We live in a world more globally connected and interwoven than at any point in our known history...well, at least the accepted version. For all the cat videos, memes, and political vitriol spewed forth by the great "like machine" that is social media, that interconnectedness yields some truly wonderful moments, and in some cases, even beautiful collaborative art.
Imagine having the opportunity to make an album with one of your heroes because you reached out on Facebook. Well, that's exactly what launched the Weston/Saxon Groove Assembly's inaugural outing, Acceleration. Los Angeles percussionist Jonathan Saxon contacted on of his drumming idols, the legendary Philadelphia drummer Grant Calvin Weston (Ornette Coleman, James "Blood" Ulmer, Lounge Lizards), on a whim one day, after seeing one of his Facebook posts. Weston had announced that he could record drums at his own studio in Philly, and collaborate via the internet to produce tracks and albums. To Saxon's delight, Weston was totally on board for an album collaboration, at which point he reached out to two veteran Los Angeles creative musicians, Steuart Liebig (Julius Hemphill, Eddie Harris, G.E. Stinson), and Wayne Peet (Nels Cline, John Rapson, Alex Cline) to flesh out some ideas. Co-writing some driving psychedelic groove tunes, these four produced a funky, trippy, and exciting album, perfect for whipping past city lights on a warm summer night.
This tradition of online collaboration, particularly prevalent in the beats music and electronic worlds, opens up an amazing world of possibilities for music. But the potential for collaboration goes far beyond our own mediums. Rolling with this approach, Saxon reached out to videographer Michael Bloom through social media to create a music video to one of their tracks. Bloom loved the music, and was thrilled to be a part of it, and created a gorgeous visual ride through landscapes and city scapes:
But the online facilitation didn't stop there. Saxon reached out to us at Orenda Records to see if we were interested in releasing this music - and of course we were! Once again he'd heard about us and read about us through social media and thought, "why not contact them?"
It's that kind of adventurous spirit that drives so much of the creative process. The question "well, why not?" serves such an immense purpose. Whether it's a physicist re-examining the laws of nature, or a historian digging for alternative answers, or a musician reaching out to make music with his heroes, the open-minded, deep-end-diving spirit drives the very best of our human expansion. And here at Orenda Records, it's the driving force behind nearly everything we do.
—Daniel Rosenboom, September 2015
Weston/Saxon Groove Assembly // Acceleration
Grant Calvin Weston - Drums
Jonathan Saxon - Congas, Mbira, Electric Mbira, Clave, Bells, Rainstick, Orchestral Bells, Bowed Cymbal, Cowbell, Berimbau, Shakers
Wayne Peet - Piano, Hammond B-3 Organ, Synthesizer, Clavinet
Steuart Liebig - Basses, Electronics, Loops