October 25th CD release for "Bookmarks", the third recording from Stick soloist Brian Baggett
by Brian Baggett - Chapman Stick soloist
September 26, 2018 in Artist News
On October 25, Chapman Stick soloist Brian Baggett releases Bookmarks, the third full length recording from Saskatchewan’s 10-string veteran. This 45-minute album contains Baggett’s reinterpretations of various jazz, rock, and pop standards, plus three original compositions.
The Chapman Stick is an electrically amplified, two-handed “touchboard” stringed instrument invented by Emmett Chapman in 1974. It is played with a finger tap style. No strumming needed.
Each track on Bookmarks represents a different era from Baggett’s 22 years as a Stick performer. Reinterpretations of music like John Coltrane’s “Naima”, Pat Metheny’s “Bright Size Life”, The Who’s “Behind Blue Eyes”, and Mason Williams’ “Classical Gas” demonstrates respect for the original recordings while showcasing a different perspective for each piece.
Recorded in a raw style, gently nodding towards 1930-50’s jazz records, Bookmarks is subtly edgy and purposely unpolished. Baggett explains, “During the recording process, I instructed engineer Orion Paradis (SoulSound - Regina) to leave some open microphones in the room to catch random nuances, such as me singing along with whatever melody I was playing. These open mics, of course, also caught undesired noises like: chair squeaks, moans, sloppy string flubs. We left it all in the mix, warts and all. It makes the character of this record.”
Bookmarks is a dramatic departure from Baggett’s previous recordings. Both First Contact (2016) and Warfare (1999) were each an hour long journey through complex, original compositions. Bookmarks is lighter fare, yet still roots itself in the arena of exploratory music. “It’s more like thumbing through a beloved family photo album as opposed to reading a deep novel.”, says Baggett. “Each track is a snapshot of an era in my own musical life.”
Three of Bookmarks’ tracks are Baggett’s compositions. Of those three, “What Has Been Will Be Again” and “Listening and Waiting” are re-recorded pieces from Warfare (1999), Baggett’s first album as a new and upcoming Stick player. “Bookmarks is a cover-song album. So it’s OK to cover myself,” he says. The opening track “We’re Where We Were” is the only new original composition of Baggett’s on Bookmarks. It’s a piece that tries to capture musically the pride that people hold when treading old ground while assuming they have forged a new path. “In other words, music about going in circles. Or going nowhere”, Baggett ponders. “This is the same theme that ‘What Has Been…’ is based on, thus both pieces about treading old ground are included on this album about treading old ground by performing others’ music.”
Bookmarks will be available on iTunes Oct 25. Pre-orders, downloads, and physical CDs are available at brianbaggett-chapmanstick.bandcamp.com and brianbaggett.ca
Bookmarks release tour:
November 8: Regina at Creative City Centre with Brodie Moniker
November 23: Saskatoon at McNally Robinson (solo)
December 1: Fort Qu'Appelle at the QVCA (Qu'Appelle Valley Centre for the Arts) with The Stillhouse Poets