This tune is a “Happy 2-feel song” along with a late 50’s “Jazz messengers hard bop”. When I think of this name “Eubie”, a nickname my mother called me when I was good, or she was proud. A smile comes to me and my heart warms. This was a carefree time in my young life where the important things were playing games with my cousin Dion Combs or avoiding the wrath of my older sisters. I hope you can envision the image of a young child skipping down a road to play with friends on a warm summer day.
This song brings together many elements of my neighborhood growing up. This street has so many wonderful qualities to it. While listening, I hope you are able to hear “A Gospel Choir singing in Church”, the element of the blues that all people experience growing up (especially if you’re from the country), family love, and hope for a bright future. Trinkaloe gave me all of that, and the courage to become the man I am today.
This song has a dual element of pop music and 60’s bebop swing. Going to Elizabeth City takes extra effort. Growing up, I didn’t leave the town often but when I did I really felt like traveled a great distance. The town is strategically located between the Great Dismal Swamp and the Albemarle sound (part of the Intercoastal Waterway). Elizabeth City is one of the many “Hidden Gems” of North Carolina that most people tend to miss.
Blue Crabs with A Side of Yock
I grew up occasionally helping my relatives sell produce out of the back of their pickup truck. To get people’s attention they would yell and sing the specific products for sale. This part of the country also has a few dishes that are difficult to find outside of the region. One of my favorites was Yock. This is spicy, slightly vinegar based noodle dish must have been brought back from the soldiers and military people and adapted as a staple dish for many local people. I compare it to the adaptation of Spam in Hawaii. Blue Crabs are another delicacy that many people from the Mid-Atlantic states enjoy. As a child, I wasn’t a fan of crabs, but I have grown to love nearly all seafood. Going back to Elizabeth City now, I’m always searching for the seafood that I avoided as a child and some great Yock. I’ve not had these two dishes as a meal yet, but I’ll try it soon. Sing the title when you hear the melody, I get a craving for Yock each time. Maybe you will too. Also, really listen in to hear Tymain’s rap. He is an incredible MC. He makes the lower eastern coastal town of Wilmington proud.
What'll I Do
This song has stayed with me for more than thirty years. I heard my little sister sing this song when she was in elementary school. I was deeply moved by the song and the big voice that came from that little girl. I’m sure that the passing of my mother less than 6 months earlier contributed to my level of awareness to the lyric from the song. I wanted to bring this classic love song from the 1920’s to today’s 2018 energy. Tymain is a genius at helping today’s music and hip hop lover hear the timelessness of Irving Berlin’s tune. I believe music must always evolve and develop. This song may carry a different meaning when you hear ALL the words, but everyone can relate.
The Early Light
This tune is a classic “Rhythm Changes” tune. The east coast is the first to see the sun rise each day in the United States. The colors of the sky during that time of day in Eastern North Carolina (looking across an open field, over the river, or the Atlantic Ocean) is really special. Enjoy the melody and solos from nearly everyone in the band the same as you would a morning sunrise.
North Carolina Indigo
This mellow and soulful ballad with a backbeat carries a hopeful melody that revisits the slow pace of much of North Carolina. North Carolina offers nearly all terrains (mountains, oceans, dense woods, rolling meadows and fields, etc.). When experiencing all of these terrains, the sky gives you different hues of the color blue. Appreciate the space and energy that this tune provides as well as the Indigo of a North Carolina night sky.
This is a tribute to all North Carolina musicians, especially John Coltrane, Percy Heath, Thelonious Monk, Max Roach, and Grady Tate. Many musicians possess an intense level of connection to a higher power, musically and spiritually. This song is an attempt to get you closer to that higher power, the end of each phrase takes you up musically and spiritually a little more each time.
Brandon Lee -Trumpet
I met Brandon nearly 20 years ago! He was a young hot shot player back then too! He and his friend Jamyre Williams (drummer) blew all of us away during that summer in Louisville, KY. I knew both would make serious impacts in the Jazz world, and they have! I was happy that Brandon moved to North Carolina to teach but understood when the “bright lights” and “musical call” beckoned him back to New York City, where he became a staple since graduating from the High School of Performing Arts in Houston, TX. I’m elated that Brandon was able to be a part of this concert and recording before returning permanently to NYC. I am still blown away by his playing and I think you will be too.
Annalise Stalls -Alto & Soprano Sax
I first met Annalise while she was an undergraduate Jazz student at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. I was her jazz combo coach. I always enjoyed her playing, original compositions, and arrangements. I particularly enjoyed an arrangement of “The Price Is Right”! Years later, she pursued a Masters degree from North Carolina Central University. While she was there, I heard her musicianship and compositional abilities grow significantly. Since completing her Masters, she has become one of the dominant players in the Southeast. Annalise does such an incredible job capturing the essence and energy of my tunes on this recording. Everyone at the concerts fell in love with her playing and stage presence.
Charles "Chuckey" Robinson -Piano
I met Chuckey at North Carolina Central University when he arrived as a freshman. If you know Chuckey, just seeing his name will bring a smile to your face. He is a warm, funny, and talented young man. As a musician, I have watched Chuckey get serious about becoming the best musician he can be. After completing his Bachelors in Jazz, he returned to NCCU to pursue his Masters and in Chuckey’s words “Grow as a musician from the only place that will push me in the way I need”. Chuckey brings the soul and swing that I needed for this concert and the songs I composed. He is becoming a musical force in the Jazz and Gospel music worlds. Can you hear both musical worlds when you hear him playing?
William Ledbetter -Bass
I present the “baby” of the band! I remember when that was my title, time sure does fly! I met this masterful young musician after he transferred to the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. I was drawn to his beat, tone, and commitment to swing when playing. He is also a seasoned player on several instruments (guitar, piano, and harmonica) and has “another life” as a Blues musician! I love the support and groove he provided on this recording. Although we have known each other for only a few years, when we begin to play, we lock in like we’ve played together for more than 10 years! I expect us to be the musical and rhythmic engine for bands for many years.
Prometheus Jenkins -Tenor Sax
This young man is an enigma. Although I have known him for what seems like 25 years, it feels like we are newfound friends. As a saxman, he has the ability to adapt and play authentically in nearly ANY musical style or genre. He can play like the most modern, current musician that blazes a new path of ideas for all to follow, while transforming to the essence of the jazz saxophone master for 60+ years ago, and everything in between. I am happy he was a part of the recording.
Dennis Figgs- Piano. This young man was literally a godsend. There is a very long story about the song “Extra East” and Chuckey’s traveling challenges that I won’t go into. Dennis came in at the 11th hour and did what a “Professional” does, make the bandleader happy by playing the music. He brought a soulful and swinging element on each tune he played. Thank you again for laying things down!
Jacinta "T". Dillard
I have known this young lady HER entire life! She is my baby sister and I love her. As a little girl, she always had a sweet voice and started singing solos in the church around 3 or 4 years old! She continued to sing and lead songs regularly. When I moved away to college, I didn’t hear her sing for a few months. Then our mother passed away unexpectedly. I went back to school to finish the year and returned home for the summer. I went to hear Jacinta sing at a school program and was astounded by the power and maturity as she sang. I guess both of us matured from our loss of our mother. I certainly saw life differently on many levels but hearing Jacinta sing Irving Berlin’s song “What’ll I Do” made me hear the possibility of the great singer that she has become today. Knowing that I was returning to my hometown to perform and record, she was the ONLY choice to sing this arrangement. This was her inaugural jazz performance and I hope we can perform together more.
This young man has a personality and stage presence that can’t be ignored. I was surprised when he enrolled in the Hip Hop class (general music) I teach. I had seen him nearly every class the previous semester! When I gave him the opportunity to freestyle in front of the class he did more than impress all of us who heard him, he instantly gained a room full of fans! He continued to visit the class each semester and would share his music and personal story with the class when I asked. His lyricism, delivery, and command of music when performing grew to the point that I HAD to include him on the concert and recording. Some of you may not see the connection of Jazz to Hip Hop, but there are so many connections if you open your mind and look for the similarities. I believe he will be a major artist of music that is known around the world. Keep your ears open to comprehend the truly masterful message that Tymain delivered on this recording.
I’m just a stick holder. I’m trying to make the elders of jazz, drumming, my family, and friends proud of the music I make.
Ok, a little more about this guy…
I’ve known this guy my entire life! He got serious about playing music and jazz while in college but didn’t really dedicate his life until after graduation. Daily study of the master musicians of jazz and the creators of the drum set revealed Thomas’ shortcomings and challenged him to raise his standard of drumming, music, and life. The years have gone by quickly and Thomas is still a student of music, but growth has occurred. He is no longer the baby of the band, but with age also comes the wisdom of playing what the music needs.