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3 1/2 Stars out of 4!

"That San Diego's Geoffrey Keezer and Encinitas' Peter Sprague are world-class jazz artists can be verified in that both are regulars in singer Dianne Reeves' touring band. Keezer's previous recordings have revealed him as a modernist ---- all about the idea. Sprague began as an out-there modal player, over the past few decades he's revealed himself as a romantic at heart; the melody is everything.

Throughout the eight songs (Keezer and Sprague wrote four each), the two men come at the music in the model of a 1960s session ---- with Keezer sounding more than a bit like a young Monty Alexander, down to the two-handed attack on piano, and Sprague coming off as a bit of a harder-edged Wes Montgomery. Bassist Hamilton Price and drummer Duncan Moore fill out the quartet, and provide the perfect foundation: rock-solid beat, virtuosic fills when needed.

The playing is stellar throughout, often inspired ---- and, as with Bob Magnusson's recent release, presents Sprague out of his comfort zone, off exploring new musical territory ---- an always-rewarding experience for the listener, given how beautifully Sprague can play in any style, particularly when accompanied by a talent such as Keezer."

March 2, 2011
North County Times
Jim Trageser

Jazz pianist Geoffrey Keezer and guitarist Peter Sprague have teamed up to form a band that explores their unique vision of music. They both live in San Diego and have been playing concerts together over the last couple of years. This new recording is the first for the group and celebrates eight new compositions traversing the sonic environs of modern jazz, India and Americana.

In Geoffrey’s words:
Since moving to San Diego in 2006, I've had the fortune to collaborate with several world-class musicians who make their home in this lovely, sun-drenched seaside town. I first heard Peter Sprague performing with Billy Childs' jazz-chamber ensemble, and knew immediately this was someone I wanted to make music with. Peter's combination of beautiful guitar tone, original harmonic language and stellar sightreading skills, along with an easygoing surfer personality, make him a joy to work with. We formed this quartet in 2009, with SoCal guys Hamilton Price and Duncan Moore, as an outlet to play creative, energetic modern music without anyone having to ever get on a plane. Thinking globally, acting locally!

In Peter’s words:
I had known about Geoffrey Keezer and heard some of his beautiful recordings but never had the good fortune of hearing him play live or to meet him in person.  It was a special day in San Diego when the word spread that he’d moved here. He showed up one night at a concert where I was playing and right away I felt a kinship with him. Not only does he play up a storm but his way of playing, his way of living, is truly inspired. He carries a strong focus that is always in balance with a great sense of humor. He’s an improviser on all fronts and this to me is someone you seek out to collaborate with.

We put the band together and right from the start, creative musical moments were happening, new pathways for songs glued together with improvised interludes were emerging, and all of this executed around a similar vision of what music is. Hamilton Price on bass and Duncan Moore on drums complete this vision with their fantastic abilities and their enthusiasm for exploration. Our next move as a band was to make this recording that you’re now holding in your hand. Thanks for tuning in and I hope you enjoy it.

The instrumentation is:
Geoffrey Keezer — piano
Peter Sprague — guitar
Hamilton Price — bass
Duncan Moore — drums
Zach Harmon — tabla drums (3,6)
Erica Adams Ochoa —violin (6)

Produced by Geoffrey Keezer and Peter Sprague
Recorded at SpragueLand Studios, Encinitas, CA September 14 & 15, 2010
Recorded, mixed, and mastered by Peter Sprague at SpragueLand Studios
Photography and Graphic Design by Nadja von Massow (nadworks/Siula Grande Design)

“Geoffrey possesses a refreshingly open-eared sensibility in the modern manner, and he has more than enough virtuosity and sheer musical wit and intelligence to weave all of his apparently disparate strands of influence into an original and compelling whole.”
Time Magazine

"Sprague reaches for and grabs elusive chords from outer space as easily as most guitarist grab single-note blues riffs. As any of you who have heard Sprague would easily guess, he is, indeed, up to the task. While the playing here is certainly dazzling, the genius and beauty in his approach is that of always letting the guitar playing serve the music, not the other way around.” 

Craig Yerkes 

San Diego Troubadour

The Songs

1) Thessaloniki                                                                           
Music by Peter Sprague
Satyam Music (BMI)
Peter: “Thessaloniki” is a piece I wrote in my hotel room in Thessaloniki, Greece while on a Euro tour with vocalist Dianne Reeves. We’d been in full on travel mode for weeks and it was a real relief to have a day off in this beautiful town right on the Mediterranean Sea and explore some big intervallic moves on the guitar.

2) En Babia
Music by Geoffrey Keezer
Keezer Music (BMI)
Geoffrey: "En Babia" (Spanish slang for "spaced out") is a jazz waltz reminiscent of Wes Montgomery, and is loosely based on the form and chord changes of the Eagles' "Hotel California", a song I hear almost every day.

3) India Zach
Music by Peter Sprague
Satyam Music (BMI)
Peter: Geoffrey had the idea of bringing in Zach Harmon for a few tunes on this recording and I jumped at the chance to write a piece that centered around his tabla drums. “India Zach” shares the imagery of a train ride through India and all the wild things you’d see looking out the window.

4) Mill Creek Road                                                                              
Music by Peter Sprague
Satyam Music (BMI)
Peter: I played a few gigs in Missoula, Montana and fell in love with the pace that this place operates at.  I imagine “Mill Creek Road” at the outskirts of town, safely guiding its travelers to wholesome C major chords with wide-open space next to a grove of Rocky Mountain juniper trees. 

5) Durga’s Hammer
Music by Geoffrey Keezer
Keezer Music (BMI)
Geoffrey: "Durga's Hammer" is dedicated to my wife, who embodies qualities of the feisty Hindu goddess and likes to build things. I imagine Durga coming home from a long day of slaying demons, donning a tool belt and setting to work building cabinets or putting up some drywall.

6) Etendue
Music by Geoffrey Keezer
Keezer Music (BMI)
Geoffrey: "Etendue", originally a ballet term, is the name of a sculpture by artist Richard MacDonald for which my wife Susan modeled as a young dancer in Sacramento. It's kind of a juxtaposition of pseudo-raga with a Dave Matthews-esque chorus.

7) Moot Point                                                                                       
Music by Peter Sprague
Satyam Music (BMI)
Peter: “Moot Point” was a fun tune to write and I like Geoffrey’s comment on it. He said, “It’s like a forgotten Art Blakey chart but someone stuck a 5/4 section in there.” Cooking!

8) Nightfall on the Serengeti
Music by Geoffrey Keezer
Keezer Music (BMI)
Geoffrey: "Nightfall on the Serengeti" was originally recorded in 1992 on my album Other Spheres as "Serengeti Stampede". Our new version is slower, freer and more cinematic – picture little animals scurrying around for cover while the big cats sharpen their fangs for the night hunt.

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Mill Creek Road CD
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Download the Entire Mill Creek Road Album
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Thessaloniki
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India Zach
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En Babia
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Mill Creek Road
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Durga's Hammer
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Moot Point
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Etendue
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Nightfall on the Serengeti
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Thessaloniki Score sheet music
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