"Under Sprague’s expert guidance, this septet seamlessly fuses jazz and classical music with grace and skill."
San Diego Tribune
"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."
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."
L.A. Jazz Scene
"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."
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.
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 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.
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.