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"Under Sprague’s expert guidance, this septet seamlessly fuses jazz and classical music with grace and skill."
George Varga
San Diego Tribune
February, 2009

"As ambitious a recording project as jazz guitarist Peter Sprague has tackled, the first CD from his Peter Sprague Jazz Consort seamlessly-and, it seems, effortlessly- takes in both jazz and classical, recalling the heyday of efforts to marry the structure of European classical music with the free-wheeling improvisation of American jazz. Not just straddling what are generally considered disparate styles and traditions, but blending them into a new whole, Sprague and his colleagues have crafted their own entry in the short list of projects that have succeeded at creating a common ground."
Jim Trageser
North County Times
December, 2, 2009

“It is the inspired repertoire and Sprague’s arrangements along with his guitar that make this a particularly successful release. He displays his versatility in his solos and his writing keeps the music continually interesting and unpredictable."
Scott Yanow
L.A. Jazz Scene
December, 2009

"As on his 2008 disc, PS Plays Solo, Sprague is so technically flawless and versatile that the listener may tend to forget that he is one of the very best jazz guitarists out there. The use of a string quartet on an entire disc is also a stroke of genius; this music is different."
Erick Pettersen
San Diego Troubadour Newspaper
December, 12, 2009

The Wild Blue features my seven-piece The Peter Sprague String Consort group. It’s a gathering of two different worlds — a group comprised of a classical string quartet and a jazz trio. The two worlds come together to explore a soundscape rich in harmony riding on the rhythmic pulse of the Brazilian samba and jazz swing. We’ve played over 20 shows in the last 2 years and have a unique body of music that we've finally captured in my SpragueLand Recording Studio. Here's a little background. 

Back in the late ‘70’s I was 20 years old and a member of a unique ensemble led by pianist Butch Lacy. He had the idea of pairing up a jazz rhythm section with a classical string quartet—bringing together two different traditions within one group. Butch wrote most of the music and with this ensemble came my first experience playing with string players in a chamber music setting. I loved the blend and I was intrigued by the possibilities.

In the mid 1980's after hearing Chick Corea's group with Gary Burton and a string quartet, I decided to explore this style of music through creating a group of my own. I took some time off to study scores by Chick, Bartok, and Debussy and then set out to come up with a body of my own music. A central thought I was working with was to make the string quartet’s role in the group be front and center instead of operating the way I’d heard it done before in which the strings take a background string pad approach. Instead, I really wanted them in the middle of the hurricane carrying the melody and immersed in the syncopation.

After playing the concerts and fine-tuning the music during rehearsals this now brings us to the present with our first recording of the band. Bridget, Jeanne, Pam, Carter, Bob and Duncan have taken their amazing skills as musicians and combined that with their commitment and dedication and together I think we’ve created something very special. I’m thrilled to be in the loop with them exploring this new sonic territory.

Thanks for checking out our music.

Peter Sprague
August, 2009

The instrumentation is:
Peter Sprague — guitars and tamboura
Bridget Dolkas — violin
Jeanne Skrocki — violin
Pam Jacobson — viola
Carter Dewberry — cello
Bob Magnusson — bass
Duncan Moore — drums
and special guest on “Mahavishnu” — Ron Wagner — tablas

Produced by Peter Sprague
Recorded at SpragueLand Studios, Encinitas, CA on May 18, 19 & 30 2009
Recorded, mixed, and mastered by Peter Sprague at SpragueLand Studios
Art direction and design by Barbara Rix


The Songs

The Wild Blue
by Peter Sprague © 2009 (BMI) Satyam Music
This is the first piece I wrote with the idea of bringing a string quartet into the loop with our jazz rhythm section. The tune travels through all of these different worlds and eventually settles into a samba groove. I originally thought of this piece as the first movement in a three-movement epic but after I finally made it to the end I realized I pretty much covered what I had to say about the great Wild Blue. I refer to the ocean as the Wild Blue and it’s one of my favorite spots on earth.

The Beatles
by Peter Sprague © 2009 (BMI) Satyam Music
I grew up listening to the Beatles and more recently I’ve been revisiting their music through the enthusiasm of my 15 year-old daughter Kylie. It still sounds fresh and creative and for all they’ve done for world and I, I owe them this tune.

The Bomb Scare Blues
by Peter Sprague © 2009 (BMI) Satyam Music
We’d been playing this blues tune with the Consort over the last couple of years and it was a song existing without a title. Then, last September at a performance at Palomar College, our gig was cut short because some wigged out bohemian called in a bomb scare and the whole school had to be evacuated. We didn’t get to play the blues that day but at least we found a title for the tune that stuck.

Prelude Number 9
by Johann Sebastian Bach
arranged by Peter Sprague © 2005 (BMI) Satyam Music
This is Bach’s perfection from the Well Tempered Clavier. I first heard and fell in love with the piece from a record by the vocal group The Swingle Singers back when I was a young fellow. They sang all of Bach’s counterpoint on top of a swing groove and this gave me the idea for my arrangement.

Day Danse
by Chick Corea (Litha Music Co.)
Chick Corea has been a big influence on my music with his incredible abilities in both composing and playing. One of my favorite recordings of his is My Spanish Heart and this is where his tune “Day Danse” comes from. It’s a flamenco inspired piano conversation with a string quartet. For our version we’ve swapped out the piano for a guitar.

Karin’s Psalm
by Peter Sprague © 2009 (BMI) Satyam Music
I wrote this tune for my friend Karin Schalm many years back. It was the second big composition I wrote for the Consort and it explores a backbeat groove masterfully played by Duncan.

Mudra
by Peter Sprague © 2009 (BMI) Satyam Music
The traditional dancers of India tell stories with their hands and each of these gestures is called a mudra. My vision is that musicians tell stories with their hands too, and as we form chords and finger notes on our fretboards we’re sharing our secrets of sound.

The Duke
by Dave Brubeck
arranged by Peter Sprague © 2009 (BMI) Satyam Music
Dave Brubeck wrote this song for Duke Ellington and one of my favorite versions of this tune is the one that Miles Davis recorded on his Miles Ahead record. Gil Evans did the arrangement and I took some of his ideas and went my own way with it. I dedicate this tune to my father Hall Sprague who had the wisdom to keep the Miles record on constant rotation when I was growing up.

Mahavishnu
by Peter Sprague © 2009 (BMI) Satyam Music
I’ve always been interested in the music from India and when John McLaughlin teamed up with two Indian percussionists plus L. Shankar on violin to form his super group Shakti, their fusion of jazz and raga’s were a real inspiration to me. McLaughlin’s Indian name at that time was Mahavishnu and my piece launches from that sonic world that he and his band lived in.

Isfahan
by Chick Corea (Universal-MCA Music Publishing Div. Of Universal Music Corp.)
arranged by Peter Sprague © 2005 (BMI) Satyam Music
For all of our live shows we like ending the concert with Chick Corea’s high energy composition “Isfahan”. I heard Chick play this with his string group and I love the way he’s come up with a zillion different ways to travel from D minor to G minor.

Special thanks to these folks who have helped fund the Wild Blue project. We all really appreciate their support and enthusiasm.
Ben Saltzer and Jackie Nevelow
Sheila and Duke Kebow
Barnaby and Anne Finch
Alan Lasnover
Tad Parzen and Diane Sherman
Dave and Sara Matta
Jim Menders
Jim Enright
Kim and Leland Means
Richard Adams
Dan and Chris Rubesh

Ultra thanks to Stef and Kylie Sprague for all of your help and support.

Peter Sprague plays guitars made by Taylor Guitars, Andy Powers Instruments, Ibanez, Lynn Laviolette and Yuris Zeltins.
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The Wild Blue CD
Price: $15.00
 
Download The Wild Blue Album
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The Wild Blue
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The Beatles
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The Bomb Scare Blues
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Prelude Number 9
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Day Danse
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Karin's Psalm
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Mudra (Wild Blue)
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The Duke
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Mahavishnu (Wild Blue)
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Isfahan
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The Wild Blue sheet music (score and parts)
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The Beatles sheet music (score and parts)
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The Bomb Scare Blues sheet music (score and parts)
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Prelude Number 9 sheet music (score and parts)
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Day Danse sheet music (score and parts)
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Karin's Psalm sheet music (score and parts)
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Mudra (The Wild Blue) sheet music (score and parts)
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The Duke sheet music (score and parts)
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Mahavishnu Score (Wild Blue) sheet music (score and parts)
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Isfahan Score sheet music (score and parts)
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