Saturday, May 28, 2011

The Children of Mu

After the demise of Dafrebos, which was at the same time very sad and angering, I wasn't about to sit by and let all of the momentum die off from the many hours spent recording and working on something.  Though the songs we recorded were never finished and what was almost finished was disappointing to say the least the details of Dafrebos' fall from grace is a whole other blog post.

As soon as the word was official that we were calling it quits, I went to work in putting together, or re-putting together an idea I had back in 2008- The Children of Mu.

In the summer of 08 I put together a variety of musicians from the usual channels, world of mouth, craigslist et cetera.. with the vision of creating an ensemble of musicians who could play along with me in creating something somewhat akin to late 60s, early 70s Miles Davis aka Bitches Brew era.

My reasoning for this was not to copy what miles was doing at that time, but to look into this concept and try to expand and explore it more. Now, I know what most people would say here is that it has already been done and it is called "fusion". Well, I would have to disagree.

What Miles was doing on albums like Bitches Brew, Live Evil, Dark Magus to my ears sounds wholly different to what became known as fusion. The other bands besides Miles who were being classified in that genre became synonymous with ultra extended wanking guitar solos, giant monster triple bass drum drum sets, keytars, and mullet sporting Berklee graduates whose idea of music is trying to fit as many notes into a single measure that is humanly possible.

Miles, and possibly very early Weather Report (who happened to share some Bitches Brew alumni) were doing something not like this at all. It was hard to describe. It was rhythmic, dark, intelligent, spontaneous, primal and very very moody. I feel that this sound actually fell through the cracks when Miles went into temporary retirement in 74, and when he came back was no longer doing it, and neither was anybody else.

So in 2008 I put together a group of guys and played one gig at Cafe Bohemia here in St. Pete to some success. The crowd was very responsive and liked what we did a lot. And over all I think there were good moments, but could have been better. Not everybody who was involved at that time seemed to really be on board with what was going on, and some weren't really able to push the boundaries  or connect in the way that I would have liked. There's a lot of grooves where the bass just falls apart early or doesn't keep up for long enough. There were some listening issues at times and some weird vibes too,  so I didn't pursue it much after that one gig.

Dafrebos took front burner for a time as well as the recording of my last solo album, Coruja. I finished Coruja and Defrebos fizzled out, so I started rethinking the Mu project. Gonzalo, who played percussion with me in Dafrebos, and I had developed a very good connection in the past couple years and I knew I wanted him involved. Jeremy Powell, who was in the first Mu lineup on sax, and who had collaborated with me on several other projects was one of my first choices as well.

One of the hardest things to find in this area is a good bass player. But I finally located one who understands the concept, as well as has technical skills and ability to improvise in Adam Deimling. Ironically he was the Bassist for Mants, who was Josh and Alan from Dafrebos' old band.

So in the recent months I've been inviting people over to the Anthill in varied groups and recording improvisational sessions with some amazing results. I've been sticking purely to drums in these sessions. Adam Deimling on bass and Gonzalo Ovelar on percussion have been involved in the majority of these sessions as well.

There has been a very talented rotating cast that includes Jeremy Powell, K Paul Boyev & James Bess (of insect joy), Kevin Wilder, Rex Shepherd and others. There's also been talk with older band mates from Lincoln, The Fun and The Boom possibly making it down to partake in some of these sessions.

Some of the most recent recordings are meeting and even exceeding my expectations and are some of the best improvisational recordings I think I've produced to date.

So what now? The new Children of Mu recordings are going to be scrutinized by me over the summer as I compile them together into an album's worth, or possibly double album's worth of material to be released this fall. We may even play gigs if the right opportunity presents itself.

Check out the original Children of Mu show live audio recording from 2008 below. Despite it's shortcomings, there are still some really good moments.

Justin Wierbonski - Drums, Jeremy Powell - Sax, John Richardson - Keys, Rick Adams - Bass, Ivan Ftorek - Percussion