To uncover the depths of ‘After Hours‘, please click here to find the disc.
Happy Jazz Appreciation month! To celebrate the occasion, we’re looking back at one of our favourite releases of last year, CPM’s ‘After Hours‘ with Arnie Somogyi and Rob Townsend – the legendary composers behind the masterpiece. Both Arnie and Rob are talented musicians in their own right. Their live collaborations include the likes of extraordinary Steve Hackett, Tom Jones and Amy Winehouse.
Taking their valuable musical experiences thus far, they set to create a timeless ode to Jazz with a modern twist. Join us in conversation with Arnie and Rob, reflecting on their love of all things jazz and their epic creation ‘After Hours‘.
So how did you both first discover Jazz?
Rob: My mum played me some trad jazz on one those 70s compilation albums – I think I was intrigued by the improvising. I must have been 11 years old and it was probably Chris Barber or Acker Bilk! Later I heard Charlie Parker playing, which rather blew me away. There wasn’t a bowler hat or waistcoat in sight, which can only be a good thing!
Arnie: My Dad had a few records and my Gran was really into Fats Waller and Oscar Peterson. One of my earliest memories was her playing a recording of Fats Waller’s ‘Your Feets Too Big’, and dancing around to it with my brother and cousins.
What does Jazz personally mean to you?
Arnie: It’s how I’ve made my living for the last 30 years. I think the reason I’m still doing it is because no two situations or gigs are ever the same. That’s the great thing about improvised music.
Rob: Similarly for me, improvising is a great take on life! We often end up doing gigs where we don’t know what we’ll play, or even who with until an hour before the gig! I think it teaches you to be happy dealing with the unknown.
What is the most iconic piece of Jazz you’ve heard?
Arnie: Probably Charles Mingus’ ‘Ah Um’. I was 19 and had bought a double bass. I was already playing electric, but liked the look and sound of the larger instrument. I started checking out the great double bass players and that was one of the first albums I bought. I remember putting it on (it was an LP vinyl) and thinking «What is THAT?!” I still go back to that album. It has great energy and stands the test of time.
Rob: Iconic is a difficult one to answer because I’m into so many forms of jazz. Miles Davis was an icon at the cutting edge of every development in jazz since the Bebop era. Some of my favourites include ‘Kind of Blue’, ‘Miles 58’, ‘Complete 1964 Concert’ and ‘Miles Smiles’
Rob: Thanks. I love this album, it brings back memories of a really great time recording with some fantastic musicians in a great studio. I feel that there is a real sense of joy in the album that reflects the art form well. Sometimes music is overthought and loses its freshness. This album is timeless and will never pass its sell by date!
Arnie: It sounds good. I really like the musicianship on it and because it’s straight down the line without gimmicks. I reckon it’ll still sound fresh in 30 year’s time.
Looking back, where did you find the inspiration for the tracks?
Rob: We were going for a more groove based take on the music with an element of “the dance” if you know what I mean, so we checked out all the great musicians playing this kind of soul jazz the first time round. The likes of Cannonball Adderley, Jimmy Smith, Les McCann, Eddie Harris to name a few.
Arnie: It’s really an amalgamation of 35 years of listening to great jazz.
What is your favourite song from the album?
Arnie: ‘Together Again‘. It’s simultaneously chilled and groovy. Rob wrote it.
Rob: One of Arnie’s – ‘Full House‘. He writes such catchy melodies with real hooks
Any reflecting thoughts you’d like people to take away from ‘After Hours’?
Rob: A real sense of fun and hope they can hear the joy in the music.
Arnie: Definitely! I really hope that the fun we had recording it comes across to the listener.
Credit: Fatema Jairaj