Recording in a small cabin on the northern California coast surrounded by redwoods and overlooking the Pacific Ocean, Pacific Woods is Harrison Goldberg on tenor, alto & soprano saxophones, and Dave Jordan on electric bass. Following in the spontaneous musical footprints of their pilot recording, "Pool of Mirrors," Pacific Woods set out with their new album, Sanctuary, to explore new landscapes in their collective musical imagination.
Improvisation between two different instruments & musical personalities generates tunes that can not be created through a single musician's vision or intellectual analysis and composition; the music emerges from the collaboration. What emerges on the new album are landscapes that take the listener to unexpected places that may at first appear alien, but are cushioned by whiffs of familiarity. The music lures you in, rather than demanding that you listen.
Most of the tracks on Sanctuary are quiet, meditative, first-take improvisations. They include a jazz waltz, a tone poem, a blues, a ballad, a tango, a tune with a Middle Eastern vibe, and a rock-style romp. For example, "Harry's Hat" is a tribute to Goldberg's charismatic paternal grandfather and namesake, Harry, an Eastern European immigrant, who made caps and smoked "Between-the-Acts" cigars. From his business, "Harry the Hatter," Harry loved to watch the dramas unfold on the avenue in New Bedford, Mass.
There are also a few studio-edited tunes which take advantage of overdubs and studio effects. "Castles of Cordoba" uses multiple saxophone voices (Harrison's "saxophone choir") over Dave's pulsing electric bass, creating an orchestral Spanish-tinged piece with echoes of Rodrigo and Gil Evans / Miles Davis. But we avoided the temptation to fix all the flaws using digital magic, and let the spontaneity of the music speak for itself.