What It Is
Lemel Music Productions is happy to announce the release of Noah Baerman's new album 'What It Is,' his third recording under his own name for the label and his first live album. The recording sprang forth from a very eventful day. On December 14, 2003, Noah celebrated his 30th birthday. His desire was to have a party to celebrate the day, particularly the joy of reaching that milestone still able to play the piano, in spite of his struggles with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS). His previous album, 'Patch Kit' (featuring Ron Carter and Ben Riley) focused on these struggles, and he wanted this one to be a more lighthearted and spontaneous affair. The plan was made to throw a party with friends and family on his birthday featuring a couple of sets with his trio, and to record the event. In spite of a flood and a blizzard, the party indeed occurred, and 'What It Is' documents some of it's musical highlights. Noah's previous recordings have emphasized original material, often composed specifically for the project in question. The repertoire on 'What It Is' represents a departure from that approach, instead presenting tunes typical of a performance by the Noah Baerman Trio. On the standard 'Sweet and Lovely' and the spiritual 'Wade in the Water,' the Trio dips into it's blues bag, while Baerman and company move in a more elastic direction on Wayne Shorter's 'Nefertiti.' Two of Noah's primary mentors are represented, thanks to the inclusion of the burner '518' (by Kenny Barron) and the mellow, Latin-tinged 'A Nice Clean Machine for Pedro' (by Ted Dunbar). Also represented is Noah's wife Kate Ten Eyck, who composed the swinging title track. Additionally, Noah interprets two standards alone at the piano, a tender version of the ballad 'You Don't Know What Love Is' and a playful, up-tempo rendition of 'The Theme.' The sidemen on the album are bassist Henry Lugo and drummer George Mastrogiannis, both regular collaborators with Noah for several years at the time of the recording. The chemistry is evident, as the trio moves as one through the varied moods represented on the album. 'I'm pleased to report that the final product is as exciting to listen to as the recording session was fun to watch . . . 'What It Is' is a pleasing document of what Noah Baerman has absorbed and created in his musical career. It's fun to hear the interplay of the trio, exciting to hear Baerman playing so well and good to know he's documenting his music.' - Richard Kamins, Hartford Courant.