The Dragon Breathes on Bleecker Street (2003)
A partnership with singer/songwriter Tricia Kositzky with additional vocals by Kristi French.
Disenchanted with my own compositions during the summer of 2002, I turned instead to a group of songs written five years before with an old friend and classmate, Tricia Kositzky. We had collaborated during the fall of 1997 after a nine-year hiatus during which time we hadn't had any contact. All of our collaborations began with Tricia's poems, some fitting a song structure quite nicely (e.g. Traveling), while others needing to be rearranged and edited (e.g. Those Baby Blues). Regardless, all provided immediate inspiration; we composed no fewer than a dozen songs within a matter of months. Tricia sent me her poems, I sent her rough piano/vocal demos of my first stab at providing music, and we fine-tuned the songs, both lyrically and musically, after discussions over the phone and one face-to-face meeting (she was without e-mail at the time).
We were about to embark on recording the songs when Tricia's vagabond lifestyle took her westward, and I was left with a bunch of songs I thought worthy of recording, but with no guidance and no female vocalist to complete them. Finally, in 2002, I decided to proceed with a neighbor/friend of mine, Kristi French. By that point I had a good sense of how to record the songs, and I knew Kristi could contribute vocally. I did want to get Tricia's "okay," however, and by a stroke of luck, I found an article written about her from the Shepherd Express newspaper in Milwaukee. A few phone calls later, and I was able to track her down. Not only did she agree to let me record our songs with Kristi singing, she agreed to sing a couple of songs herself, and we managed to write an additional song (Spring Me).
Sequencing for the album began in the fall of 2002. Recording began that winter with Kristi and Tricia completing their vocal parts in April. Finally, Tricia and I thought of asking our old high school band director, John Hibler, to lay down some woodwind tracks. He graciously agreed, and by the middle of August the recording phase of the project was complete. Mixing for the album took place in September and October.
My four solo contributions were a long time in the making. "Mercy" took a few years to finish, finally coming to completion in the fall of 2001. "Going Home" was a composition that began way back in 1995 or 1996. "Why Did You Have To Think Things Through" took no fewer than five years to complete, while "What You've Done," though completed fairly quickly, is actually based on a chord pattern and melody for a song I wrote back in the mid-80s! As I age, songs are coming fewer and farther between.