ABOUT THE ALBUM
Of the tunes on this album, the
oldest are Yoh, written in 1985 and Run Away, recorded in '95.
The most recent is Life is Good, written and recorded in 2007,
so this album has become a collection of songs spanning a period
of twenty years. My wife, Shirley has written lyrics to some
of my tunes and I've written some as well. I guess you could
say this CD is my singing/songwriting debut of sorts.
1) Life is Good
At the age of 60, I've come to understand the joy of living,
and that came out of me one day in this melody. This tune is
me as I am now, so I've put it on the album as the title song.
For those who were expecting jazz from me, it will probably
throw them off a bit, but this music is a part of me as well.
2) Wet Dog
This is a tune I wrote to play with Larry and Lenny. The title
came later when my wife commented one day that something smelled
"like a wet dog". I thought that was pretty funny, so I made
it the title. The star howler of this tune was recorded on a
walk one day. There's a story there, but more of that some other
3) Run Away (Winter Samba)
This tune was recorded when drummer Kazuo Yoshida was visiting
New York. Although he's Japanese, I think he has a really authentic
samba feel. I also appreciate greatly the not nearly well enough
known talents of Steve Sacks.
4) The Tree
There was a persimmon tree in my aunt's garden in Tokyo where
I grew up. When I think about her, I think about that tree,
and when I think about the tree, I think of her. It takes me
back to memories of my childhood and the love she gave me.
On piano - my friend, the wonderful Bill Mays. Yoshio "Chin"
Suzuki recorded the bass when he was visiting New York.
This is the oldest tune on the album. Sali Oguri is on background
vocals and after all these years, I asked my old friend T.M.
Stevens to play bass again. This tune ended up with three drummers
- Lenny White, Nathanial Townsley and another old friend Tony
6) On Greene Street
For many years I had a recording studio on Greene Street in
New York City's Soho. Although I had to let it go in January
of 2008, I have great memories of my experiences there and the
great people I met and worked with, so this is my ode to the
Monk and I were both born in October. I understand Libra's melancholic
tendencies and in a way, I feel close to him. Honestly, I wasn't
sure about putting this tune on the album, but I realized that
all these types of music on this CD are a part of me and I'm
not whole as a musician without all of them.
I suppose the Beatles represent the music of our generation.
Although they made so much wonderful music, it was so well done
that I never wanted to play any of it. This was an attempt to
expand the potential of this song and I do like the way it turned
out with the organ trio. I hope Paul McCartney will hear it
9) (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction
I decided to play this tune as a slow blues in two keys. I dedicate
this tune to the world's #1 oldest rock band, The Rolling Stones.
10) Another Christmas Song
When I wrote this tune, it reminded me of a Christmas song,
so that became the title. Organist Larry moved to the west coast
a few years ago, but I'd love to do a tour with this trio someday.
11) Gondola no Uta (The Gondola Song)
Some years ago, I produced 120 "jojouka" (old Japanese songs)
played on solo piano by New York jazz musicians. They were great
tunes, beautifully played, and that rediscovery of Japanese
music which I'd forgotten, inspired me. Gil Goldstein
recorded this song, and as I followed along, reading the lyrics
off the sheet music, I fell in love with it. I really like the
chord changes he used, so I used his arrangement for this tune.
Special thanks to Gil!
For Masuo's official fan website click HERE