Somewhere in 2013 — unfortunately I can’t recall the exact moment or month but by logical deduction I’m pretty sure I started the whole thing in that particular year — I began working on a new Jazz Suite that I named Roots & Reflections, as part of Stage 6 of the NextSteps Series Projects.
I had an idea floating around in my head that materialized as Origin Alpha Prime, a 6/8 piece that functions as the center point around which I have composed the rest of the Jazz Suite. In the years that followed I wrote more songs in different styles — jazz waltz, swing, latin, funk, fusion — and gradually worked my way outward from that central theme, building and expanding on my Jazz Suite.
In the mean while I was also building my own company, writing books about the human nature (for instance ‘The Anti-complain Book | First aid kit for nagging and wining‘) and introducing myself as a public speaker and teacher, doing presentations and workshops all around the Netherlands and Belgium. And that explains the relative wide gap in time between Stage 5 (2010) and Stage 6 (2018). I started my company in 2010, you see, and went operational in april 2011, so I was quite busy. ‘A rolling stone gathers no moss’; no flies on me, you know, you have to keep going.
If you are curious about the other stuff I’m doing, please click here.
By the end of 2017 and the beginning of 2018 I had composed 32 songs and I decided that was well enough to work with. Parts 1, 2 and 3 of Stage 6 materialized in my head and gained traction. From the main package of 32 songs I recorded 24 concept working audio files to translate into sheet music (Part 1), recorded various parts of the Jazz Suite as solo pianist (Part 2) with the goal to ultimately select and record around 12 compositions as acoustic jazz trio (Part 3).
Part 3 of Stage 6 of the NextSteps Series Projects has recorded 12 compositions of the Jazz Suite Roots & Reflections as an acoustic jazz trio with Eric van der Westen on bass and Marc Schenk on drums. These recordings have taken place from the 14th through the 19th of April 2019 and that was one heck of a fun, creative and spiritual week, to be remembered for sure!
We ultimately managed to reach every target as set in the initial planning, recording all 12 compositions and thén some. It was an intensive but rewarding week. The creative spirit of Eric and Marc has added to my compositions all through the experience and we had a lot of fun too. It’s one thing to be composing and arranging your music on your own but it is quite something else to hear these compositions come to live and grow as you play together.
That’s what they call added value, creative energy, synergy, good spirit and all that other mother jazz (thank you, Frank Sinatra). One plus two equals many. It’s been good.
Being back in the studio with a jazz trio reminded me of the time when I was recording my first CD with an acoustic jazz trio back in 1996. The studio engineer at the time gave me some wise pointers. First of all, don’t — please don’t — release the sustain pedal of the grand piano the very second after your last note! Let it rest there for as long as possible, please. ‘Yes, sir. Thank you, sir’. This time, however, a had the free choice to violate that directive on occasion. Call it civil disobedience if you will. I call it captain’s prerogative.
Ssssshhhhhtttt! This time around I also learned that it is wise to also keep your mouth shut at the end of everything. Just be quiet for a while; give it a minute, see how you like it… 😉
Secondly, after all the creative work is done, take at least a few weeks of distance between the recordings themselves and the musical result. Don’t listen back to anything, not a single note. The work is done, go away, go be. Let it rest and refuel, reset, enjoy the memories and do something entirely different for a while. Because when you get back you will not only have taken your distance; you will look at the effort with ‘new ears’ and a different set of emotions. It’s quite revealing, I can assure you.
By the time it all had sunk in and I had listened to the various takes, I started down that familiar road again: listen, listen again, put it away for a short while, listen again carefully, choose, cast aside, edit, reevaluate and log it all meticulously. That information is then transferred back to the studio for editing, mixing and mastering. It’s just one paragraph to write it down here on this website but it is quite something else to get it all done. Luckily, it’s a lot of fun too. This is creative stuff, you know. It’s not ‘work’!
Jazz musicians Eric van der Westen (bass) en Marc Schenk (drums).
I am honoured to have played with two awesome jazz musicians: bass player Eric van der Westen and drummer Marc Schenk. Go check out their websites; their track record speaks for itself. It was great fun bringing this phase of my project together by materializing the Jazz Suite Roots & Reflections within the spirit it all started out somewhere in 2013.
All recording sessions have been done in Studio-Cube in Rossum, Gelderland, (check out their website) with many thanks to Arthur Theunissen (media composer, studio technician), Luuk Bergervoet (producer, studio technician) and Frans de Visser (designer, cameraman, editor) for their hospitality and craftmanship. Their energy and enthusiasm adds to mine!
Hans Keur Photography
The black and white photo’s on this website are made with dedication and passion by Photographer Hans Keur. Check out his website! He has been with me photographically since my first NextSteps Solo Project in 2000 and I am very pleased that he could find the time to capture alle the great moments in the studio and beyond. Hans, your black & white imagery matches mine all the way!
Full documentary of the NextSteps Projects Stage 6
All through Stage 6 various elements of this NextSteps Project are filmed by Frans de Visser and these video recordings have accumulated into a full documentary — a ‘the-making-of-NextSteps Projects Stage 6‘, if you will — that encapsulates all the hard work, creativity, cooperation and the love of music that pours out of every vain of everybody involved.
To view the original sheet music created for Stage 6 Part 2 and 3, the studio recordings solo and as jazz trio, please go to NextSteps Projects / Stage 6 Sheet Music (2019) or click here.
To listen to the digitally recorded Audio Concept Files for Stage 6 Part 2 and 3, the studio recordings solo and as jazz trio, please go to NextSteps Projects / Stage 6 Concept Audio Files (2019) or click here.
We recorded the following compositions from the Jazz Suite Roots & Reflections:
All songs are composed and arranged by Bart Flos unless otherwise indicated.
|01 Origin Alpha Prime (*)||7:19|
|02 My Explanantion||Fields, McHugh e.a., Arr. B. Flos||5:32|
|03 Free Speech||5:05|
|04 Minor Differences||5:29|
|05 Blues Buddies||4:43|
|07 A Slightly Purple Blue Bossa||4:19|
|08 Origin Beta Four||6:28|
|09 A Greener Shade of Blue||Comp. M. Davis, Arr. B. Flos||3:24|
|10 Can You See||6:33|
|11 Origin Delta South||4:03|
|12 My Explanation in Short||Fields, McHugh e.a., Arr. B. Flos||1:48|
|13 Four Conversations and a Monologue||5:37|
|14 Origin’s Roots Rested||3:34|
I’m very grateful to have worked with (1) such awesome musicians — Eric and Marc, it’s been great all the way and it has been a lot of fun to be working with you guys so intensively — (2) such dedicated technicians — Arhur, Luuk and Frans, many thanks for all the hard work; I wouldn’t have known what to do without you guys ‘doing the background’ — and (3) one hell of a photographer — Hans, thanks for being part of this journey since 2000; the results are bouncing off of every page of my website!
And last but certainly not least: special thanks to Yvonne Flos, my wife, friend and life companion, who puts up with me every single time I come up with yet another idea I have to do or a thought I just have to share, for all the hours and hours of playing and rehearsing on the piano, for all the listening to me talking about my endeavors fanatically and for the endless patience she shows. Yvonne, you’re the best!
And this is what the album of the Bart Flos Trio looks like: