies on composer
Robert McFadden and the musicians, and photographs. It might just knock your
hat off.

Also includes a data cd with a digital version of The WHO, WHAT, WHERE and
WHY Guide to TRAVELLING IN CURVES, along with mp3 versions of the
complete album for easy transfer to your iPod and other personal listening
devices. This material is also available from W5.TravellingInCurves.com.
Please contact Robert McFadden directly if you would like to learn more, obtain
further material or could just do with some assistance.

email: Robert@TravellingInCurves.com
phone: (1) 819-827-1788