Album "Gin & Heptatonic" by my band The Heptatonic Jazz Quintet

Now available on the big streaming services.

Gin & Heptatonic cover

(I promise to go back to writing about RDF and related technology with my next entry, which is tentatively titled “Reification is a red herring: you don’t need property graphs to assign data to individual relationships.”)

Along with the jazz bass playing that I’ve been working on since 2003, I’ve written a few jazz tunes to try with the people I played with, so I recently got together some of my favorite local musicians and recorded an album of these songs. As soon as I told my wife that I planned to call the band “The Heptatonic Jazz Quintet” she suggested calling the album “Gin & Heptatonic”, and I couldn’t argue with that. (A heptatonic scale is a scale with seven notes, like most scales in Western music. And of course, beginning with “hep” makes it a great name for a jazz band. I was thrilled to grab the domain name for only $12.) The music is mostly hard bop, swing, and variations on those.

My brother Peter produced the album and did the excellent Prestige and Blue Note-inspired front cover using a picture that I found in a Flickr search for Creative Commons CC BY 2.0 images. I did the back cover myself with a deep dive into GIMP. (On the topic of open source Linux-Windows-Mac software that played a role, I love the MuseScore scoring program and used it for lead sheets, MIDI demos, and horn arrangements.)

Two songs have lyrics. I knew that the album’s closing song “Let’s” required greater lyrical skills than I was capable of, so for that I called in my old New York music friend Philip Shelley. His illustrious musical career included the production of a demo of the last serious rock band I was in many years ago, and he wrote a song on the other demo. (You can read more about my limited New York rock career in an older blog entry.) Because no one in the quintet had any singing ambitions, for those two songs we got special guest Dick Orange, a popular local singer who specializes in “the great American songbook”, which generally means songs made famous by Frank Sinatra.

It was interesting to learn about the current infrastructure of getting music out where people can hear it. A former business partner of my brother’s recommended TuneCore, so I had them print a hundred CDs and, more importantly, take care of the music publishing administration and distribute the album to Spotify, Tidal, Amazon, Apple Music, iTunes, and other services. (I can’t provide you with Apple Music or iTunes links to the album; just search for “heptatonic” from inside of your favorite Apple walled garden.)

So if you like jazz, please check out the album and “Like” the band’s Facebook page. If you’re in the Charlottesville Virginia area on June 1st, come to our CD Release Party at Cville Coffee, which has wine and beer in addition to coffee.

And I promise: next I’ll go back to blogging about triples!

Heptatonic Jazz Quintet with Dick Orange