"It’s always fun to play with another musician who has such a complete sound world. Often, I pair my bass happenings with top line instrumentalists, or singers, or ‘people who do one thing really well’. But with musicians like Neil, who could oh-so-easily fill all the space in the musical landscape with their own incredible collection of sounds and ideas, the concept of ‘negotiated space’ is all the more key.
And it’s one where mutual respect is VITAL for it to work at all. Without that shared sense that the other person will add something bigger, better and more profound to your ideas that you could on your own, it becomes a fairly futile struggle for ego supremacy. And if we’d gone there, I’d have lost, spectacularly. Neil’s musical skill set is mind-boggling. It would be intimidating if he weren’t such a generous and willing collaborator. None of that ‘cutting heads’ jazz-machismo nonsense, more a total commitment to finding the best outcome from our pooled musical resources. His best was to provide context for what I was doing. And vice versa. One tune from our brief time playing together has already surfaced, on the live album that Lobelia and I released after the tour. A beautiful, fragile, ballad duet, where Neil’s synths provided a canvas for me to paint melody on.
Hidden Windows is an altogether more robust affair, transitioning through multiple sections, drawing on myriad influences, and featuring some marvelous ‘journeying moments’ - those magical bits of music that happen as we both edge forward into a new section of improvised goodness, unsure of quite what’s going to happen, but trusting in the power of serendipity and each others musical experience and taste!
It always a pleasure to play with musicians one respects, and it’s always a great lesson to play with musicians who can do things with their instrument that I could only dream of. Neil’s prodigious talent is always at the service of the music, his unique musical vision steers clear of gimmickry and just keeps creating fresh ideas.
I hope we get to do it again soon, but until we do, enjoy Hidden Windows."
- Steve Lawson
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"It’s not every day I come across a fellow musician who plays almost exactly what I already hear in my head, but when that happens I tend to want to align myself with them at once. Let me clarify: The part of Steve Lawson’s playing that coincides with my “inner Bassist” comprises about a 10th of a percent of his apparent musical Universe. His skill is extraordinary - his approach becomes nothing less than a modern orchestral concept with a seemingly never ending variety of sounds, textures & musical ideas at once both experimental and finely crafted. In short: a Master Improviser.
Into this amazing ocean of musical material I cast myself, and I must confess it took me a moment to find my bearings. But having done so, the vista that became available for musical exploration is magnificent. In addition to his many talents as a well-known writer of all things music related, and his staunch support for Social Media (Twitter is how we met, after all) Steve Lawson is a true innovator – always searching, exploring. I’m honored to get to “go on the ride” and look forward to the thrill of future collaborations."
- Neil Alexander
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