The Avatar Sessions

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Fuzzy Music 2010

The Avatar Sessions (Fuzzy Music 2010) features Tim Hagans, Peter Erskine, Dave Liebman, George Garzone, Randy Brecker, Rufus Reid and the Norrbotten Big Band performing the music of Tim Hagans.

Trumpeter and composer Tim Hagans has served as soloist and Artistic Director for the Norrbotten Big Band since 1996. Hagans writes: “The Norrbotten Big Band is known all over Europe for their innovative projects and creative energy. Together with these amazing guest soloists who have performed with the Norrbotten Big Band on tour and on this recording, The Avatar Sessions is the culmination of a very special artistic journey."

The Avatar Sessions is the second recording project from Tim Hagans and drummer Peter Erskine. Hagans explains: “I’ve been a fan of Peter Erskine’s magical interpretive powers since we played together in the Stan Kenton Orchestra. When we worked together again on the CD Worth the Wait (Fuzzy Music 2006), I knew this collaboration had to continue. When I wrote the music for The Avatar Sessions, it was with Peter’s formidable talent in mind. He has the uncanny ability to dig deep into these multilayered compositions and, like no one else in the world, bring out the suspense and drive in the music."

Peter Erskine exclaims: “Tim Hagans is left of center and brilliant and hard to categorize!” Erskine describes the role of the drummer in this big band as being “in a lot of ways like the man driving the bus. ‘Everybody sit down and relax, you’re in for a good ride.’ But like Puck from Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, you create mischief, too.”

The Avatar Sessions’ seven tunes by Tim Hagans all derive from his improvisational melodic language. Hagans writes: “If you are truly an improviser, everything that you do, from the time you are born forward to that creative movement in which you find yourself, influences what you play. Then that statement becomes part of your creative history and influences the next thing you do. When I compose I draw from the mix of my musical experience. In writing for Big Band I have incorporated and orchestrated many events from my small group ensembles that have inspired me. My goal is to take that vibe -- that energy and immediacy – that one associates with a small group into my big band writing.”

Randy Brecker characterizes Tim Hagans: “He is not only great, but completely unique and that’s hard to find in the jazz world.” Dave Liebman expresses his thoughts on the music of The Avatar Sessions: “Tim Hagans has written tunes that are perfect for the Norrbotten Big Band, so its kind of like Duke Ellington used to do, he could really write for the particular people in his band and know what it would sound like before hand, and that’s an advantage, for the band and for the people who listen.”

The Avatar Sessions takes its title from Avatar Studios, where it was recorded in May 2009. The liner notes by Peter Josyph extol the energy and vibe of these studios and their 53rd street location as the focal point to which these celebrated American soloists and the Norrbotten Big Band, based in Luleå, Sweden, have journeyed to make music. Josyph concludes: “They are a proof and a promise: jazz has endured as one of the highest art forms, and its future is unlimited, unstoppable.”

The knockout hi-fi sound quality of The Avatar Sessions is the result of a collaboration between the stellar team of producer Bob Belden, recording engineer James Farber, and mixing and mastering engineer Richard Breen.

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