Larry Ankrum’s new album was released a few weeks ago on CDL Records. Here is the link for it on CD Baby http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/larryankrum3 It’s also available on iTunes.
“The Dream of the Ballerina” is a song about a Ukrainian girl who dreamed of becoming a professional dancer, but never really had a chance to do so.
James Singleton on bass. James has played with many jazz greats including Astral Project, Joe Henderson, Dave Liebman, and Milt Jackson. The brilliant Joe Ashlar was on piano. Joe has worked with Norah Jones, Roy Hargrove, Nicholas Payton, and Wynton Marsalis. Kevin O’Day was on drums and percussion. Kevin has played with Anders Osborne, Eric Lindell, Have Soul Will Travel, and Walter “Wolfman” Washington.
In addition to his own group, Larry Ankrum has played with the Albert-Ankrum Project, Karrin Allyson, The Temptations, Prince, Higher Ground, Kermit Ruffins, Leslie Blackshear Smith, The Naked Orchestra.
-Your new CD is great! Let’s start with the title. Why “The Dream of the Ballerina”?
— Actually, I thought about several different titles before deciding on this as the final choice. This song seemed to define the feeling of the entire project however, and I kept coming back to it. It has a special significance for me as well.
— What is special about this song?
-It’s about the dream of a Ukrainian girl to be a professional dancer. Unfortunately, she began her study of dance far too late to make this a reality. I wrote it as a duet between bass and alto flute. James Singleton plays the bass part beautifully. We also produced a video for this song. We shot the video in St. Petersburg, Russia. It stars Angelina Bukreeva, a ballet dancer from the Vaganova Ballet Academy, and Boris Zhurilov, a ballet dancer from the Mariinsky Theatre. The video is a touching little movie, a love story, and is available on youtube.
— Your ballad playing is very sensitive. There is another ballad on the album that I liked very much as well.
— Thank you. Yes, that’s called “Champagne Moon”. I wrote most of the tunes in the months immediately preceding the session. That one came about after a lovely night under the stars and a full moon while on tour in South America.
— This album is much more than ballads though. Tell us more about the music.
— You’re right, it’s fairly eclectic. There is a jazz waltz, a tango, a Monkish tune with a New Orleans street beat, and even several freely improvised pieces. Those were really fun! They were the last two pieces we recorded that day. I had planned to end the day with a free piece, but i didn’t tell the guys about that beforehand. Well, it went so well that I said, “Let’s do another one!” It was a great end to a fun day of friendship and music.
— I noticed that your choice of musicians is much the same as on your last CD, Without Reasons.
— That’s right, the only change really was James Singleton on bass. James has played with many jazz greats including Astral Project, Joe Henderson, Dave Liebman, and Milt Jackson. The brilliant Joe Ashlar was on piano. Joe has worked with Norah Jones, Roy Hargrove, Nicholas Payton, and Wynton Marsalis. Kevin O’Day was on drums and percussion. Kevin has played with Anders Osborne, Eric Lindell, Have Soul Will Travel, and Walter “Wolfman” Washington.
— Where did you record “The Dream of the Ballerina”?
— It was recorded at Piety Street Studios in the Bywater neighborhood of New Orleans. Wesley Fontenot was at the board and Jeff Albert was my co-producer. We recorded it like the Blue Note albums of the ’50s and ’60s. We rehearsed one day at James Singleton’s place, took a day off, then played “live” in the studio. This method has worked well for me in the past, and I hope you agree it worked well this time around too.
— Where can people get copy of “The Dream of the Ballerina”?
— That’s easy! It’s on iTunes, CD Baby, CD Universe, Amazon… pretty much everywhere.
— Thanks for being here today and best of luck with your new CD!
— Thank you!