Richard Warren FieldRichard Warren Field - Writer/Musician

Issa Music

“Issa Music” Liner Notes  Detailed Notes on All Issa Pieces

During the late 1980s, while visiting my brother Bill in New Mexico with my soon-to-be-wife Carrie, she and I were browsing in a bookstore in Santa Fe. Carrie picked up a book about the “lost years” of Jesus, the years the Christian bible makes nearly no comment about, from Jesus’s teen years, to his thirties, when he emerges with his fully-formed spirituality and his mission that would change humanity, both spiritually and historically. Carrie toyed with buying the book, but put it back on the shelf. As we walked around the bookstore, I realized that
I wanted that book—the “lost years” of Jesus sounded fascinating.

The book I bought turned out to be a fringe book, written by the wife of a recently deceased leader of a small, unconventional loosely Christian sect. But the book introduced me to the legend of St. Issa, a man who around the time of Jesus, traveled from the Middle East to Tibet and India, who learned Hinduism and Buddhism, and then brought them back to his homeland where he was executed by local authorities for some perceived transgression. This story fascinated me. If this St. Issa was Jesus, then Christianity links East and West. With Islam’s link to Christianity, this story implies links among much of humanity’s spiritual traditions. I saw a possible novel, based on this legend. I dove into research, eventually buying over a hundred books on related subjects.

I have now read over fifty of those books, and this is still project I intend to complete one day. But I discovered that the topic of Jesus’s “lost years,” and of the true historical events of Jesus’s life, is an intensely complex subject. I have read everything from books by scholars who argue there was no historical Jesus to those who argue for total accuracy of the Christian New Testament. (These two extremes both seem difficult to maintain. There is too much peripheral evidence of Jesus, some of it embarrassing reality, to argue seriously that Jesus was a total invention. An invented myth would not contain some of the details that are not consistent with a mythological figure. But the biblical accounts cannot be entirely accurate for the simple fact that the four Gospels contain utterly contradictory versions of the same events.)

How does all this get to the music? I started reading and outlining for a novel on this subject—working title, “St. Issa.” I love to listen to music while I work. I looked for music that would bring me to the mood I wanted. I couldn’t find any music I was happy with. So, I decided to create it myself, a fusion of West and East. The first idea was to create jam sessions using eastern and western sounds and modes. “Eastern Jam” was the first piece. The first few pieces that followed “Eastern Jam” maintained this concept. But this very quickly evolved to the concept of taking a theme, then placing it in all sorts of tonal and improvisational settings. The Roland D-50 synthesizer had all sorts of exotic lead sounds. The Yamaha TX modules had great metallic and percussive sounds. I was able to bathe these pieces in exotic pitched drum sounds and great metallic sounds, including exploding gongs. The Ensoniq EPS sampler gave me nice brass, string and flute samples (as well as other exotic sounds). I had a basic bass machine (Professional Midi-Bass) and drum machine (Korg DD1) to anchor the pieces. I could bring all this together using the “Mesa” software from Roland for composition. This allowed me to render complex musical ideas, like the ⅞, 3 ½-4 rhythms/time signatures in “Seventh Hell.” So, over a period of about 16 months, I recorded three sets of these pieces. I certainly used quantization technology to correct rhythm tracks. But all solo/improvisational sections were played in real time. I did punch in and out of those improvisational sections, but I never slowed down the tempo of the basic tracks, nor did I use any corrective quantization on the solos. That would have made the music sound too artificial.

So here are one-minute clips of the thirteen pieces that will be offered on the CD --->


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One minute clips
from
Issa Music
(.wav files)
 

1. Mystic Jam
(full running time: 3:28)

2. River of Flow
(full running time: 4:27)

3. Summer Palace
(full running time: 5:58)

4. Skeptic
(full running time: 5:41)

5. Pace by Pace
(full running time: 7:32)

6. Temptation
(full running time: 6:12)

7. Darkness to Dawn
(full running time: 6:42)

8. Seventh Hell
(full running time: 4:56)

9. Prism of the Soul
(full running time: 6:03)

10, Eastern Boogie
(full running time: 4:55)

11. Voice in the Wilderness
(full running time: 6:56)

12. East Meets West
(full running time: 6:47)

13. West Meets East
(full running time: 6:07)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Songbook CDs
Mystic jazz productions of vintage rock using modern sounds and technologies ─ familiar songs offered in a fresh way; new songs offered in a familiar style.
The Swords of Faith Trilogy
Stories set in the past featuring dilemmas familiar to the present with consequences resonating into the future.
Issa Music
Mystic jazz celebrating the “Issa legend” – the idea that Jesus may have visited India and learned some of his history-altering spiritual insights there.