In 2019, I visited American bassist Barre Phillips at his secluded mountainside home in France, a 17th century stone house attached to an 11th century stone church - the Chapelle Ste. Philomène - where he had been living since 1972.
I had visited earlier, in 1999, and at the time he had mused about the possibility of me doing some bass recording there. In retrospect that was a very kind suggestion to make to a relative beginner; I had been playing bass for ten years, but only playing freely improvised music for a little more than three. We stayed in touch sporadically over the next two decades, and I saw him play live when I could, which was not easy, as he plays his native country rarely.
So I was excited when, in 2019, it worked out for me to come back to Barre’s home. Upon visiting him, he not only loaned me his bass but also joined in. We spent a couple relaxed hours on a stunningly gorgeous early fall day - you can hear a bird singing in the open doorway at one point - passing the bass back and forth, each one playing for a few minutes and then handing it over to the other, just enjoying the rich, almost palpable overtones bouncing off the ancient stone, and listening to the sounds and ideas unroll.
Barre told me this album will represent the first public document of his solo playing in the Chapelle Ste. Philomène, a place where he has recorded only a small number of albums in his deep discography, but which had been his home for half a century. Shortly after my visit, Barre and his wife Mary left the Chapelle and moved to the little town of Puget-Ville at the foot of the mountain. I’m honored to have had a small role in the legacy of the Chapelle and in the ongoing musical travels of its longtime occupant.
released May 23, 2020
Deep gratitude to Barre and Mary for being such gracious hosts; and to Linda Gale Aubry for her constant support, consultation on visual design, and gentle prodding when I get bogged down in my own hangups.
We played Barre's Fly Auray bass made by luthier Jean Auray in Villefranche-sur-Saône, France.
Recorded at Chapelle Ste. Philomène, Puget-Ville, France. Ambisonic recordings mixed to stereo and mastered by Mike at Ears In Space, Massachusetts.