There is a community of people who practice and enjoy “vocal jazz.” I don’t belong to it ….. While I do sing in an a cappella quartet, and have a long history in vocal music, and know my flat nines from my raised elevens, I find many of the trappings of “vocal jazz” a little too much about “Wow!,look at us, we’re doing all this technically hard stuff with our voices …” and not enough about the songs themselves.
Fortunately, while all the members of Clockwork have complete card-carrying credibility in this community, they also go far beyond the genre. They honor the song! This record is complete evidence of that. True, some of the arrangements are demanding and require the consummate singing abilities that they all possess, but these same arrangements and performances never fail to capture the spirit of the song itself.
This record is at once playful, soulful, and precise. There is traditional vocal jazz excellence. There are jaw-dropping solos. There is stunning vocal-ese. There is fine rhythm section backing. There is an eclectic selection of songs ranging from Rhode Island to Radiohead, with detours to Cat Stevens, Dave Frishberg, Barry Mann and Cynthia Weill, Dr Seuss, Ani DiFranco mashed up with Herbie Hancock, Charlie Parker, a gut wrenching Hurricane Katrina tale mashed up with the Beatles, some creepy/ironic Steely Dan, even a traditional folk ballad.
Clockwork: Angie – Soprano, Juliet – Alto, John – Tenor, and Dave – Baritone – four diverse voices, four individual personalities, four histories in vocal music. What I’m struck by is how completely they have managed to form a “group” identity with this record, a blend, a sound that is reminiscent of great vocal groups of the past, but in the end truly their own.
Richard Bob Greene
David Lange Studios; David Lange, engineer, Edgewood, WA; davidlangestudios.com
WHIP Records; David Landon, engineer, Berkeley, CA; whiprecords.com
Phil Schroeder Music; Richard Bob Greene, engineer, Oakland, CA; philschroedermusic.com
Produced by: Trist Ethan Curless, Richard Bob Greene
Mixed by: Darren Rust, with Trist Ethan Curless & John Paddock, Skyland Studios, Lakeville, MN; skylandstudio.com
Mastered by: Bernie Grundman, Bernie Grundman Mastering; Los Angeles, CA; berniegrundmanmastering.com
Graphic design by: Angie Doctor
Cover Art: James Flora, untitled tempera on paper, ca. 1965. Courtesy JimFlora.com. Thanks to Irwin Chusid and Barbara Economon.
Music: Herbie Hancock
Lyric: Ani DiFranco
Vocalese Lyric: Juliet Green
Arrangement: Juliet Green
about the music
Another great lyric by Ani DiFranco that I’ve wanted to do for a long time, but never could quite find a way to make it work for Clockwork – until one day I was listening to Chameleon and the smash idea clicked.
Carry You Around Lyrics
How pleased, can one sun setting make you,
if you humble yourself to it?
And how grateful can you really say that you are,
just to be here and live through it?
And when beauty asks the question,
how often do you reply?
How often do you wonder about life on the other side?
Now imagine what loneliness can drive someone to do,
now multiply that times me, and multiply that times you
Have I mentioned what it would take to try to make this all happen again?
Just when you think you’re gonna cry, multiply that times ten.
Baby yes I feel you here, lingering in the syncopation
your soul is hiding in the off-beat.
Listen to samples of the songs on our CD right here. If you like it, please consider buying a copy either by download or an actual digipak CD with all the info and cool graphics.