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In the spring of 2014, my college jazz band director, Dr. Steve Wright, led his farewell concert with the Gustavus Jazz Lab Band before heading into retirement. That concert inspired me to finally do what I had always wanted to do but feared I wouldn’t be able to pull off: record a jazz album.

I immediately set about composing pieces and recording rhythm section tracks, but I held off on recording horns until I could set up a suitable recording booth. A concept for the album coalesced around the fact that I had just turned 40 and felt I may be at or near the midpoint of my life. Half Life.

My goal became to complete the album before my 41st birthday in March 2015, and I just barely made it, with several long nights recording horn parts in February, and mixing and mastering in early March.

I went all-out with this one, playing multiple keyboard parts, electric bass and electric guitar. Not to mention shaking off the rust, both literal and figurative, on my alto and tenor saxophones, clarinet and bass clarinet, most of which I have not played for more than a few minutes at a time in nearly 20 years. I practiced etudes for two solid weeks to get back into shape before recording the woodwind parts.

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