The Last Taxi (A Conversation)

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Song samples

This current work is a collection of musical conversations. Our initial works, “Through an Open Door” and “Mystic Nights”, established a language, a musical dialog, between Richard Poole on vibes and myself on piano. In this effort, we have kept our “chamber jazz” voice and expanded it to include Chris Rathbun on bass and Todd Brunel on bass clarinet. Richard now plays drums in addition to vibes.  Like most conversations, not everyone speaks at once and not everyone is a part of every conversation.

All of the works are spontaneous improvisations. Only “A Night at the Hotel Avery” had a predetermined theme – a blues, whose form was never once realized. What transpired were reminiscences of places and activities that happened either in reality, or in a subconscious state. Yet the act of recalling the past was, at the same time, an act of creating in the present tense.

Both Chris and I had been bell-hops at the Hotel Avery, a sleazy hotel in the middle of Boston’s red light district. Richard had played drums at the clubs. We knew the club owners and their “friends”, the dangers in the alleys, and the sights and people of the street. Our conversations went into the late hours where empty beer bottles were filled with cigarette ashes, yet we kept talking. Sometimes we talked of being at sea, of wandering around les rues désolés de Paris, of our escapes, and of our flights of fantasy.

Everyone has their vision of the Last Taxi – the sense of urgency, the sense immediacy, the sense that you have to catch it or you will be stranded in an undesirable place. All the passing faces, the trestles driven under, and the bumps of old trolley tracks are but a blur. You are going home and that’s all that matters. We’ve all been there.

Much can be said about how each of us envisioned the music. Yet none of our descriptions matched each others’. Each had his own interpretations of the colors, shapes, and varying textures that are presented here. With this in mind, we invite the listener to be drawn into these pieces and evoke his own vision.

“Nothing exists until or unless it is observed. An artist is making something exist by observing it. And his hope for other people is that they will also make it exist by observing it. I call it ‘creative observation.’ Creative viewing.”
― William S. BurroughsPorts of Entry

Pat Battstone, July 27, 2014, Cherry Valley, NY