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MP3 J.D. and the Sons of Rhythm - Beyond Attention

Collectively Improvised Jazz Fusion with flavors of Funk, World Music and Free Jazz

14 MP3 Songs
JAZZ: Jazz Fusion, WORLD: World Fusion

Both CDs are double-disc sets.


Complex rhythm patterns and driving grooves change into primal beats, locked into with ease and precision by J.D. and the Sons of Rhythm. A dialog of solos and chords erupts in Funk, World-Beat and Swing as shades of Miles Davis meet the sounds of Ornette Coleman. Dream-like ballads interspersed with funky grooves and free-jazz jams make up these two totally original sides.

The live sessions include J.D. Hopkins and sons Jayson and Rickie, and bass, guitars, keyboard, sax and trumpet. Bassists David Blaetz, Tony Stefanelli and Kenny Cornelius take turns, guitar regulars Mike Ohm and Sheldon Peterson are sometimes joined by newcomer Joe Frisina, and guitarist, keyboardist and guitar-synth player Frank Singer joins in for most of the tracks. J.D. and Sons add horns for the first time, with Phil Papotnik on sax and flute and Chad Garrison on trumpet. Singer and Papotnik overdub parts on three cuts above the drums and electronic percussion of the Hopkins family rhythm section.


After three years and fourteen sides (seven double-disc sets), J.D. and the Sons of Rhythm return with a vision of renewed purpose in collective improvisation and with four more sides.

Beyond Attention and Crossing Oceans of Time serve as companions to one another, bringing spontaneous playing together with techniques normally used to provide predictability, such as overdubbing, editing and mastering. Both CD covers show similar design, with original art by J.D. Hopkins similar to his T Shirt art. Both CD sets have a similar mix of vintage J.D. and Sons jamming, interlaced with the overdub style found on two Primate Gestures cuts and the first side of Imagination Doctors. Both CDs also show the freshness of music born of trying new ideas, new players, and allowing the process to take place naturally.

One of the facets of this music that keeps it fresh, spontaneous and natural is the philosophy of its creation. From the beginning, the live jams have always been what they are, noise, talking, equipment buzzes, and all. This is the J.D. and the Sons of Rhythm way of keeping the music real and honest. So much of music today is contrived, even created with a philosophy of marketing. The approach taken by this ensemble offers an alternative.

Yet each of the players on the CDs have played and still do play many different styles of music, sometimes from one night to the next. Some of these styles are Jazz, Latin, Funk, Reggae, Hiphop, Blues, Fusion, Rock, Metal, Country, Folk, Classical, Motown...the list could continue for a while. The awareness of how most of us hear music influences the way these players make music in the Sons. This includes telling stories and having conversations, and playing the occasional blazing solo or bass line. In this, the group''s vision is the same as it is for most music - entertain, edify, enlighten, enjoy and have fun!

"...we have been playing long enough to know how to be responsible for the music we create, and J.D. offers us the chance to be free knowing we will still play music that satisfies and makes sense, and pay attention!" states one of the band members. The result is Beyond Attention, and Crossing Oceans of Time.

This philosophy of spontaneity also shows itself in the overdubbing process, a process which is often used to create repetition and sameness in the recording studio. By improvising each layer, musicians have the chance to relate to what has already been recorded, yet build new layers even as the knowledge of the existing tracks becomes more sure with each pass. Not rehearsing parts beyond working out a few sketched ideas keeps the playing fresh and explorative, and allows the music to evolve in unpredictable ways.

Side one of Imagination Doctors was a serious foray into this overdubbed sound, with various combinations of players creating layered tracks for the ten cuts. Beyond Attention and Crossing Oceans of Time have similar collectives, typically pairs of harmonic and melodic players playing first tracks with the percussion section, and then improvising layers simultaneously. Many of these sessions occurred without the use of the bass, which is also unusual for scripted music. Some of the results are striking, and rather than feel empty they are enhanced by the use of the space.

New to this series of recordings is the use of direct editing cuts between tracks in the mastering process to integrate the overdubbed tracks with the live tracks, and contrast various configurations, from percussion, sax and piano to full ensemble and everything in between. The result is music from one recording session will suddenly fade or cut into another. Anyone familiar with John McLaughlin''s Extrapolation album will be reminded of the beauty of this effect on that recording, which in the same way helps to tell the story the recording portrays in its music.

The mediums used for improvisation continue to expand, with mixing combinations of players, introduction of new musicians and new situations, and always new ideas and challenges from J.D. and between all of the musicians participating in this exciting project. Some of the new members include guitarist Joe Frisina, saxophonist Phil Papotnik and trumpeter Chad Garrison. They join the crew of rhythmists J.D., Rickie and Jayson Hopkins, bassists David Blaetz, Tony Stefanelli and Kenny Cornelius, guitarists Mike Ohm and Sheldon Peterson, and guitarist, keyboardist and bassist (Crossing Oceans of Time) Frank Singer.

Together J.D. and the Sons of Rhythm take you on 28 journeys through a quantum horizon of possibilities, unique as a snowflake, yet universal in scope.


Beyond Attention

Both sides of Beyond Attention begin with overdub sessions, in which J.D. and the Sons set up complex rhythms as the bedrock of the song and Cat''s A Bear''s saxophonist Phil Papotnik and guitarist/keyboardist Frank Singer layer overdubbed tracks along side the previously recorded music. Since they record the overdubs together, there is interaction with each other as well as with the existing music.

Prelude opens the CD with a flowing complex rhythm pattern orchestrated with guitar, violin (guitar-synth) and saxophone, layered by J.D., Jayson and Rickie Hopkins, Frank and Phil. A quick fade flows into the 6/8 Rumble in the Jungle. The beat brings forth the full group as newcomer guitarist Joe Frisina joins guitarists Mike Ohm and Sheldon Peterson, and bassist David Blaetz in a live session with Singer voicing some early keyboards. After a linear development, Coffee and Pie begins with a great driving groove (as in road trip as well as funky) with Tony Stefanelli laying down the bass. Trumpeter Chad Garrison plays in the spaces as Mike and Sheldon join Frank on violin (guitar-synth) for some down-home cookin''.

The cut into Jan Garbarek is off of a rhythmic kick in Coffee and Pie. Beginning with a loose keyboard/sax intro, J.D. sets up a primal beat, which Rickie and Jayson lock into with ease and precision. Frank and Phil create the harmony/melody texture with a dialog of solos and chords. This extended funky and intense jam cuts on a kick. Kenny''s Rumble erupts in full swing-funk, as Kenny Cornelius plays a walking bass-line with Rickie on traps in full Fatback mode, making it very hard to sit still. Mike and Sheldon handle the guitar work as the second Rumble of the side jams on.

David returns on upright for ECM, with Joe, Mike and Sheldon on guitar, Frank on piano, and J.D. making a rare appearance on trap set. This soft into evolves into a jazz feel, with Ohm moving into the solo spot. Singer and Frisina follow, and the tune comes to a natural conclusion before fading out into Road Nights. Beginning with a free section, this spacious funk jam returns Tony to the bass for the last groove of side one. Singer stays on keys, and Garrison returns for some smooth trumpet melodies as this live session flows with solos and song to its concluding cadence and fade.

Side two''s first overdub, Scottish Memories, serves as a prelude for the side, as the freer, lighter feel sets the tone. J.D.''s groove is complimented by the Sons, and Phil plays soulful horn over Frank''s guitar and piano dubs, interlaced with keyboard lines and fills. This fades into an Eastern sounding introduction to the live Midnight Fade. Chad returns with Mike and Sheldon, with Tony on bass in a flowing, funk-flavored ballad worthy of the title.

Kenny returns on bass in Unleash the Beast, for a funky 3/4-time J.D. and the Sons-style jam. After a driving rhythm, Mike takes off with some shred-style guitar runs. Frank returns with some wood flute (guitar-synth) as the groove moves through some breaks and into Singer''s guitar solo. The climax of this solo leads to the concluding fade, pausing before beginning Song For the Grateful Dead.

Guitarist Frisina returns with Blaetz on electric fretless bass and Singer on piano for a funky stroll. Ohm and Peterson dialog with Frisina, with keyboard splashes harmonizing the groove. This extended live jam features many solos and exchanges, with a free cadenza moving from festival-jam to NYC avant-garde and back, as rhythm returns out of the chaos. Frisina contributes some brass (guitar-synth) as groove and free-style jam interact. At the end, this fades quickly into the 5/4 beat of Hypnotic.

Tabla-like sounds from the rhythm and tribal bass from Kenny set up an open funk feel. Peterson keeps the wah grooving while Ohm adds a linear feel and Singer plays wood flute (guitar-synth). The groove spins into a paused chord, and Rickie sets up a complex funk ballad as Singer moves to distorted guitar solo. This funky texture fades out, and into California Daze. A primitive pulse and sparkling notes create a world-beat walking tempo, with Joe, Mike and Sheldon sharing the guitar work. The pulse is the bass, as it is in the last track of the CD.

Oregon is another dub session, with Frank on nylon guitar (synth-guitar) and Phil on flute doing an acoustic set with Joe joining in on acoustic guitar. This Far-Eastern rhythm sounds a meditation for the end of this CD side and album.



Produced by J.D. Hopkins
Cover Art by J.D. Hopkins
Cover Layout by Mark Saunders
Engineered, Mixed and Mastered by
Randy Hetherington
Recorded at Midtown Recording
CDR Duplication by FAR


J.D. Hopkins - Roland V-Drums, Traps
Rickie Hopkins - Traps, Roland V-Drums
Jayson Hopkins - Electronic Drums & Percussion
Tony Stefanelli - Fretless Electric Bass
Kenny Cornelius - Electric Bass
David Blaetz - Fretless Electric Bass, Upright Bass
Mike Ohm - Electric Guitar, Guitar Synthesizer
Sheldon Peterson - Electric Guitar
Joe Frisina - Electric Guitar, Guitar Synthesizer
Phil Papotnik - Saxophone, Flute
Chad Garrison - Trumpet
Frank Singer - Guitar, Guitar Synthesizer, Keyboards


Member Discography:


https://www.tradebit.com - BEYOND ATTENTION
https://www.tradebit.com - CROSSING OCEANS OF TIME
https://www.tradebit.com - LIVE AT FORWARD HALL
https://www.tradebit.com - IMAGINATION DOCTORS
https://www.tradebit.com - SMOKE SHADOWS
https://www.tradebit.com - QUANTUM EVENTS
https://www.tradebit.com - MUSIC FROM ANOTHER PLANET
https://www.tradebit.com - PRIMATE GESTURES
https://www.tradebit.com - FAMILY VALUES

At least one member of the group plays on the following CDs:


https://www.tradebit.com - THINGS ARE NOT WHAT THEY SEEM
https://www.tradebit.com - ONE THING AFTER ANOTHER
https://www.tradebit.com - POTATO BATTERY


https://www.tradebit.com - oFF tHE tOP: standards 1
https://www.tradebit.com - GENERATIONS STRING QUARTET
https://www.tradebit.com - THE WORLD TODAY
https://www.tradebit.com - UNITY AND DIVERSITY


https://www.tradebit.com - TITO IN WONDERLAND
https://www.tradebit.com - TITO: IN SEARCH OF A REVOLUTION
https://www.tradebit.com - EYE OF THE PYRAMID


https://www.tradebit.com - MAMBO


https://www.tradebit.com - THAT DOG IN EGYPT ''97
https://www.tradebit.com - THAT DOG IN EGYPT ''99


https://www.tradebit.com - SKUDD


https://www.tradebit.com - I SPY THE HOOTZPAH - LIVE AT FORWARD HALL


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