Like all of the best things in life, Middle Blue came together naturally. Guitarist Brad Farberman, who had worked in ensembles led by William Parker and Rhys Chatham, was looking to make his next move—something funky; something with tunes; a tight band but not necessarily set personnel—and so he did the only thing that really forces a musician to take action: he booked a gig. And on May 27, 2015, Middle Blue was born, with two central players—bassist Danny Tamberelli of Jounce and bari saxophonist Dave Sewelson of the Microscopic Septet—already in the fold. Place, of course, can also be an influential factor when it comes to music, and no Middle Blue story is complete without mention of the site of that first show, Troost. A long, magical room in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, Troost became a monthly gig after that—it’s still happening, come on down—and Middle Blue discovered how to be Middle Blue there. They learned how to play funky without getting smooth; how to use rock energy but not drive out the patrons of a tiny, peaceful bar; and how to drop, say, Robyn’s “Dancing on My Own” before a long original or Alice Coltrane cover. And those are the principles they still operate by to this day. Be funky, a little punk, live in the present, keep it simple.
Keyboardist Jared Pauley joined Middle Blue in July and alto saxophonist Jeremy Danneman came on in August; things were taking flight. Gigs outside New York City were starting to materialize; a series of new compositions by Farberman was coming into view. The drummer never quite solidified—amazing players like Tim Kuhl, Mike Marcinowski, and Dave Miller have revealed the rhythm for MB—so when it came time to lay down Love Chords, the band tapped a hero: Headhunters drummer Mike Clark. It made sense: Clark had already done a few gigs with Middle Blue, and the music of the Headhunters, both with and without Herbie Hancock, had been huge for Farberman. And so with another friend of the band in tow, saxophone genius Jessica Lurie, Middle Blue brought Farberman’s fresh tunes into the studio. Love Chords were strummed deep into the night.
Release Date: March 16, 2018
Jeremy Danneman - Alto sax & Clarinet
Jessica Lurie - Tenor Sax & Flute
Dave Sewelson - Bari Sax & Sopranino Sax
Brad Farberman - Guitar
Jared Pauley - Fender Rhodes & Clavinet
Danny Tamberelli - Bass
Mike Clark - Drums
Songs by Brad Farberman.
Recorded on March 2, 2017, at the Ice Plant.
Engineered, mixed, and mastered by Wayne Silver.
Upcoming tour dates
April 4: Nublu (New York, NY)
April 5: The Falcon (Marlboro, NY)
April 6: Fox & Crow (Jersey City, NJ)
April 7: Ropeadope Room (Philadelphia, PA)