Both sides of Beyond Attention begin with overdub sessions, in which J.D. and the Sons set up complex rhythms as the bedrock of the song and Cat's A Bear's saxophonist Phil Papotnik and guitarist/keyboardist Frank Singer layer overdubbed tracks along side the previously recorded music. Since they record the overdubs together, there is interaction with each other as well as with the existing music.
Prelude opens the album with a flowing complex rhythm pattern orchestrated with guitar, violin (guitar-synth) and saxophone, layered by J.D., Jayson and Rickie Hopkins, Frank and Phil. A quick fade flows into the 6/8 Rumble in the Jungle. The beat brings forth the full group as newcomer guitarist Joe Frisina joins guitarists Mike Ohm and Sheldon Peterson, and bassist David Blaetz in a live session with Singer voicing some early keyboards. After a linear development, Coffee and Pie begins with a great driving groove (as in road trip as well as funky) with Tony Stefanelli laying down the bass. Trumpeter Chad Garrison plays in the spaces as Mike and Sheldon join Frank on violin (guitar-synth) for some down-home cookin'.
The cut into Jan Garbarek is off of a rhythmic kick in Coffee and Pie. Beginning with a loose keyboard/sax intro, J.D. sets up a primal beat, which Rickie and Jayson lock into with ease and precision. Frank and Phil create the harmony/melody texture with a dialog of solos and chords. This extended funky and intense jam cuts on a kick. Kenny's Rumble erupts in full swing-funk, as Kenny Cornelius plays a walking bass-line with Rickie on traps in full Fatback mode, making it very hard to sit still. Mike and Sheldon handle the guitar work as the second Rumble of the side jams on.
David returns on upright for ECM, with Joe, Mike and Sheldon on guitar, Frank on piano, and J.D. making a rare appearance on trap set. This soft intro evolves into a jazz feel, with Ohm moving into the solo spot. Singer and Frisina follow, and the tune comes to a natural conclusion before fading out into Road Nights. Beginning with a free section, this spacious funk jam returns Tony to the bass for the last groove of side one. Singer stays on keys, and Garrison returns for some smooth trumpet melodies as this live session flows with solos and song to its concluding cadence and fade.
Side two's first overdub, Scottish Memories, serves as a prelude for the side, as the freer, lighter feel sets the tone. J.D.'s groove is complimented by the Sons, and Phil plays soulful horn over Frank's guitar and piano dubs, interlaced with keyboard lines and fills. This fades into an Eastern sounding introduction to the live Midnight Fade. Chad returns with Mike and Sheldon, with Tony on bass in a flowing, funk-flavored ballad worthy of the title.
Kenny returns on bass in Unleash the Beast, for a funky 3/4-time J.D. and the Sons-style jam. After a driving rhythm, Mike takes off with some shred-style guitar runs. Frank returns with some wood flute (guitar-synth) as the groove moves through some breaks and into Singer's guitar solo. The climax of this solo leads to the concluding fade, pausing before beginning Song For the Grateful Dead.
Guitarist Frisina returns with Blaetz on electric fretless bass and Singer on piano for a syncopated stroll. Ohm and Peterson dialog with Frisina, with keyboard splashes harmonizing the groove. This extended live jam features many solos and exchanges, with a free cadenza moving from festival-jam to NYC avant-garde and back, as rhythm returns out of the chaos. Frisina contributes some brass (guitar-synth) as groove and free-style jam interact. At the end, this fades quickly into the 5/4 beat of Hypnotic.
Tabla-like sounds from the rhythm and tribal bass from Kenny set up an open funk feel. Peterson keeps the wah grooving while Ohm adds a linear feel and Singer plays wood flute (guitar-synth). The groove spins into a paused chord, and Rickie sets up a complex funk ballad as Singer moves to distorted guitar solo. This groove texture fades out, and into California Daze. A primitive pulse and sparkling notes create a world-beat walking tempo, with Joe, Mike and Sheldon sharing the guitar work. The pulse is the bass, as it is in the last track of the CD.
Oregon is another dub session, with Frank on nylon guitar (synth-guitar) and Phil on flute doing an acoustic set with Joe joining in on acoustic guitar. This Far-Eastern rhythm sounds a meditation for the end of the and album.
The sound of J.D. AND THE SONS OF RHYTHM is organic. It is what music is before composers, arrangers, lyricists, critics, academics and others shape it to their will. This is the raw substance of music, born in and of the musicians who play it. It is what it is.
We hope you enjoy it.
BEYOND ATTENTION, 14 tracks of music
released January 1, 2005
Produced by J.D. Hopkins
Cover Art by J.D. Hopkins
Cover Layout by Mark Saunders
Engineered, Mixed and Mastered by
Recorded at Midtown Recording
Between 2003 and 2009, Richard Carl "JD" Hopkins produced a series of improvised recording sessions, joining his two sons,
Rickie and Jayson, and 32 other musicians to collectively improvise 13 Double Albums. The history of the band is presented at jdhopkins.com, along with original art and literature. JD left us on April 4 2016. His inspiration, generosity and friendship will be missed....more