Tanner releases first CD
The CD, which features eight original compositions for steel band by Tanner, was recorded in June of 2010 and January of this year in Miami University’s Presser Hall. "Every track on the recording follows the format of steel band with jazz soloist," says Tanner. “Other than that, the CD is quite diverse, as samba, bossa nova, calypso, ska, funk, blues and beguine styles are all featured.” On one track (Emerald Isle) Tanner performs as soloist on lead pan, while saxophone, trumpet, trombone, guitar and vibraphone are featured in solo capacities on other pieces. "The steel band is a very versatile ensemble," says Tanner, noting that it is much like a jazz ensemble in terms of compositional and stylistic possibilities. "I regularly invite horn players and other instrumentalists to perform with the MU Steel Band, so that dynamic is part of my philosophy in terms of steel band repertoire."
Members of the steel band on the CD include MU Steel Band alumni Jason Koontz (lead pan); Ed LeBorgne (double tenor pan); Mike Marston and Justin Jodrey (double second pan): Janine Tiffe (triple guitar pan); and Ben Meyer (drumset).
Local jazz artists, including MU faculty members Jeremy Long (saxophone) and Jaime Morales-Matos (trombone), fill out the roster of musicians on the recording. Exceptions include Pittsburgh, PA-based guitarist Eric Susoeff, and percussionist Michael Spiro, who lives in California but also teaches at Indiana University.
"It is very gratifying to have the recording project finished and available for people to hear," says Tanner. "It represents nearly two years of effort, and even longer if you consider the project from a compositional point of view, as several of the charts were composed in the early 2000s. I simply have never featured them on any MU Steel Band discs, as I wanted to reserve them for my own projects.”
The recording is available through Pan Ramajay (PR) Productions and should appear on iTunes very soon, says Tanner. PR Productions also plans to publish each of the compositions featured on the recording over an 18-month period. One of the works, Telling Lies, is already available and was recently performed by a mass steel band at the Percussive Arts Society International Convention in Indianapolis, Indiana, as part of the society’s 50th anniversary celebration.
Ramajay Records and Ramjay Productions is owned by fellow steel pan composer-performer Tom Miller. A collaborator with Tanner on many projects over the years, Miller was the engineer as well as co-producer of First Impression.