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AT SUNDOWN is a sonic snapshot of the Paul Keller Quartet as they approach their second anniversary of working together as an ensemble. The Paul Keller Quartet is the venerable string bassist/arranger Paul Keller, saxophonist Ben Jansson, pianist Duncan McMillan and the beautiful and multi-talented vocalist and clarinetist Sarah D'Angelo. Throughout 2011 and 2012, the PK4 has enjoyed a steady schedule of fun and rewarding performances throughout Michigan which culminated in the recording of this CD. AT SUNDOWN showcases a slice of the material that the PK4 has created and cultivated for their many concerts and club dates. The PK4's future is a bright one with many more jazz gigs and recordings on the horizon.
AT SUNDOWN is Sarah D'Angelo's very first jazz recording and she shines from beginning to end. Sarah D'Angelo is prominently featured throughout this CD as she sings (or plays) the melody of every song. Her playfulness, positive energy and joyful spirit are on full display here. Sarah's lovely mezzo-soprano voice draws the listener in; her innate jazz feeling and charming musical personality will make you appreciate her on an even deeper level. Sarah's wonderful clarinet playing is an extra added bonus.
Duncan McMillan has been a member of the 15-piece Paul Keller Orchestra for 8 years. However, AT SUNDOWN marks Duncan's first recording with Paul Keller. Duncan provides solid and creative support for Sarah D'Angelo's vocal adventures. Duncan is the perfect team player - ready, willing and able to tackle whatever is just around the corner. He is appreciated by his friends, fans and fellow musicians as the first-call pianist in Detroit. AT SUNDOWN puts a spotlight on Duncan's awesome pianistic prowess.
Ben Jansson is a musical treasure! Ben is "Mr. Steady"! Paul Keller is Ben's biggest fan and says, "Ben is a pillar of jazz integrity. His knowledge, talent, and unabashed love for straight-ahead swinging jazz makes him one of the greatest saxophonists I have ever had the honor of making music with! I am very happy and proud to have him in our working quartet" Keller also lovingly jokes, "Even Ben's mistakes - which are few - sound great!" With every note that Ben plays, he pays tribute to his saxophone heroes Stan Getz, Dexter Gordon, Ben Webster and Lester Young. Ben's warm, round sound and overall presence elevate and propel AT SUNDOWN. Ben Jansson can also be heard on his own PKO Records CD Sweetie Pie and Paul Keller's CD Jazz/Gospel Swingin' The Praise.
Paul Keller not only performs on AT SUNDOWN but also produced this memorable CD. Paul writes (and sometimes spontaneously invents) all of the musical arrangements for the PK4's repertoire - 16 of those nifty arrangements appear on AT SUNDOWN. Paul conducted the band through the recording session and organized all the fine details of AT SUNDOWN (pre- and post-production).
AT SUNDOWN was recorded LIVE on May 23, 2012 at the Steinway Gallery of Detroit in one big, after-hours session. All of the tracks are first or second takes - so there is a freshness and a feeling of spontaneity to this well-organized package. The recording engineer for AT SUNDOWN was by Cliff Monear, who is also a incredible jazz pianist in his own right. The Paul Keller Quartet is most grateful to Cliff Monear and to Tim Hoy, owner of the Steinway Piano Gallery of Detroit for their assistance and hospitality and especially for providing the magnificent nine foot Steinway D concert grand piano upon which Duncan McMillan played so well.
Paul and the band concur, "Special thanks go to our dear friend and photographer John Lilley who took the fantastic band photos for AT SUNDOWN. John has been our "Number One Fan" for years. His is kindness and generosity knows no bounds. Thank you, John!" Please check out www.johnlilleyphotography.com.
The beautiful and artistic cover photo for AT SUNDOWN was taken by Michelle Keller (Paul's wife). It was taken, of course, at sundown from the beach at Charlevoix, MI looking at two people fishing in Lake Michigan off the Charlevoix pier. Nice!
AT SUNDOWN is an eclectic mix of familiar and not-so-familiar songs that will touch your heart, lift your spirit and put a smile on your face. Even though there is no drummer in this band (except for a special appearance by Sarah's husband Mark D'Angelo on shaker and bongo on Track #14), there is no lack of rhythm and forward motion here. The music bounces along in a cheerful and buoyant fashion that will make you tap your toes. AT SUNDOWN contains nearly 77 minutes of musical fun played and sang with verve, brio and sincerity by four friends. As you listen to AT SUNDOWN, you can sense the love and respect that the band members have for each other. That feeling of mutual admiration and support frees each band member to let their true musical soul speak whatever it feels. That's the way jazz music is supposed to be!