Tap Haven

I’m not entirely sure when I wrote this song. It could be as early as 1981. I played it all the time and had always intended it to be a backdrop for other solo instruments. During my freshman year, I met a guy named George Dittmeier. George and I became great friends before I even had a clue he had these kind of chops. I think I must have heard him play with the CMU jazz ensemble before it occurred to me to ask him to blow some saxophone on this tune. He showed up at my studio apartment on a bitterly cold winter day in 1984/85 with his alto saxophone. He also brought a little black case with him and said ‘I brought my flute, too.’…bonus!

We recorded the saxophone (through my vocal mic) and the guitar live onto a cassette (I punched in the flanger for the bridge, but it’s all a continuous track). Then we played the cassette back on my Walkman (no shit, we really did this) through the mixer with the flute and recorded this onto a second cassette.

I apologize for all the noise on the recording, but George’s performances on sax and flute made it a keeper. The only instructions I gave him were to play the first verse straight, open up a little on the second, and turn it loose for the last. His laugh at the end was proof that even he was pleased with the sixteenth notes at the end. What makes this even more amazing to me is that this song is in the key of E (Eb is the natural key of saxophones and flutes) and he had to add 8 sharps to the key and improvise on the fly. I don’t have the first clue how to do that on a woodwind, but thinking about doing it on a piano gives me a brain freeze.

Originally recorded in 2-track stereo in 1984. Re-engineered to digital from the stereo mix using Cool96 September 1999

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