- D.D. Jackson - acoustic piano/composer
- Dafnis Prieto - drums, percussion (tracks 6 & 9)
- Ugonna Okegwo - acoustic bass
- Freddie Bryant - acoustic guitar (tracks 2, 9); electric guitar (track 3)
- Christian Howes - acoustic violin (track 9); acoustic violin/bass violin (track 6)
All compositions written, arranged and produced by D.D. Jackson.
Thank-you's and dedication
Thanks to Ugonna, Dafnis, Christian and Freddie for your great musicianship; Brett Allen, Jamie Begian and my other NY friends for your helpful input; Jason Lee, Sylvain, Anthony, Terence and the Hong Kong Jazz Club, Carmen Intorre, Greg Piontek, Mark Goldman, Omer Avital, Dale Fitzgerald and the Jazz Gallery for trial runs; Jenny Barriol, David Gonzalez and Sam Newsome; Zoey and the Hit Factory; Jim Anderson and Alan Tucker for the superb sound; Howard for your effortless words; Liz ("Elisabetta") Moglia; Jim West and everyone associated with Justin Time Records; my late mother and brother Chris for your life inspiration and, as always, my father Richard and brothers Shaw and Charley for your constant loving support.
This album is dedicated to the newest addition to my family circle, Elayna Mei Jackson, and to her parents Shaw and Janine.
- D.D. Jackson
Liner Note Excerpts (by Howard Mandel):
The young veteran pianist-composer-bandleader D.D. Jackson comes home with Sígame -- pronounced "SEE'-ga-may," and meaning "follow me" in Spanish -- not that he's ever drifted very far away. But after two high-concept albums recorded and released within a year by the on-again, off-again jazz department of RCA Victor (part of BMG Classics, "a unit of BMG Entertainment," itself a division of the German corporate giant Bertelsmann Group), Jackson's return to the independent Canadian label Justin Time, which recorded his first four albums starting with Peace-Song in 1995, marks his decisive re-focus on what's basic to his music-making: the music itself.
"I'm always working to achieve a balance of my several forms of expression," says 34-year-old D.D. (a Chinese term of affection, meaning "Little Brother"). "And the fact that on the very day I found out I was no longer going to be what I thought of as a 'major label artist' I rushed home and wrote all the pieces at the core of this album tells me very clearly I felt a tremendous sense of creative liberation at the turn of events. I knew I could now proceed intuitively, my creativity not subject to administrative considerations or other external forces."
Consequently, Sígame is a naturally coherent and cohesive, organically varied program, growing out of musical relationships Jackson has developed with Christian Howes, the brilliant violinist prominently featured on Anthem, his just-previous CD, as well as other newly emergent talents of his own generation on the New York scene: drummer Dafnis Prieto, bassist Ugonna Okegwo and guitarist Freddie Bryant. "I wanted this to be a true acoustic album," D.D. relates, "with an intimate texture, but a sense of adventure, too, with more emphasis on my piano playing. I didn't want it to be completely over-the-top, or completely introspective. Because I'm always open to different musics and was going to work with Dafnis, I decided to explore the 'Latin tinge,' channeled through my own sensibility. And I believe that after 10 albums" -- a count that includes three Justin Time releases in collaboration with baritone saxophonist Hamiet Bluiett: Same Space and Join Us featuring Senegalese percussionist Mor Thiam, and The Calling, with Chicago percussionist Kahil El' Zabar -- "I have more confidence, more maturity towards adapting my influences into my own thing and incorporating textures I haven't used before.
"For instance, Sígame remains basically a piano trio album, but after writing the tunes it became evident to me that the acoustic guitar was something I wanted to employ. I also wanted people to hear Christian's sweet, essentially classical tone, distinctly different from his solid-body electric violin." However, Bryant does not forgo his electric guitar, and Howes overdubbed four parts, including two on his unusual "bass violin," for Jackson's languid ballad “Summer." Regarding the Latin tinge, D.D. seems to include the Mediterranean in the Iberian realm, and further departing from his trio concept, his finale on Sígame, counter-intuitively titled "Prologue," is a full-force piano solo.
Jackson does indeed introduce his dynamic, interactive trio -- and his blues and gospel sources -- at the very start of Sígame, with "The Welcoming." Prieto, a Cuban-born rhythmist who's gained a growing reputation accompanying Andrew Hill, Claudia Acuña and Henry Threadgill, among others, maintains emphatically detailed momentum with wire brushes on traps, while Okegwo, described by D.D. as "a staple of Jacky Terrasson's and Leon Parker’s bands for years" provides his characteristically solid, groove-oriented and simultaneously tuneful backbone. Bryant's gentle acoustic guitar line twines with Jackson's delicate, upper-register finger work on "Romanza," which the composer stipulates is "not merely 'romantic' but also depicts the twists and turns of a typical romance." Then, on "Le Shuffle" (which Jackson based on the rhythmic impulse, though not the tune, of his late teacher Don Pullen's classic "Jana's Delight") Bryant uncorks a charge of electricity -- just enough to goose the shuffle into a cavort.
"For Desdemona" is a heartfelt tribute to a great friend of jazz, photographer and writer Desdemona Bardin, who succumbed to cancer last year, prior to completing a manuscript for which she'd interviewed most of the major and some less well-known figures of the New York avant-garde. "Jam Band" reflects Jackson's enthusiasm for the rockin' style of 8-string guitarist Charlie Hunter, and his desire to add a more melodic element to the jam band excursions popularized by groups such as Medeski Martin and Wood.
"Cubano-Funk" begins with deceptive abstraction, quick-shifting over D.D.'s implacable left-hand ostinato and through his explosive clusters into a driving trio exhibition, with Prieto spotlit at the climax. "Fort Greene Park," named after a park near the pianist's Brooklyn home, reflects both the sunny afternoon play time and darker nightfall aura of the area. Jackson intends "Sígame (Follow Me)" to invite listeners along on his musical journey, which initially concentrated on classical studies, but in the past dozen years has embraced a vast range of genre-defying projects. Finally, D.D.'s "Prologue" envisions sweeping things to come, vistas of pianistic improvisation that are, by the evidence here, close at hand.
"I make records I want to listen to, very much so, yes," Jackson avows. "I like to keep an open mind and go where my inner ear takes me, and..."