To download the tracks below or the entire Yellow Bell CDs of 'Sa Ta Na Ma', 'The Empty Mind', 'Svadharma', and 'Rain Trance' go to the download page on the top bar here or at Richard Brookens / Yellow Bell Music on FaceBook.
Originally issued on 'bamboo dynasty', this was a piece that choreographer Damaris Ferrer asked me to do for her modern dance piece 'Ablution'. I improvised the basic tracks for this piece on my Korg O1W at one of the rehearsals with the dancers, then went home and 'dressed it up'. I performed on Alto Flute with the sequence and the dancers live quite a few times before I put it on 'bamboo dynasty'.
Originally issued on 'bamboo dynasty', I played all three parts on the Bansuri (bamboo flute from India) with accompaniment on the Clay pot by Tom Lee and shaker by Joe Zeytoonian, this piece was written to have the feel of an Irish gigue on a penny whistle.
Originally released on 'Svadharma', I played two tabla drums instead of the usual pair of Tabla and Bayan, and used some large Indian Brass bells, scraping and striking them to round out the percussion sound. The melody on bamboo flute had been improvised one night at a session and then developed later. Amit Chaterjee added his talents on Sitar.
Originally released on 'Svadharma', and recorded at one of the original Yellow Bell sessions, this tune was recorded live with an 8-piece ensemble - two drum sets, two percussionists (one doubling on didgeridoos) , two bassists (acoustic and electric), acoustic piano, and soprano sax. The melodies of the piece are built on a diminished scale, and were sketched out the day of the session and then doubled later with vocals.
Originally released on 'Svadharma', it was conceived as a Flamenco piece to feature the percussive footwork of that art form. The piece had to be re-thought when the lead dancer got lost on the highway during a rainstorm. She never showed up the night of the recording and then decided to drop out of the project. The other dancer I regularly worked with was out of town for the near future so I decided to compose a melody for Bansuri (Indian bamboo flute) and double it with bowed Acoustic Bass. Adding the funky Baritone Sax part also happened after we had begun the recording of the tune.
Originally issued on 'bamboo dynasty', this is a musical rhythmic puzzle. I use the Dizi (bamboo flute from China) on this piece. The cut here is an excerpt. The original cut is 16:07 (available on the CD at www.yellowbellmusic.com). This is a type of mirror composition or palindromic piece I have fallen in love with and actually led me to study Indian Ragas as the rhythmic concepts and the free beginning have correlations in that music.
Originally released on 'Lake Melva Meditation' I used a Dizi (Chinese bamboo flute) to provide a drone for the Bansuri (bamboo flute from India). The simplicity of using only the two flutes provides a direct connection to the meditative mind.
Originally released on 'Svadharma', Dharana is one of the eight limbs of Yoga meaning 'one pointed concentration'. This is another recording from the original Yellow Bell sessions - the basic idea was improvised on a live 'Free Jazz' gig I did one night. Based on a 6 note scale using two major triads a half step apart (G and F concert), for awhile I called this tune 'six-note'. Later, a minor seventh (E) was added because it seemed to need it. At the recording session I tried to give the players in the large ensemble 'roles' but not complete written parts. Amit Chaterjee overdubbed a great Sitar part for us much later.
Originally released on 'Svadharma', Dhyana is one of the eight limbs of Yoga meaning 'meditation'. It uses a one-note drone and I improvised the piece based on the sound of a Major tonic chord and a IV minor chord.
Originally released on 'Svadharma', this is one of the more composed pieces on the CD. Nicole Yarling played violin on the melody and scatted a great vocal solo. I conceived the melody as an Irish Gigue in a major scale and used a rhythm of 14/4 divided in half into two groups of seven, and then further sub-dividing it into 4-3-3-4. I think of this as a palindromic meter, and continue to enjoy playing this sort of rhythm. I first used this concept with this time signature in 'Botswana Waltz' on the 'Yellow Bell / bamboo dynasty' CD.
Originally released on the 'Sa Ta Na Ma' CD, I played the Egyptian bamboo flute and used a harmonica for the drone, approximating a harmonium.
Originally released on 'Svadharma', percussionist Michael Moses and I had found this sonority using the Dizi (Chinese bamboo flute), the Wah-Wah bells, and his double Ocarina on the 'Riversticks / Ferryman's Release' CD (available on www.yellowbellmusic.com). I wanted a chance to develop that combination of sounds and the day of the Yellow bell session Michael proposed doing something in 5/4, hence the title of the piece.
This piece was composed for Filmmaker Jon Braely's documentary The Empty Mind. He used 11 other cuts from five Yellow Bell CD's for the soundtrack. The film won 'Best Florida Film' in the 2004 Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival (FliFF). This twelfth piece features me on the Dizi (Chinese bamboo) flute, Clay Pot, Shekere, and Indian Brass Bells.
Originally released on 'Svadharma', this tune was from a session drummer Abbey Rader led. With no overdubs I played the Tenor and Soprano Saxes at the same time. Thanks for letting me include it on 'Svadahrma', Abbey.
Originally released on the 'Sa Ta Na Ma' CD. In Kundalini Yoga as taught by Yogi Bhajan's 3HO, 'Ong Namo Guru Dev Namo' is one of the most powerful mantras. It is used to tune in to your higher self - usually before meditation. 'Ong' - the Creator, 'Namo' - a reverent greeting, 'Guru' - one who enlightens, and 'Dev' - non-physical. The phrase recognizes God, Guru, and the teacher within. Amit Chaterjee sent tingles up our spines when he improvised the lead vocal in the studio. He also added his talents on Sitar that day.
Originally released on 'Lake Melva Meditation' the sound of the Australian Didgeridoo provides a background of long rolling tones while the bamboo flute from China (Dizi) weaves in and out of the natural sounds of rain falling in the distance in addition to water drops falling into a nearby pool. This is an excerpt - the original release is 30:16 long (available on the CD at www.yellowbellmusic.com).
Originally released on 'Svadharma', and another of the original sessions this was almost an afterthought at the end of the second night of recording. With a smaller group and electric bass we did a short take of the coda from the original 'Dharana'.
The Sa Ta Na Ma meditation is a great catalyst for change in your life. 'Sa' - all that ever was, 'Ta - creativity, 'Na' - Destruction, $quot;Ma$quot; – Regeneration, all four parts together representing the cycle of life. In Kundalini Yoga as taught by Yogi Bhajan's 3HO, Sa Ta Na Ma is one of the most powerful mantras, often preceded by Ong Namo Guru Dev Namo (above). There is an 11 and 31 minute version of Sa Ta Na Ma on the original 'Sa Ta Na Ma CD (available at www.yellowbellmusic.com). There is a lot to do during this meditation - in turn singing, whispering, and mentally reciting the mantra while using a mudra (positioning of the hand). Full instructions are included with the CD and both meditations are followed by bamboo flute pieces (Dhyana and Egyptian Moon above) to allow the continuation of the meditative state.
Originally released on 'Svadharma', and also from the original Yellow Bell sessions, I play Tenor Sax with bass and drums. This is probably the closest to a straight-ahead tune, but no chordal instruments, allowing me a lot more freedom.
Originally released on 'Svadharma', this is another piece from the original Yellow Bell sessions. when I originally composed this piece, this was the intro played on Alto flute while breathing lightly and popping the keys. The full melody with chord changes has still not been recorded.