From time immemorial, humans have gathered by their fires in the evening to listen. Deep in the safety of caves, or in the clear-cold air of the open grasslands, we would sit in the glow of the flickering light and be warmed by the voices of our wise ones. They were called griots and poets, shamans and minstrels. They would speak, chant. Sometimes with drum, sometimes with harp, sometimes with only the night noises as their accompaniment. They would tell us the stories of our lives. Stories to entertain, to enchant, to educate or just to while away the time. They would remind us of who we are. They would sing us our history and our dreams, our pasts and our futures. Tales of daring, of love, of courage and foolishness were spun out in these evenings under the stars. And we carry this memory deep within us. From campfires to fireplaces, from candle light to incandescent, the stories and the night have remained linked.
I spend a great many of my nights in jazz clubs. There is a particularly delicious moment, when the lights have dimmed and the musicians have made their way to the bandstand. In that moment just before they begin to play, when horns come to lips, fingers to keyboards, sticks to the ready, there is a magic, an anticipation in the air, that is palpable and dramatic; a silence that breathes as we wait. On the bandstand and in the audience we wait, quietly and eagerly savoring that moment. I think it is because we are beside the fire again, gathered together waiting for the griot to speak, for the stories of our lives to be told. We musicians are modern storytellers. We are the minstrels who weave spells that suspend time. Our instruments carry our voices. Our compositions & improvisations are histories, tall tales, metaphors, myths, parables and allegories. There tell where we have been, and where we hope to go. Holding both experience and dreams.
This record is a collection of some stories from evenings like those. Stories from the journey of the four musicians whose voices are heard here. I am pleased to say that it is a collaboration in the real sense; music that was shaped by shared experience. Long hours on the road spent trading talk and time. Nights spent playing, interacting with the audience, crystalizing our ideas. Writing tunes and arrangements, hearing them and starting over again. It was a rare and satisfying journey.
And now that we have spun our tales, it is your turn. Our hope is that through this mysterious mix of harmonies and melodies, of rhythm and soul, we can take you where we have been, to show you what we have seen. But all music is communication, and the reflection of our journey is only the start of yours. So from the hearts of the players to the hearts of those who are willing to listen, I hope you will catch the magic. Welcome to Twilight Stories. The fire awaits. . .
Sounds Of Your Dream
Sitting beneath the evening sky
With a gentle breeze blowing by
Ten thousand ears are listening
To the dynamic, glowing sounds:
Sounds of your music
Rising in beautiful rolling swells
Like waves cascading across the grounds
Then softly, like a baby's breath,
A melody puts our cares to rest.
And with the coming of the evening's hues.
We savor the sounds of your dream come true.
Willie T. Grant
Produced by Cecil Brooks for Ciladren Productions
Recorded at Studio 44, Monster Holland
Engineered by Max Bolleman
Cover Photo by Alfred Silvera
Additional Photographs by Doug Clapp, Anna Fronckiewicz, Phyllis Lane
Design by Paige Simon
Label: 32 Jazz
Record # 32079
"Grant's fluid touch and emotional delivery make this CD accessible and friendly as well as smart. Memorable, inexorable and soulfull." -The Oregonian
"A fully realized, multi-faceted album. Twilight Stories is a modern jazz gem."
" Five stars"