April Hall

Jazz Vocalist • Songwriter • Educator

 

Liner Notes and Poetry

“Room for Two” is a collection of duets; music, poetry, engineering, art and positive intention, all rolled up into one CD. The idea was sparked from the many duets I’ve shared with other musicians on the bandstand, both under the spotlight and in the shaded background of countless rooms. We come and we go about our daily musical lives, and then something unexpected happens, a song comes together in just the perfect way, at the perfect time. Ahh... a true duet. I wanted to capture some of those special moments in the studio and share them. All of these tracks were improvised in the moment, real moments, unrehearsed, beautiful moments. “Hey, let’s try this... let’s play this....” A true Joy. I hope you will enjoy hearing them as much as I enjoyed creating them. -April Hall 

All poems written by James Cudworth, ©2012

 

 

Room for Two

With only two
there's something new pocketed in phrases, spaces
wide and fat,
notes bent to blue, gone sad in places
as all outdoors.

Compulsion

See the artist at peace,
her inner pendulum
a metronome, east and west,
trimming in time with her work,
a tick ahead or behind,
though, of necessity,
precise as the railroad,
and the process, driven;
a woman sporting a silk scarf
pages through her valise, composed,
steam enveloping the platform.

Search

Dark interstate corridor
grasses flare in the night wind voice and piano flirt,
a lone low watt jazz station, quartz-locked FM, old school talking Proust and Picasso, brain-to-brain enamored, cigarettes on the dashboard, painted toenails,
windows cranked voice and piano circle
'round a diaphanous rhythm, effortless triads for chords, melody probing at structure
like a bull through a snapped cape seeks flesh that yearns a hurtin'.

Show Up

Cats who can “bring it,” love the studio.
No whining “you shoulda been there,” harking back to that one epic gig lost in the blue blear
of a club. Here, no crowd, drink; cigarettes
out the question, and no crazed old lady
hassling you about the rent, your land-line jack- wires dangling, exposed from the wall, shorted.

It's you and that mortal with the axe, java in the ante room, posse in the booth, levelers, faders, pans, patch cords premium mics, monitors, and that truth- tellin' tape that do not roll for nothin’. 

 

Foundation

Love, large as an old world bass,
Continental passion carved from axe-felled wood,
tight-grained ice-age maple and spruce, hand rubbed,
aspect aptly warmed, figure preserved
with borax, salt, potassium silicate,
and for varnish, gum, honey, and egg white.

Such a love might cost more than a modest home,
and as testy, breathe like a bronze-red rhino,
each bow-stroke, each pluck, threatening a charge;
finicky about the hall too, to adjust takes hours,
kind persistence, persuasion, but the tone, the pulse,
the melodic urge underneath, look at me, look at me now! 

Session

Back in the studio at last,
faithful water beside me
gentle as gin, glittering.
Affixed sound baffling, a skyline
of inverted, angled tenements
pitched to stifle stray echoes,
asks dispassionately, “Whadd'ya got?”

Conclusion

At the end of the last take
a beat and a half overdue
an impudent note drops in
sporting a rumpled tux, sunglasses, leaning against
the kitchen entrance gesturing, cream-filled éclair in hand
and a quip that breaks up the studio, earnest engineer, singer, producer, and grinning, the upright bassist, himself.

Rolling laughter reverberates, pierces like
cetaceans agog, overtones that, in analog days would
spike the vu-meters into the red, impractical relief, that sadly,

in the final mix, takes up too many megs to keep, but worth hearing,
at twice the price on the box set.

Vinyl

In lustrous light, a record's an iris
prismed with radial struts
patterned to attract, infatuate,
a tease promising evening, texture
where melody and lyric seduce, dilate,
a pupil to fall into forever.