Canadian bassist, composer and arranger Steve Haines, now a professor at the University of North Carolina Greensboro and recipient of the North Carolina Jazz Fellowship, has had an active career playing with the likes of Wycliffe Gordon, Joel Frahm and Jason Marsalis. Having already recorded three albums as a leader, Haines now returns with a unique project entitled Steve Haines and the Third Floor Orchestra to be released today on Canadian label Justin Time. The album which draws as much on jazz as it does on classical and Celtic music features a full orchestra and special guests Becca Stevens on vocals, Chad Eby on soprano saxophone, and Joey Calderazzo on piano.
Stevens recalls of the experience: “Singing with an orchestra, my voice or my approach is wider. I want to soar over the area that I have to cover sonically.” As for Eby: “You know I’m pretty accustomed to what you can and can’t do in here in a specifically jazz context. But with this context, sort of all bets are off. But to watch Steve and Becca and Bill (sound engineer Bill Stevens) construct and make the lyrics even more powerful, more poignant, and to have more impact, that was really inspiring.”
The album features several nods to composers from Haines’ homeland, notably Neil Young, Gordon Lightfoot, Leonard Cohen and Kim Mitchell with the reinterpretation of songs such as “Harvest Moon”, “Hallelujah”, and “Patio Lanterns” alongside compositions by Haines and two songs by Stevens.
“I wanted to make a record that I would like and my wife would really enjoy too. She’s not a musician and if she enjoys it and I enjoy it, I figured maybe I’m onto something then,” says Haines of the album. Drummer Kobie Watkins adds: “The music is like nothing you’ve heard. What we have here is just something that’s so organic orchestrally and with a jazz mix.”
We are happy to premiere today on Nextbop the beautiful and graceful waltz, “No More”, written by Stevens and showcasing an inspired solo by Eby.
Steve Haines and the Third Floor Orchestra is available today on Justin Time Records, and an album release show is planned at 8:00 pm, April 26th, at UNCG Auditorium in Greensboro.