David Roitstein
Both Sides

note from the composer:
This double CD represents a small sample of compositions written for friends and family over the years, a portrait of both sides of my musical personality.  The music is separated here into two discs – one of thoroughly notated compositions (“chamber music”) and the other with compositions for improvisation (“jazz”).  I don’t see them as separate, however – the magical process of discovery is the same.

DISC 1  (Chamber Music)

tracks 1-4:
The Sisters of Pele (for guitar and piano)  2005
I
II
III
IV

guitar:  Larry Koonse
piano:  David Roitstein
recorded at Capitol Studio B, Oct. 15, 2008.

“Moving back and forth in the wind,
Softly moving in the quiet breeze,
Rocking by the side of the sea.”
(ancient Hopoe chant)

In the fall of 2005, I collaborated on a project with Rachel Berman, CalArts dance faculty.  Rachel, whose family is from Hawaii, played me some of her favorite slack-key guitar recordings, and we were off and running.  She choreographed the music for three beautiful women dancers in flowing skirts, and the work was premiered and performed several times at CalArts Modular Theater, and at REDCAT (with Michael Kudirka on guitar).  The quote above is from a legend about Hopoe, a dancer, who was changed into a lava rock by Pele, the Fire Goddess.  For centuries, Hopoe has been known as the Dancing Stone of Puna.

tracks 5-8:
Anna Maria Suite (for bass and piano)  2004

1-  Anna Maria Bridge
Our family has visited Anna Maria Island (Florida) every summer for over 30 years.  Crossing the bridge for the first time each year brings a feeling of anticipation and release.  When the car drives over the drawbridge grating, the tires make a wonderful little song that is the basis for this movement.

2-  Lightning Strikes
Tampa Bay is known as the lightning capital of the world.  Even when you know that you are safe inside, during a spectacular storm there is a sense of unease and anxiety.

3-  Gulf at Sunset
If you are lucky enough to be at the Gulf of Mexico in the evening at sunset, you know that you have seen God’s work.

4-  Mood Swings
Just like driving into a solid wall of Florida rain, human behavior can take sudden and unexpected turns.

bass:  Andrew Roitstein
piano:  David Roitstein
recorded at Capitol Studio B, Jan 5, 2010.

Anna Maria Suite was written for my son Andrew while he was a bass student at Juilliard.  The solo bass repertoire is somewhat limited, and I wanted to give him something special and new to play.

track 9:
¡Flautas! (for flute quartet, piano, and percussion)  1992

flute & piccolo:  Steve Kujala
flute:  Rosy Sackstein
flute:  Matthew Roitstein
flute:  Alina Roitstein
piano:  David Roitstein
congas & bell:  Michito Sanchez
recorded at O’Henry, June 6, 2004.

¡Flautas! was premiered at the 1992 National Flute Association convention in Los Angeles.  The piece is based on Cuban dance and percussion rhythms, and is dedicated to my wife, Rosy Sackstein.

track 10:
Duo for Flute and Piano  1982

flute:  Matthew Roitstein
piano:  David Roitstein
recorded at Firehouse, Aug. 20, 2008.

The Duo is also dedicated to Rosy.  I wrote it for her to perform at the 1982 NFA convention in Seattle.  When it came time to record the piece for this project, our son Matthew wanted to play it (and Rosy said yes!).

DISC 2  (Jazz)

1- The Grouch  1986
tenor sax:  Chuck Manning
trombone:  Alex Iles
guitar:  Larry Koonse
piano:  David Roitstein
bass:  Darek Oles
drums:  Joe LaBarbera
recorded at O’Henry, June 13, 2004.

The Grouch was composed at CalArts for a small electric band, and the rhythmic part at the beginning was programmed on a sequencer.  But we’ve played it in lots of different versions since then, and it’s much more fun to play the sequencer part on piano.  Listen to Alex Iles’ trombone solo…

2- Training Wheels  2003
tenor sax:  Chuck Manning
trombone:  Alex Iles
guitar:  Larry Koonse
piano:  David Roitstein
electric bass:  Dante Pascuzzo
drums:  Aaron Serfaty
recorded at Capitol Studio B, June 17, 2004.

The title Training Wheels refers to learning to play over a rhythm cycle in 7.  It started as an “etude” and quickly turned into a thoroughly enjoyable game!

3- Arrugas (Wrinkles)   2004
tenor sax:  Chuck Manning
trombone:  Alex Iles
guitar:  Larry Koonse
piano:  David Roitstein
electric bass:  Dante Pascuzzo
drums:  Aaron Serfaty
congas:  Kiko Cornejo, Jr.
recorded at Capitol Studio B, June 17, 2004.

I grew up in Miami, listening to and working with some master musicians from Cuba.  One of my favorite things about Afro-Cuban music is how the best players are always subconsciously on both levels of time – triplet and duplet.  This tune was written to explore the relationship between the two layers of rhythm.  Chuck Manning’s tenor solo is a highlight of this track, and Dante Pascuzzo, Aaron Serfaty, and Kiko Cornejo make the transitions “wrinkle free!”

4- Tristeza  1983
tenor sax:  Chuck Manning
trombone:  Alex Iles
guitar:  Larry Koonse
piano:  David Roitstein
bass:  Darek Oles
drums:  Joe LaBarbera
recorded at O’Henry, June 13, 2004.

Tristeza is a very special composition for me, and I’ll let the music speak for itself.

5- D.O.B.  2003
tenor sax:  Chuck Manning
trombone:  Alex Iles
guitar:  Larry Koonse
piano:  David Roitstein
bass:  Darek Oles
drums:  Joe LaBarbera
recorded at O’Henry, June 13, 2004.

Just for fun.  Darek Oles’ bass solo makes me laugh every time.

6- Framework  1998
tenor sax:  Chuck Manning
trombone:  Alex Iles
guitar:  Larry Koonse
piano:  David Roitstein
bass:  Darek Oles
drums:  Joe LaBarbera
recorded at O’Henry, June 13, 2004.

In 1998, we put together a band with all of the jazz faculty at CalArts to perform at the IAJE convention in Anaheim (January 1999).  This tune was a feature for the legendary John Bergamo to play a frame drum solo.  In this version, the equally legendary Joe LaBarbera’s drum solo is the climax.

7- Gato Rojo  2003
tenor sax:  Chuck Manning
trombone:  Alex Iles
guitar:  Larry Koonse
piano:  David Roitstein
electric bass:  Dante Pascuzzo
drums:  Aaron Serfaty
congas:  Kiko Cornejo, Jr.
recorded at Capitol Studio B, June 17, 2004.

Since 2003, CalArts has had a theater in downtown Los Angeles within the Walt Disney Concert Hall Complex.  It’s called REDCAT (Roy and Edna Disney CalArts Theater), and I wrote Gato Rojo for the opening ceremonies.

8- Pelican Man  2003
tenor sax:  Chuck Manning
trombone:  Alex Iles
guitar:  Larry Koonse
piano:  David Roitstein
bass:  Darek Oles
drums:  Joe LaBarbera
recorded at O’Henry, June 13, 2004.

One of our family’s stories is about Pelican Man, a character who hangs out at the beach we go to every summer.  He wears skimpy Speedos, plays hand drums on the beach at sunset, and looks vaguely like a pelican.  He deserved to have a song written for him…

9- Bedtime Story  2003
guitar:  Larry Koonse
piano:  David Roitstein
recorded at O’Henry, June 13, 2004.

The amazing Larry Koonse is my frequent duo partner, and I will always be grateful for everything about Larry.  The title of this one is a result of my daughter Alina’s observation that while practicing in the evenings, I would often play this song last, just before going to sleep.

 

COVER ART:

“Piano Roll”  pen and ink, 1974, by Norma Jane
This delightful and whimsical drawing is by my favorite artist, my mother Norma.

PHOTO CREDITS:

All photos by Scott Groller and Steve Gunther (CalArts photographers)
except “concert photo (1997)” by Giuliana Giuliano,
and “San Miguel de Allende, Mexico (July 2007)” by Rosy Sackstein.

PRODUCTION CREDITS:

Engineered & Mixed by PETER DOELL
Mastered by
Produced by DAVID ROITSTEIN
Assistant Producer:  BILL PURSE

Recorded at Capitol Studios (Hollywood), O’Henry Sound (Burbank), Firehouse Recording (Pasadena)
Assistant Engineers (Capitol):  Steve Genewick, Charlie Paakkari, Aaron Walk, Jimmy Hoyson
Assistant Engineer (O’Henry):   Scott Moore
Assistant Engineer (Firehouse):  Milton Gutierrez
Mixed at Capitol Studios
Mastered at

 

SPECIAL THANKS to:

ALL of the wonderful musicians that so generously helped me with this project:
Larry Koonse, Andrew Roitstein, Steve Kujala, Rosy Sackstein, Matthew Roitstein, Alina Roitstein, Michito Sanchez, Teri DeSario, Julie Feves, Merlin Petroff, Mark Menzies.
Chuck Manning,  Alex Iles, Larry Koonse, Darek Oles, Joe LaBarbera, Carmen Lundy, Dante Pascuzzo, Aaron Serfaty, Kiko Cornejo.

Peter Doell, my good friend and favorite engineer in the world.
Bill Purse, whose ears (and calm demeanor) I trust most of all.
Aaron Serfaty, whose persistent nagging helped me to finally get this completed.
Paula Salvatore, for over 20 years we have depended on Paula to help us continue recording creative music at the best studio on earth (Capitol).
Lauren Pratt, for her wise and patient advice and support throughout this long process.
Vinny Golia, for sharing his expertise, imagination, and ideas so freely.

my mother Norma, I’ve been dreaming of having her art as the visual center of this project for much longer than I can even say.
my brother, Steve Roitstein 
(he has taught me so much about so many things) and my sister, Anne Colangeli.
my other mother, Rosalina G. Sackstein 
– still my piano teacher after all these years, and my musical inspiration.
Harold Sackstein,
I miss you, Papa.
my three amazing children – Matthew, Andrew, Alina 
– I am so proud of you!
and most of all, my wife and partner in everything, Rosy Sackstein 
– I love you!

Mel Powell Chair, honorary endowment
George and Mary Lou Boone Fund for Artistic Advancement
Duke / Surdna Foundation
CalArts Faculty Development Fund
Lynn Rosenfeld
David Rosenboom