I'm Glad There Is You
About "I'm Glad There Is You"
Bio & Discography
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I'm Glad There Is You
The new album by Masuo

ABOUT THE ALBUM

I recorded this album in March of 2009, at my brand new “Kakinoki” studio. Bill Mays, had introduced me to the area in 2001, where I eventually found a home and built the studio. To record this - my second album for the Sunshine Ave. Label - a duet was most convenient with Bill living just five minutes away.

It goes without saying that I respect Bill as a musician, but he’s also one of the people I respect most as a human being. His devotion to music, always striving to make himself a better musician, is an inspiration, but he also manages to enjoy every day to the fullest. He says he learns at least one new tune a week and practices it in every key. There’s a lot I can learn from his way of living life.

My association with him goes back more than twenty years, since the days of my JazzCity Label when I was producing at my recording studio in New York. At that time, he played on many of the projects, but it's only in the last few years that I've been able to work with him as a musician. He’s extraordinary - an amazing piano player, composer and arranger, who can cover a wide range of musical styles with equal dexterity and heart; and he's exceptionally easy to work with, always putting 100 percent into everything he does. As a producer, these things always made me think of how much I’d like to play with him sometime. Through this recording, that dream has come true.

When we started the recording, I didn’t have specific ideas about what the music would be, so we mostly recorded tunes that Bill brought in. They’re mainly standards, but since I wasn’t familiar with most of them, they were fresh to my ears and a real challenge. We played without much planning. It was like playing a gig with someone for the first time - really exciting playing as just a duo. I think this setting took us to a place beyond our usual comfort zones to uncharted territory. I know it did for me.

After finishing the recording, we toured in Japan, and having that chance to grow and get to know each other better musically, I feel we’re already on a different level now, so I’m thinking of this CD as the Masuo/Mays Project – volume 1.

About the Tunes

Since this album is as much Bill as it is me, I wanted to include his thoughts and comments on the tunes along with mine.

1) I’m Glad There is You
We started this Jimmy Dorsey tune from the verse. Bill says there are only two kinds of verses – good ones and bad ones. This is a good one, and the tune has a really nice lyric too. A true romantic, Bill recited it to his wife on their wedding day. For this album, the title describes my feelings for Bill as well.

2) Part Of The Deal
I wrote this tune in about five minutes while I was practicing a few years ago. Bill thinks it sounds like a Sonny Clark tune.

3) People Time
This tune’s composer, alto saxophonist Benny Carter, is one of Bill’s favorites. To me, it seems kind of continuous and endless - a strange kind of wondrous tune. I really like the relaxed tempo.

4) Chi Chi/ Sippin’ at Bells
When I heard an ensemble Bill plays with called the Inventions Trio, playing Bill’s arrangement of Sippin’ at Bell’s and Dance of the Infidels simultaneously, I really liked it and thought Chi Chi would go well with Sippin’ too.

5) The Folks Who Live on the Hill
When I was playing with Sonny Rollins, along with Look For The Silver Lining, this was my favorite tune. It has an interesting form, with an odd number of measures in each section. In some places, we’re using Bill's arrangement, with a different harmony than the original.

6) Blue Daniel
Frank Rosolino, who wrote this tune, was one of the greatest trombonists ever, and Bill was lucky enough to have had the chance to play with him while living in Los Angeles. The version of this tune I know is played by Cannonball Adderly’s band. It’s a delightful, simple waltz with a repeat of fourteen bars.

7) Madrugada
Bill wrote Madrugada a few years ago at around 5:30 in the morning on the Island of St. Barts. The title means morning sunrise in Portugese. A beautiful tune.

8) Wonder Why
Bill was introduced to this tune by Doug Ramsey, a music critic. Doug’s friend, pianist Jack Brownlow, arranged the intro and ending. This was a new tune, even for Bill.

9) Fall
This is one of Wayne Shorter’s classic pieces, made famous when he was a member of the Miles Davis band. In contrast to everything else on the album, this tune is less Beboppy – more open, spacious and moody. Trading choruses wasn't planned, it just happened that way, and felt more like a conversation than a tune with individual solos.

10) Get Out of Town
Bill says this is one of Cole Porter’s hippest tunes. It goes from minor to major and then back to minor and has very daring interval jumps for a tune from that time period. It also has a wonderful lyric that Bill sometimes sings.

11) Young and Foolish
I had never heard this tune, but Bill says almost everyone's recorded it. Because it’s been done so often, Bill brought in a tricky reharmonized arrangement. He calls it a little harmonic smoke-and-mirror play! I feel a Bill Evans/Jim Hall mood when I listen to it.

Going from producing back to playing in 2008, I spent a lot of time touring in 2009, and feel I’m now back once again, to being a working musician. I want to thank all the fans who have come out to listen, and the friends and club owners who have given me the chance to perform again. For them as well, the title of this album, “I’m Glad There Is You”, is especially appropriate now.