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
“Three Hours” has always been one of my favorite Nick Drake songs. In fact, it was the first of his tunes that I arranged for the JPQ. It was that experience, and how well it turned out, that got me thinking about the concept for the new album in the first place. As such, it’s the tune we’ve been playing for the longest – over three years at this point.
It proved to be a tricky one for this project, as we had already recorded it on our last album, No More, No Less. For that version, I decided to strip the song down to it’s barest essentials, which are the signature bass line and one chord (a D7sus chord, for those keeping score). That simplicity allowed us to take the song in just about any direction we wanted it to go, which you can hear on that record (there’s also a great video of us playing the tune at a master class at Cal State Bakersfield on our Spring tour here).
For the new record, I wanted to keep the essence of the tune the same, but I wanted to try something different. First of all, I added Cynthia Mullis on tenor sax. This is the perfect kind of tune for her free-wheeling style, and she’d played it a bunch with us live. I knew her addition to the tune would take us in new and different directions.
We took a couple stabs at it in the studio, each taking our own solo, and each take turned out to be 18-20 minutes long. No one needs that. 😉 So we decided to try a take where we all soloed at the same time, building one-by-one until it was pretty much a free for all. We only needed one try to get the take, and I’m excited with how it turned out. There’s lots of communication happening between us, different people stepping up to take the lead at different times, and a great arc to the tune.
For comparison purposes, here’s the Nick Drake version of the tune:
Tomorrow we’ll talk about “Way To Blue”, which was the very last arrangement I came up with, with just hours to spare!