SHADOW AND LIGHT - Catherine Goldwyn - Phil Lewis



San Francisco - June 15, 2016 - Pianist Catherine Goldwyn and guitarist Phil Lewis met at a Los Angeles jam session in 2002 and -- according to this pair of accomplished composers and performers -- they immediately clicked. "It was love at first sound," says Phil. "I loved Catherine's touch on the piano and her beautiful chord voicings, the way she made the changes sing."

“I loved Phil's responsiveness," Catherine adds. "He listened and had a unique voice on the guitar. He also liked my sense of humor which was a mark of his superior intelligence and good taste.”

A fruitful musical collaboration ensued as the two began performing and then composing together. Later, they discovered that their compatibility extended beyond the bandstand, and romance blossomed. They married in 2013.

When planning began for Shadow and Light, their first record together, a good deal of time was spent discussing the overall approach to the music. Both felt the record should be a departure from the traditional jazz they had mostly made in the past. "We really wanted this music to resonate with a wide range of listeners, not just a jazz audience," Catherine explains, "So we chose to put our focus on strong melodies."

"What's really important in music is emotion -- that's the currency of music. And we both felt that jazz has, in many cases, come to be defined too much by technical theories and virtuosic spectacle," Phil explains. "We wanted to bring the direct, emotive element back to the music."

“We wanted each song tell a story, to take the the listener on journey," adds Catherine.

Although the duo spent a year composing and refining new material, it was still important that the recording not lose the spontaneity of the jazz idiom. "Plan to improvise -- that's my credo in music and in life," quips Catherine. "So we leave lots of room for improvisation. In fact we can't ever seem to play a tune the same way twice!"

The result is Shadow and Light, an instrumental album featuring nine new original tunes penned by Goldwyn and Lewis, as well as couple of unusual covers. Inquiring as to the origin of some of the unusual song titles reveals some interesting stories. "'Tidbit' is one of mine," Catherine relates, "I wrote that when my daughter was pregnant with our granddaughter, Rose. We were calling her Tidbit at that point." She laughs.

Phil adds, "'Cold Dark Matters' you could say is about questions that can't be answered. It's kind of a play on words. You know, astrophysicists are unable to identify 95% of what the universe is comprised of. One of the terms they use to fill the gap is 'dark matter.'"

Some critics have referred to Mr. Lewis's previous output as "melodic jazz" and Shadow and Light certainly falls within the bounds of that category. Strong writing and solid playing are the hallmarks of this album, the duo's first outing together.

The album has been lauded by industry heavyweights like vibraphonist Gary Burton who writes, "[T]he guitar and piano weave together, evenly matched, always complementary. I’m reminded of how long-time friends complete each other’s sentences."

The record features the lyrical sound of Ms. Goldwyn's piano and Mr. Lewis's crisp and singing guitar, supported by a first-rate rhythm section consisting of drummer Jake Reed and bassist John Belzaguy. "Jake is a very musical drummer, he's a colorist -- he really draws the colors out of the kit, especially up in the cymbals," Phil effuses, "and he plays with tremendous sensitivity." Catherine adds, "And John is just the most melodic bass player I've heard. A fantastic musician." Also heard on several tracks is percussionist Pete Korpela whose dedication to his art is so complete that he has been known to craft his own instruments.

Now living in the Bay Area, these life partners and musical collaborators have put their mutual love and respect into Shadow and Light, and it comes through in the music.

"This record is our 'love child,'" Phil says, "The opportunity to record with Catherine was like a dream come true for me. She is not only one of the best composers I know but she is the love of my life, my muse, my inspiration."

The record is Shadow and Light by Catherine Goldwyn and Phil Lewis. Available now from all the usual outlets: iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, Spotify, CDBaby, etc.

Phil Lewis

936A Diablo Ave #518
Novato, CA 94947

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