New album now available!
Currently available in CD format.
Two Intents download cards and availability on iTunes (and other distribution) will be available at the Digital Release Concert at GigSpace in Ottawa on February 10, 2018.
All compositions by James McGowan
Cereal and Eggs*
James McGowan, piano
Alex Moxon, guitar
JP Lapensee, bass
Jamie Holmes, drums
*On tracks 3 and 4, Modasaurus is joined by Mike Tremblay on tenor saxophone.
Recorded at Kailash Mital Theatre, Carleton University, February 18, 2016, and
August 29 and 30, 2016
Recording engineer: John Rosefield
Mixing and Mastering: Rob Cosh
Cover art by Colin Friedl
Photography by AJ Pascas
Graphic design by James McGowan
There are two intents for naming the group "Modasaurus." On one hand, it combines the musical term “mode” with an imposing and plausible dinosaur name. It sounds a little bit like a mososaurus—and here's an actual mososaurus tooth, donated to us by our friend Jesse Stewart.
On the other, the name suggests the multiple meanings of musical modes as one would find in a “thesaurus.” Fusing together the HML Trio—Jamie Holmes, Alex Moxon, and JP Lapensee—with their former professor and pianist-composer James McGowan, the group thrives by creating a musical fusion of a variety of styles.
A Modasaurus is not a real dinosaur. But if it were, it would be a classy one, well-grounded and getting along with the other dinosaurs, yet innovative and ahead of its time. It would be agile and strong, but also at times epically expressive; a creature willing to explore less familiar lands, then thrive by finding ways to adapt and fuse together different traditions.
Jamie suggested that we find a name with a dinosaur theme. The idea stuck but with a twist: we decided to create our own dinosaur named after the musical concept of “mode.” Modes are crucial to jazz-fusion music in its rich tonality that extend beyond major and minor scales. But a second meaning to mode—a style or fashion—is relevant here as well: the repertoire of Modasaurus would be intentionally diverse where we constantly challenge ourselves to find the fusion among jazz, rock, funk, gospel, latin, and other world music styles, while still rooting ourselves in a sound unique to us. But in the spirit of phrase “two intents,” a second meaning to the quartet’s title is a play on the word “thesaurus.” Thus, our music gives more than one meaning or intention to the modes that we play.
The title Two Intents makes reference to the rich dynamic spectrum of intensity that is found in our compositions. But more significantly, each of the compositions feature more than one meaning behind their names. For example, Prime Time features pre-chorus and chorus sections composed with phrasing with prime numbers, while at the same time creating an "epic" sound meant to be heard in prime time; and the disco-funk Cereal and Eggs brings together a melody and chord progression based on 12-tone serial music with a repeating melodic motif of E-G-G.
Further, all the songs themselves feature two (or more) contrasting elements that are at times juxtaposed and at times fused together. For example, FreeFall Funk presents a "free" ballad, which is then melodically and harmonically reinterpreted in a funk section, with a "falling" pattern articulating the sections; and Dancing Preacher similarly recomposes a jazz waltz as a gospel-rock tune, with the preacher comfortably dancing past the pitfalls of changing meters.
The play on words is a tribute to my father, the punster, who died in 2004, who would undoubtedly have appreciated it.
Building upon jazz-fusion traditions, the sound in Two Intents features toe-tapping funk grooves, rich sonic palettes, memorable melodies both composed and improvised, rhythmic twists and turns, and a compelling range of dynamic energy from exuberant to introspective and back again.