Updated: Feb 27
During the last few weeks I've had the opportunity to reconnect with an old friend from my NY days and work with him on a few songs. The first song was his and I contributed a piano track. The next song was one of mine called Robo-Girl and he contributed a great guitar track which added a new dimension to my recording. I just sent him some new organ tracks for another song of his and the whole thing is working out beautifully.
Collaboration is essential for any musician working in an ensemble. For those of us that write and have plenty of solo repertoire available to play, not so much. It's always seemed easier to do everything myself, putting things together bit by bit, piece by piece as described in the Stephen Sondheim song Putting It Together from the musical Sunday In The Park With George. But who can help but be fascinated by genius collaborations like the famous 1917 staging of Parade in Paris with music by Satie, costumes and sets by Picasso, scenario by Cocteau, conducted by Ernest Ansermet and danced by the famous Ballet Russe under Diaghilev.
Parade was produced at a catastrophic time during World War I which was soon to be followed by the 1918 pandemic. Those great artists pulled together and gave people some relief in a situation which has parallels to our own pandemic situation today.
It turns out that I like collaborating and wish I could do it more often. Working with others pushes me in directions I would never think of going on my own. And maybe best of all it forces me to relinquish total control over a project.
Before Robo-Girl my most recent collaborations were with Parma Recordings and the Ergon Ensemble recording Love Dance and Crossing The River from Blue Ballet Suite, readings of two of my plays, providing production assistance for a student's recording project and a stint playing piano with a jazz quartet.
The collaborative fruits of Robo-Girl and the Blue Ballet recordings are available to hear on the Recordings page of this site. And they show that the whole is indeed greater than the sum of its parts.