Twin Cities Suite
In the fall of 1995, I would get off work, drive down, park my car and walk in the fading autumnal afternoon along the west bank of the Mississippi river, so close that sidewalks flooded when the river was high, up off the river by Ted Mann to Ferguson hall, all stacked rectangular blocks, into the front door, down the concrete steps, and into the basement, one beginning of the underground labyrinth connecting the University of Minnesota on the West Bank campus. Another right, then a left, and I would glide down a dimly lit carpeted tunnel. Opening a heavy metal soundproofed door revealed painfully harsh flourescent white light reflected by white soundproofed walls and a white floor; no windows, clinical, devoid of romance. Room 3. I was working part time and taking classes in order to meet young musicians, the kind who are still willing to play for the hell of it, who want to make music more than (or at least as much as) money, and have the luxury of time to do so. Meet them I did, in room 3. All (school) year long we played together. Inspired by a regular group, I started to write tunes for our sextet, as did others. I remember showing 'Saint Paul Strut' to Jess, and asking him if it was even worth trying to play, or if it was too boring. That was before I learned I don't know a song until I lay it on a group and see how they shape it, editing them in real time. By the end of the year, we were a band. We knew each other, even if we didn't always agree about music. We won an award at the University of Wisconsin Eau Claire jazz festival in 1996. Better yet, one of the judges, Charlie Byrd, said, 'Where's your CD? I'll buy it.' 1996 was the end-- most band members graduated, scattered to the winds: Arizona, Manhattan, Ohio, gigs, jobs. I was not pursuing a degree, but I 'graduated' as well, with my 'class.' Just before everyone left, I managed to juggle our schedules into the studio for two days, where we recorded straight to 2 track for speed and budget. I also managed to scare up a mastering studio, and a graphic artist (replaced by me for this reissue). Dudes, wherever you are, I wish you well. I hope you still make music more than (or at least as much as) money. If you want to jam, come on by. I've got a house now, with a piano, and I've written some new tunes. -Dan Frankowski.