The easiest thing about creating “The Streets of San Francisco”?  The song titles!  There were plenty of GREAT one-word street names – which as it were, turned out to be perfect descriptors for each musical piece.  I tried to “drum up” a musical sensibility for each song that captured the essence of being on a certain street in S.F. (some are obvious, some not so much).  And, speaking of which…how about ‘dem drums??  I was fortunate enough to land some of the world’s greats for this project including Chad Wackerman, Prairie Prince & Josh Freese.

It took me 2 years (January 2013 – January 2015) to complete this project, which is sort of ironic because I prefer working very quickly!  I had to develop patience for all of this to come to fruition, but I think getting it done right, and in the way I envisioned each song to sound from my head to the paper to the ears was completely essential.  Also, when you get the opportunity to work with this caliber of musicians…well, let’s just say…good things come to those who wait. ☺

The “Musical Project of My Life” (as I now affectionately call it) started off as a 5-song EP, and eventually transformed itself into 11 songs just as I was finishing up the original EP.  The ideas just kept flowing for newer songs as I continued solidifying existing ones.  But, I had to stop somewhere and try to complete this thing!  So hence, this aural document is where it stopped.  So, are “The Streets” jazz, rock, jazz-rock, fusion…umm, what is it exactly??  I personally would like to place it under the general category of “jazz,” although so much of what you hear crosses a variety of genres.  Is it “Grace”ful?  I tried to keep my mind very open to all musical ideas that popped in, and sang them into my phone, wrote music on napkins, whatever it took to capture things when inspiration struck.  As a whole, this is a musically dense recording; there are many moving parts that make it work and it is my hope that repeated listenings will reward the close listener.

Another interesting note here is the preponderance of vibes on nearly every song. The vibes sound essentially cured my little “countermelody problem;” it was the perfect sound to either double or harmonize the sax melodies or to hear other melodic/countermelodic ideas in some unique way.  I had used vibes before on previous projects, but never to this extent.  So, it’s an integral part of the sound of this recording, a snapshot of my musical life at this time.

Special thanks to the following that made “The Streets” possible: Sibelius composition software, Ravel Virtual Studios, Jim Moreland, Elizabeth Grace, Buck Down and Frank Mcilquham – for his initial help in rounding up some of these great players.  Very special thanks to the stellar group of musicians recruited for this project which helped create such an incredible canvas to paint my music on: Chad Wackerman, Josh Freese, Prairie Prince, Bob Luna, Mike Miller, Doug Lunn, Jay Terrien, Naomi Star Wackerman, Makoto Miyashita, Jenn Oberle, Iliana Rose and Jim Moreland.  Thanks to the unforgettable experience of being stationed as a member of the 6th U.S. Army Band at the Presidio of San Francisco, California where I played saxophones and bass (1992-1995) and which was the impetus for this ambitious project.  And kudos to the magical city of San Francisco for all of the (mostly) good memories and the inspiration.  After all, it was 20 years ago today…

Brian Grace

January 2015

 

Musicians on “The Streets of San Francisco” by Brian Grace

  1. Van Ness  (ASCAP) 5:20
    • Brian Grace – alto sax & tenor saxes, piano, rock rhythm guitar, vibes
    • Makoto  Miyashita – lead & rhythm guitars
    • Jay Terrien – viola
    • Bob Luna – rock organ
    • Doug Lunn – bass guitar
    • Chad Wackerman – drums
  1. Divisadero (ASCAP)
    • Brian Grace – tenor sax, vibes, harmonium, flute
    • Iliana Rose – piano
    • Doug Lunn – bass guitar
    • Chad Wackerman – drums
  1. Presidio  (ASCAP) 6:29
    • Brian Grace –tenor sax, piano, vibes, phased guitar, tambourine
    • Mike Miller – lead & rhythm guitars
    • Doug Lunn – bass guitar
    • Chad Wackerman – drums
  1. Larkin  (ASCAP) 4:31
    • Brian Grace – tenor sax, vibes, harmonica, strings
    • Bob Luna – piano
    • Doug Lunn –bass guitar
    • Chad Wackerman – drums
  1. Mission  (ASCAP) 6:54
    • Brian Grace – tenor sax, piano, bass, vibes, strings, other percussion
    • Josh Freese – drums
  1. Geary (ASCAP)
    • Brian Grace – acoustic & electric tenor saxophones, acoustic & electric guitars, bass guitar, keyboards, vocals
    • Prairie Prince – drums, shakers and “GEARY!” exclamation
  1. Ashbury (ASCAP)
    • Brian Grace – bass guitar, tenor sax, piano, strings, electric guitars, other weird sounds
    • Chad Wackerman – drums
  1. Lombard (ASCAP)
    • Brian Grace – tenor sax, piano, vibes, vocal
    • Mike Miller – rhythm & lead guitars
    • Jennifer Oberle – bass guitar
    • Chad Wackerman – drums
  1. Union  (ASCAP) 7:12
    • Brian Grace – tenor sax, piano, vibes
    • Mike Miller – lead & rhythm guitars, acoustic guitars
    • Doug Lunn – bass guitar
    • Chad Wackerman – drums
  1. The City (a Coda) (ASCAP)
    • Brian Grace – tenor sax, piano, strings, guitar, bass, vibes, harpsichord
    • Jim Moreland – drums
  1. Larkin – vocal version (featuring Naomi Star Wackerman on vocals) (ASCAP)
    • Brian Grace – tenor sax, vibes, harmonica, strings
    • Naomi Star Wackerman – vocals
    • Bob Luna – piano
    • Doug Lunn – bass guitar
    • Chad Wackerman – drums

Copyright 2015 by Brian Grace

All music composed, arranged and produced by Brian Grace

 

Engineered by Jim Moreland @ Live Oak Studio in Trabuco Canyon, CA

CD art by Buck Down

Photography by Elizabeth M. Grace

 

 

 

 

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