Sharel Cassity, alto saxophone
Mitch Shiner, vibraphone
Johannes Wallmann, piano / composer
John Christensen, bass
Devin Drobka, drums
Wallmann and co. first premiered the new group in October 2020 on a live-streamed concert from Madison’s Union Theater. “It could have been a weird experience to play a concert for eleven hundred empty seats and just a couple of cameras,” Wallmann explains, “but the moment we started playing the first tune, it was so much fun! We all had a huge pent-up need to be creative with other musicians, but it was also instantly clear that this band had great chemistry. We had close to a thousand folks watching the live stream, and they were feeling it, and we were, too! So we just wanted to keep playing.”
Inspired by their inaugural performance, Wallmann booked the group into a recording studio in February 2021. The album’s pieces cover a wide range of moods, but most were written in the summer of 2020, with inspiration for the session based around the various challenges everyone faced during the pandemic, ranging from increased family playtime while schools were closed, to coping with the existential dread and social isolation of the pandemic.