'3 BEAT' is the 4th solo album from composer, producer & instrumentalist Chris Wells who counts amongst his credits work with IVAN LINS, FOURPLAY, HARVEY MASON, GUINGA, PAUL McCARTNEY & LONDON SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA.. As with previous releases it features the talents of Memphis blues keyboardist Charlie Wood, a long time collaborator and close friend.
"From the outset with this project I very much wanted to produce a record that had been recorded in "the old way", by which I mean that everyone would be playing together, in the same room at the same time, with all that that entails in terms of energy and spontaneity. I also had for a long while intended to make a trio album, but rather than it having a single sound throughout, it should comprise of different combinations. Instead of switching personnel I took the route of varying the instrumentation (keyboards & basses) to provide tonal variation between the tracks. Naturally this called for flexibility and adaptability on the part of the other 2 members of the trio, for which I am grateful to Charlie and bassist Don Richardson, as indeed I am to our engineer Scott Barnett, for enabling us to achieve a homogeneous sound across the entire album.
I chose Realworld Studios because of it's history and reputation as a creative environment and also because of the wonderful setting which made for a very conducive atmosphere in my favourite location in England".
The majority of the songs were written specifically for the album, and cover up-tempo swing to relaxed ballads.
Without any introduction by way of a vamp the album launches directly into "Meantime", a medium / uptempo swing feature for acoustic piano and the ideal vehicle for pianist Wood to deliver his opening statement, his solo demonstrating his dexterity and lyricism in equal measures.
The trio immediately moves into top gear for the next tune, "Keep Asking Questions" which along with a shift in mood also sees a change in tonality, featuring Wurlitzer piano and electric bass. The track takes the form of a theme and variations over an ostinato bass line and features much interplay between Wood and Wells that stems from many years of playing together.
Next up is "Full Circle" which marks the first appearance of the Hammond organ on the album, perhaps the instrument for which Charlie is most noted, before which the mood becomes somewhat more relaxed with the waltz "Verbena", putting the spotlight on Wood's lyrical acoustic piano solo.
"Whatever It Takes" introduces the sound of the Rhodes to the ensemble, whilst "Thinking Aloud" is a swinging shuffle that echoes the laid back sound and style of South African jazz in it's melody and harmony, and one of 2 tracks to feature an acoustic bass solo.
"Song for Mase" was written for jazz drummer Harvey Mason, but rather than being an energetic feature for drums is actually a gentle & melodic waltz, once again spotlighting the Rhodes piano.
"On the Limit" once again puts us back in up-tempo territory, with the return of the Hammond and Charlie pulling out all the stops, literally. This high energy track is immediately followed by the very gentle "Isabella", a graceful jazz waltz.
"Dynamique" is a classic 12 bar blues form, whilst "Priorities & Realities" has at it's core a complex chromatic harmonic structure.
The album is rounded out by 2 contrasting numbers, both featuring Hammond organ. "Something More Important" uses a variation on the blues harmonic form, and closing the set is the upbeat "AZT" which stands out by virtue of its 'straight 8ths', as opposed to swung, feel.
Summarising, Chris observes "This was the kind of record that I had wanted to make for a while, as much as in the manner in which we put it together as the content itself. This was a more inclusive process than my previous projects, and I enjoyed the slightly more hands-off approach that I employed at certain stages of the production".
CHRIS WELLS : 3 BEAT featuring Charlie Wood
Eléctrico 18 (011015)
Charlie Wood: acoustic & electric pianos, Hammond organ
Don Richardson: acoustic & electric bass
Chris Wells: drums
Recorded and mixed by Scott Barnett at Realworld, April 2015
Mastered by Paul Golding
Chris Wells is a composer, producer and instrumentalist specialising in jazz and Brazilian music. He studied orchestral percussion at the Guildhall school of music & drama, since when he has performed in the studio and on stage with a range of prestigious artists across multiple genres, from the London Symphony orchestra to Sir Paul McCartney.
Chris is currently working with Grammy winning Brazilian artist IVAN LINS
As a composer, Chris has recently co-written a track with US drumming legend HARVEY MASON for the 25th Anniversary album of the band FOURPLAY, (of which Harvey is a founding member), and also appears on the album "SILVER" as guest vocalist on their tune "Silver Streak"
Additionally Chris composes music for film and television, and has established Sound Designs Music to look after that area of his work.