Recordings

Song For Leslie

Gerard Hagen Trio

Back in 1995 Jerry Kalaf subbed for the drummer on a club date I had booked. That was when he and I first talked of forming a trio. The idea was that in order to create music from a deeper, more seasoned, place than many jazz groups which, due to the economics of our industry, rarely have the opportunity develop their music over long periods of time, we would commit to working in a jazz group that would exist for the long haul. We both felt the trio format gave us the best opportunity both musically and logistically to function as a working unit for an extended period of time. Jerry suggested I invite bassist Domenic Genova and after a few playing sessions the group was formed. Incredibly it’s now seventeen years later!

“Song For Leslie” is the result of my desire to document my trio one more time before my wife, jazz vocalist Leslie Lewis, and I leave Los Angeles for Europe. Previously the trio had recorded two CD’s “Far Horizons” (Resurgent Music 1998) and “Stay Tuned” (Sea Breeze Jazz 2000). In 2005 I began working as Leslie’s music director and naturally I have used the trio as the rhythm section for her performances and recordings. As musical desires and budgets allowed, the group was augmented with horn soloists and horn sections. Leslie and these groups made three great recordings of which I am very proud (“Of Two Minds” 2008, “Keeper Of The Flame” 2010, “Midnight Sun” 2012) all on a label we founded called SURF COVE JAZZ. www.surfcovejazz.com During this time my trio continued to perform but we did not record as an instrumental unit. “Song For Leslie” was an opportunity to document some original music Jerry and I had written as well as make a snapshot of where this group is after these many years of working together.

“464 Blues” is a line I wrote which has two phrases that end up in 6/4 time. I was also experimenting with some alternate blues changes. “Song For Leslie” is a composition I wrote to be performed at our wedding as a surprise for Leslie. It replaced a song she really liked and wanted performed so I was very nervous that she would like my piece at least as much as what she had expected to hear. Jerry is a very accomplished composer and arranger. Over the years he has written many tunes that have ended up in our book. I have often joked that we are doing a Jerry Kalaf Memorial Set as I call his tunes back to back on our gigs. He contributed “Where’s Gerard?” a very nice waltz inspired by a change of residence I went through and “Looking At The Despair Calendar” a very poignant ballad that has one of the most interesting bridges I've encountered.

All musicians find standards that they love to play and never seem to tire of. We recorded some of my favorites to go along with our originals. "My Romance" is done in 3 with some solo space added to the form. "A Weaver Of Dreams" has a great set of changes that offer all kinds of musical opportunities. "What Is This Thing Called Love?" is a vehicle for Domenic to show his melodic sensibilities. Among his many talents Domenic is a very good accompanist. He finds ways to fill in the spaces and still leaves room for the music to breathe.

This recording is a way for my friends and I to both say a musical goodbye and have a celebration of a great musical journey. Although after all these years, it really isn’t so much a goodbye as an opportunity to see what will happen next. Until then...
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Stay Tuned

Gerard Hagen Trio

This recording was inspired by a period of time that was particularly artistically satisfying for me. There were many gigs with some of my favorite musicians so I wanted to document both the music and the musicians. I used my trio of course, but I augmented it with some very special guest artists.
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Far Horizons

Gerard Hagen Trio

The first recording that Gerard, Jerry & Domenic made as the Gerard Hagen Trio. We were thrilled to have Gary Foster as a guest artist. It was done in two sessions at the Toy Shop in Los Angeles. There are two original compositions (Far Horizons, Sheryl's Surprise) by Gerard and Jerry contributed September 15, 1980.
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Leslie Lewis & Gerard Hagen In New York

Leslie Lewis & Gerard Hagen Duo

In November of 2011 Leslie and Gerard were in New York City to perform and give a masterclass at the Lehman College Jazz Festival. An opportunity to record arose and they decided to make a duo recording of voice and piano. Leslie wanted to sing some of the songs that as a young girl had attracted her to jazz. She also had some favorite songs that were recorded by Nancy Wilson and Cleo Laine, two singers she loved to listen to at a young age. They spent two afternoons in the studio and came away with nine tracks. The sessions were pretty relaxed since they both had spent quite of bit of time performing together and had a pretty good idea of what to expect musically from one another. The music reflects a comfort level that allows for songs to unfold on their own time and never feel hurried.

Once they returned home to California there were other recording projects to be released, other performances to do and also a move from California to Paris that required much time and energy so it has taken until now for this recording to get it’s day in the sun.

Leslie and Gerard are very happy to have had the opportunity to document their musical partnership. Their duo forms a musical core which they often expand with their favorite musicians.
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