For Herbie

Back in October 2015 I was researching random music topics somewhere at the bottom of a YouTube rabbit hole where I found the inspiration for this album. Herbie Hancock. Herbie gave a beautiful speech and the topic was on Buddhism and Creativity (as it related to his experience in life and music).

Watching his speech stirred something up inside of me and I’m not afraid to admit it made me rather emotional. After I finished the video I was so inspired by… Improvisation. Mind you improvisation has always inspired me and fueled my career thus far but his view on improv really reminded me of what it truly is. Pure and unedited you. As a musician we all struggle with self improvement. This self improvement can help us (for obvious reasons) but it can also hurt and damage us if we let it. If we’re constantly improving we are never truly appreciating ourselves in the present moment. The present moment is all we have so if we can’t appreciate ourselves now what makes us think we’ll appreciate ourselves later after the next 100 hours of practicing.

So I took the pressure off myself and I decided to just PLAY. That’s what I did. For over seven minutes that’s all I did. I simply played anything that came to mind. Any melody I was hearing and you notice that on other songs as well. The same ideas keep surfacing in different ways throughout the record. For Herbie is the manifestation of all the things I am as a musician. It doesn’t stop with Herbie. Obviously there are so many people I have to thank for this album but it was that speech that tipped the scales and started this project.

When I started, I only made this piece to share with some friends mainly to get their opinion and I did get some great ones. Someone recommended adding bells or different instruments to accent various ideas that were being played. Someone else recommended taking ideas out of this piece and making those ideas into their own separate songs.

Although these are great ideas I decided to go with my own idea. Follow the inspiration. I was inspired to create pure improvised pieces. I could edit and change them but I have fallen in love with them. I have decided that this is the style of art I would like to create. I love it and I can hear the beauty and pain in each one of these pieces and I will never edit these final copies. They are what they are and I would never change anything about them because, they are me. Not the current me but the me I was through the winter of 2015/2016. I don’t know about you but that was an amazing year and I will always cherish this material that came out of that season.


James Daniel

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