Jeff Albert – trombone
Ed Barrett – guitar
Recorded December 2, 2005 in Mandeville, LA by Jeff Albert
I first met Ed Barrett at the University of New Orleans, in 2000 or 2001. Ed was in graduate school, I was an adjunct instructor on the music faculty. Part of my duties included serving as the de facto house engineer in the recording studio. I did a trio session that was led by Ed. One of the compositions consisted of pictures of bicycle races that the band played to or with or against. It turned out to be very interesting music. That was my first clue that Ed was into some “other” kind of stuff.
A couple of years later, Ed and I ended up in a weekly rehearsal group with Jimbo Walsh (bass), and Dave Cappello (drums). The original concept of the group was that we would all write material for it, and we would meet weekly to play our tunes and possibly record. It eventually became known as “The Giggles.” We played a few gigs, and I think Jimbo has some recordings of those sessions floating around somewhere. We met mostly weekly for probably about 9 months, and it was a great growth experience for me.
Fast forward another year or so.
Hurricane Katrina completely flooded Ed’s St. Bernard Parish home. He and his wife rented a house in Mandeville, while they began to sort out their scene in St. Bernard. Ed teaches in Mandeville. On Friday December 2, we met for lunch, and to play some music. The lunch was very good. We ate at this great West Indian restaurant in Mandeville. Then we went to the school where Ed teaches to play for a while. I brought the laptop and some mics, just in case. What you hear on “Duets Vol. 1” is the result of that session.
This music is sort both directly and indirectly informed by Hurricane Katrina and her aftermath. Much of our conversation that day was about storm damage, and evacuation stories, and a cat that lived through the storm and the next few weeks alone in St. Bernard Parish. Much of the creative music scene in and around New Orleans has been stunted as a result of the storm, so this session was a great release for both of us.
I wrote the melody “504 No More…?” the day I turned off my New Orleans cell phone number. It hadn’t worked for almost 2 weeks, and I wasn’t sure if it ever would. At that point, about 2 weeks after the storm, I didn’t know if there would ever be any one in New Orleans to call a 504 number anyway. We played that melody twice at the session. Once right at the beginning, and once later. They each ended up being quite different, so they are both included.
“Free Melody 1” and “Free Melody 2” were things I wrote the night before the session, to serve as improvisational instigators. The other pieces were all spontaneously born at the session.