THE TRAVELERS began as a compositional device that allowed guitarist Case to frame this entire project. I imagined what I might write if I only had one day to write it, if I were to perform this piece that very same evening for the rest of my community upon their return from work. What if my role in this community was that I had to perform a new piece every night? Every piece would need to immediately engage the audience, by being unique and entertaining. The music, like the returning community members, would need to travel in some sense and then come home. And so I traveled, wrote, performed and returned home, repeating this inspirational cycle many times. The device got me started but perfecting each piece also required far more time than one day.
Actually, The Travelers is quite difficult and poses unique challenges. Like the cannon of the classical guitar, the music on this album draws from many musical traditions and I needed to enlist a bassist and percussionist who were not only great jazz improvisers but musicians who were excellent readers and comfortable playing a variety of styles and complicated rhythms.
Percussionist Tim Mulvenna has traveled extensively with jazz, Irish and Middle Eastern ensembles. Bassist Dan Thatcher’s soft tone, compositional sensibility and versatility are what make him a very active bassist on the Chicago jazz scene and both were a great fit for THE TRAVELERS. We became the Lapis Trio. But even with proficient musicians, it took time for the ensemble to gain an easy and accurate hold of the music. The Lapis Trio worked together, perfecting our performance of the music around the Midwest for the past two years and was ready to record.
My brother, Dana Nielsen, flew in from California to record THE TRAVELERS with Lapis Trio at Shirk Studios. It was important to capture our instruments’ innate qualities in our acoustic group, and Dana’s deft hand at mic’ing and his experience recording acoustic artists such as Bob Dylan, Neil Young and the Avett Brothers made our sessions productive and inspired. His work on this CD is masterful.
released March 15, 2019
Casey Nielsen - guitar
Dan Thatcher - bass
Tim Mulvenna - percussion
All songs composed by Casey Nielsen
Produced by Casey Nielsen and Dana Nielsen
Recorded and Mixed by Dana Nielsen at Shirk Studios, Chicago, IL
Album Design by Sandy Babusci
Chicago sax luminary Greg Ward develops the dual-guitar frontline of his backing Rogue Parade quintet as an avatar for singular strength on this zesty collection of jazz-rock fusion songs. Bandcamp Album of the Day Jan 10, 2019