On Tuesday, March 29th, “Five Leaves Left: A Tribute To Nick Drake” by the Jason Parker Quartet was released. Each day thereafter I wrote at length about one of the tracks – how the arrangement came about, what went down in the studio, thoughts about the performances, etc. Click here to read them all.
Click the play button to listen to the track while reading
“Saturday Sun” marks the end of Nick Drake’s classic debut album Five Leaves Left. It’s a gorgeous, melancholy tune that is the perfect period at the end of the sentence. It’s also the only time Nick played piano on the record, showing himself to be accomplished on that instrument as well.
I knew that this would be a song that Josh could really sink his teeth into. The bluesy, gospel playing is right up his alley. We tried a couple takes with the full band at the end of the second day of recording. It had been a long day, and I don’t think any of us had much energy left to give it. The takes were fine, but I knew that I wanted to try again when we came back on the final day in the studio.
Josh and I were the first ones to arrive, and as we were warming up and getting ready, I asked Doug to roll tape and told Josh I wanted to run the tune with just the two of us. It was a spur-of-the-moment decision, and it turned out to be the right one! Five minutes later, when we ended the tune, I turned around to see Evan and D’Vonne sitting in the control room with Doug. They were all smiling, and Evan said matter-of-factly, “That’s the take”. There was no need to even try again. We knew we had it. The simplicity of the piano/flugelhorn duo fit the tune perfectly and makes a great end to our album.
For comparison purposes, here’s the Nick Drake version of the tune:
So there you have it. “Five Leaves Left: A Tribute To Nick Drake” by the Jason Parker Quartet, track by track. I hope you’ve enjoy these little glimpses into the tunes and the arranging/recording process. If you haven’t yet downloaded your copy of the album, please do so at the link above. All downloads are on a “pay what you think it’s worth” basis, so you’ve got nothing to lose! If you want a copy of the physical CD, you can purchase that too.