Erik Lawrence: Saxophones, Flutes, Toys, Bells, Voice; Ayelet Rose Gottlieb: Voice, Breast-pump, Bells; Anat Fort: Piano, Mbira, Voice; Maor, Yasmin & Maia Levavi – Voices, Harmonica, Toy Piano, Piano, Crackers, Bells
“Children of all ages just might turn out to be sages”
An eight year old boy jumps into the family Volvo to spend a day with his dad. The car is loaded with instruments, saxophones and flutes, that his father plays professionally. Their destination, a converted church on 57th Street in Manhattan that has recently become a recording studio.
For the next few hours, his father Arnie Lawrence plays improvised music with three friends and bandmates. Dickie, the five year old son of legendary bassist Richard Davis is there too. And while the quartet begins making music, Dickie and Ricky (Erik) run around the studio, picking up instruments, whistles and horns and contribute to the ambiance being created by their elders.
The music begins with Lawrence’s flute in an impromptu duet with the inventive piano of Dick Hyman. the voices of the children wander in and out. Davis’ countenance on bass joins the conversation. So does the tabla and percussion of Ed Shaugnessey. The music is entirely improvised and unfolds as a suite entitled “Inside An Hourglass”. Recorded in one day, and released on Herbie Mann’s Embryo label, the music has so many chapters, twists and turns. The year is 1969, the Summer of Love.
Nearly fifty years later Erik Lawrence is a saxophonist, flutist, following his own path but strongly influenced by the icon his father became during his life. He flew to Vancouver, Canada at the urging of his dear friend Ayelet Rose Gottlieb, an exploratory vocalist, composer, improvisor and arranger, who was a protégé of Arnie’s in her youth in Jerusalem. Her idea, to recreate the setting with her own children, twins Ma’or and Yasmin and baby Maia, providing the role of children of young ages. She was inspired to further explore the process started by Arnie, to break down the wall between being “musician” and “parent”. To remove the either/or limitations and to incorporate the sounds of life in the art of music making.
A perfect partner for this project proved to be close mutual friend, pianist Anat Fort, who has a long history with both Ayelet and Erik and was in Vancouver to play at the International Jazz Festival. A studio was contracted with little plan but to make sure there were enough microphones open. The three adults in the room shed their egos, embraced their mutual admiration and freed their minds for the unknown. A few poems were extracted, including one written by Arnie for his Children of All Ages project in the 1970’s, with the refrain, “Children of all ages just might turn out to be sages.”
Like the original recording fifty years prior, all the music was improvised, no ideas were discussed. Spontaneous music, played by children, children of children, children with children and intended for children of All Ages.