Pieces of a Dream gets Back to Basics
In the age of digital technology, the art of assembling a handful of musicians in the same place and time to craft a live, organic recording full of creative interplay and artistic energy can be easily lost. But keyboardist James Lloyd and drummer Curtis Harmon, the founding duo and driving force behind the enduring contemporary jazz collective known as Pieces of a Dream, haven’t forgotten that the old school is still the place where some of the best and most enduring musical ideas are born.
Nearly three decades after their first recordings, Pieces of a Dream revisits their original approach to songwriting and recording with Soul Intent (HUCD 3136), set for worldwide release on Heads Up International. In many respects, the new album takes a back-to-basics approach, one that maximizes the most fundamental and enduring components of the Pieces experience.
“One of my main goals was to go back to the original approach to making a Pieces record,” says Lloyd. “The idea was to bring everyone into the studio at the same time so we could all work together in real time. A lot of people really get into that vintage sound from our first three albums, that period from ’81 to ’83. I figured if we went back to those old-style methods of recording and writing, then that element of vintage Pieces might show up in the music itself. It was an opportunity to bounce ideas off each other in a way that we could never have done had we recorded it separately. Five heads are definitely better than one.”
While there’s no denying the consistently high caliber of music generated by Pieces of a Dream over the course of their lengthy career, Soul Intent may be the most direct, back-to-basics experience of this enduring jazz combo in many years. “For this CD, the songs were recorded as the writers had originally intended them to be,” says Harmon. “They weren’t reworked and rearranged from their original intent and turned into something else. They weren’t tampered with. This recording as a whole portrays the intent of the writers a lot better than some of our past albums. As a result, the initial inspiration behind the songs comes across better.”
The intent is clear: a little bit of soul, delivered the old-fashioned way.