Harry Skoler - Red Brick Hill | RECORD STORE DAY
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Harry Skoler - Red Brick Hill
Red Brick Hill
Artist: Harry Skoler
Format: CD

Details

Label: SUNNYSIDE
Rel. Date: 07/12/2024
UPC: 016728174824

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DISC: 1

1. Last Star, Last Night (prologue)
2. NanCee
3. ascent
4. blue, mostly
5. abyss
6. Last Star, Last Night
7. AppleHands
8. Beneath Bequeath
9. harbinger
10. here. still.
11. Red Brick Hill
12. furthering
13. still. here.
14. Last Star, Last Night (epilogue)

More Info:

Things of beauty can come from the release of one's traumas. Harry Skoler experienced the loss of a friend as a teenager, a passing that deeply impacted the clarinetist/composer and left an indelible mark on his person. On his new recording, Red Brick Hill, Skoler revisits the past and delivers the story instrumentally with an incredible array of musicians in an effort to cleanse his soul, keep his friend's legacy alive, and to, hopefully, help others with such burdens through the gift of music.Skoler grew up in a house his father designed at the top of a red brick hill. Though there weren't many children in their neighborhood, Skoler was able to develop deep friendships with a young girl named Nancy and a quiet, serious boy named Bill. When they were teenagers, Bill moved away from the hill but first brought Skoler a box of his childhood toys and trinkets. It wasn't until later that Skoler was walking with a friend and saw Bill's mother pulling into his friend's house.Curious as to her appearance, Skoler asked his friend about Bill. His friend told Skoler that he wasn't supposed to tell him anything. Pressing the friend, Skoler found out that Bill was dead. Running back to his house in a frenzy, Skoler dove into the past weeks' newspapers, only to find an article relating Bill's suicide. Devastated, Skoler received no solace from his parents and found that they had even asked that others not tell him of Bill's demise.The loss and the actions of those around him had lasting effects on Skoler. It was only through making music that he was able to deal with the loss and feel the spirit of his lost friend. Through time and with help, Skoler was able to confront his emotions and find appropriate outlets to express them. In 2022 Skoler began work on a new project and it was producer Walter Smith III who encouraged Skoler's decision to take the story and work it into a musical narrative.In August 2022, Skoler and his son went to New York City to record the album at Sear Sound. Prior to the session, Skoler told the story to which his son replied that Skoler should tell the ensemble that he and Smith had assembled, which included vibraphonist Joel Ross, bassist Dezron Douglas, and drummer Johnathan Blake, the story. The musicians listened to the story with empathy and promised to tell the tale through their playing. The recording evidences the ensemble's empathy, as the music highlights the ensemble's connection throughout.The recording is programmatic. Skoler first introduces his first friendship with "NanCee," a bittersweet theme song for his dear friend led by Ross's resonant vibes. The lovely ballad "Last Star, Last Night" reflects on how even though there are millions of stars in the sky, like people on earth, it may be that star's last moment, as Bill probably realized it was near his last moment when no one else could. The piece also features a touching guest appearance by pianist Christian Sands. "ascent" is the first of three duo pieces. This duet with Douglas represents Bill's walk up the hill with the box to deliver to Skoler. Marquis Hill adds his emotive trumpet to Skoler's strident clarinet frontline on the emotionally diminished "blue, mostly," while "abyss" is a thoughtful duo between Skoler and Blake, interpreting Skoler's frantic run up the snow-covered red brick hill upon learning of his friend's shocking loss.