Dave Hartl & Gaijin: Foreign Growth  

Foreign Growth

Foreign Growth

Dave Hartl & Gaijin: Foreign Growth

"Solid, hard-driving jazz fusion. Throughout the Gaijin CD Foreign Growth, available from Hartl, his playing is consistently well-rendered and lively. A definite hit for fusion fans."
-Titus Levi, "Discoveries" column, Keyboard, June 1993

This project from 1992 was a follow up to the first Gaijin album. On the first one, I had composed and sequenced music that was recorded and then overdubbed with live musicians. On this project, we reversed it and recorded all the live tracks first, following up with adding all the electronic sequencing after the fact. I really like the feel this gave us, but at the time this was technically very hard to do with the software we had to work with. This meant a lot of studio time and money was required to achieve what I was after, but I loved the results. In addition, the musicians really played like their lives were depending on it and I'm still thrilled that I managed to document the Atlantic City scene's best players before the entire work scene fell apart there in the mid-90's.

In 1992, software synths didn't exist and I managed to muster together the following tools to make the synth tracks on this CD:

  • Waldorf Microwave (my secret weapon of choice at the time)
  • 2 Yamaha TX7s
  • Yamaha TG33
  • Oberheim XPander (STILL my favorite analog synth)
  • 2 Oberheim Matrix 1000s
  • Oberheim DPX-1 Sample Player
  • various Oberheim Perf/x MIDI processors
  • Roland D-50
  • Emu Proteus 1XR
  • Emu Emax

Needless to say, driving all this gear in time to prerecorded live tracks witn no click tracks was a logistical nightmare. I enlisted the aid of Brian English to help co-produce and engineer the tracks, and I still owe him for that bionic ear of his in making this listenable at all!

All tunes by Dave Hartl


Slambo

**Click to hear**

And the CD opens with an uptempo samba kind of a thing, originally going to be called "Shoju" (a Korean liquor) since this is a Corea-licker, as in playing the licks of Chick Corea circa 1992. I just had to do one to get it out of my system.

  • Dave Hartl: piano and synths
  • Dave Mackenzie: saxophone
  • Andy Lalasis: bass
  • Mark Graham: drums

Perculator

**Click to hear**

Here's the most popular thing I've written if you go by the number of downloads it's generated. That's the sound of a Roland D-50 wavetable being scanned in a way the designers didn't intend. I got this patch from an issue of Keyboard magazine, I believe, and enjoyed the loop it made, so turned it into a jam tune in Cminor with too many chords on the bridge. The ending was originally going to be shorter, but Danny Blaze and Derrick Murdock took off with it. I kept it. Who in their right mind would dare to stop them?

  • Dave Hartl: piano and synths
  • Vince Colella: guitar
  • Derrick Murdock: bass
  • Danny "Blaze" Markase: drums

Repenitent

**Click to hear**

We needed a ballad right about here, and here ya go...I don't know what "repenitent" means, sounds like someone who's sorry about something. I was just trying to write something pretty.

  • Dave Hartl: piano and synths
  • Vince Colella: guitar
  • Ron Kerber: sax
  • Derrick Murdock: bass
  • Danny "Blaze" Markase: drums

The Emperor's Ducks

**Click to hear**

While playing a solo piano gig at the Palace Hotel in Tokyo for the last 3 months of 1986 I used to go into the public grounds near the Emperor's palace and practice my Chapman Stick on Sundays. I wrote this piece there, watching the emperor's ducks do whatever the hell they pleased. They are, after all, the Emperor's Ducks.

  • Dave Hartl: piano and synths
  • Vince Colella: guitar
  • Ron Kerber: sax
  • Derrick Murdock: bass
  • Danny "Blaze" Markase: drums
  • Jeff Mack: trombone
  • Don Downs: trumpet

Hackerdemics

**Click to hear**

I actually like this piece of music for playing more than most of my other pieces, probably due to the phrasing and odd melodic leaps that give you a lot to work with. The title reflects a time when I was starting to teach computer music and the like in an academic environment.

  • Dave Hartl: piano and synths
  • Ron Kerber: sax
  • Craig Thomas: acoustic bass
  • Mark Graham: drums

Mo'Bop

**Click to hear**

An impossibly convoluted line showing bebop thinking many years down the road, it's definitely mo'bop than not. This piece was selected as the lead-off track for a best of Philly compilation that got derailed when WRTI-FM went with a new format and stopped promoting local artists. The reviews said it was in odd time signatures, but it's not, it's all in 4/4. Clap along.

  • Dave Hartl: piano and synths
  • Dave Mackenzie: sax
  • Andy Lalasis: bass
  • Mark Graham: drums

Downside

**Click to hear**

Click here for a lead sheet to this tune.

Like exhaling a sigh. Behind every silver lining there's a cloud.

This song was generated from a final exam in a piano class that I was giving. The students harmonized the little phrase, and I heard it over and over for a day. On the train on the way home, I could still hear it, so I wrote it out. Basically, that little phrase leads you into different tonic centers, sort of sliding down the hill to a new resolution.

This track was the first recording for what became the Dave Hartl Quartet on my next CD project.

  • Dave Hartl: piano and synths
  • Ron Kerber: sax
  • Craig Thomas: acoustic bass
  • Mark Graham: drums

The Church of Elvis

**Click to hear**

Another instrumental story song. Vinnie Colella wails on slide, Blaze kicks big ass on drums, and Dusty gets funky. After working in Atlantic City for far too long and having played for WAY too many Elvii, this song reflects my feeling that the worship of this singing trucker was displacing the fervor of religion for a lot of people. It starts off with a nice proper Baroque counterpart, an invention I originally wrote for a counterpoint class in college. It gets mangled chromatically and leads into the main song, which utilizes an Elvis singer in samples. Also noteworthy is the fact that the solos are in two meters at once. I sequenced demo rhythm sections for the solos, one in each meter. The rhythm section was fed one click track to play to. When the soloists laid down their tracks, we muted the recorded rhythm section and gave them the OTHER, sequence tracks to play against. And no, I've never tried to do this track live. Multiple simultaneous click tracks are too technically involved to pull off on a $50 jazz gig. Everytime I hear this track I imagine Fat Elvis in a bishop's hat, doing splits on the stairs of a cathedral. And how do you work out YOUR problems?

  • Dave Hartl: piano and synths
  • Vince Colella: guitar
  • Derrick Murdock: bass
  • Danny "Blaze" Markase: drums

Updated December 9, 2016.