Jeremy Cunningham / Dustin Laurenzi / Paul Bryan
Drummer Jeremy Cunningham and saxophonist Dustin Laurenzi have been nearly inseparable collaborators for years, working together in countless bands across Chicago’s vibrant jazz community. Their new album A better ghost finds them in collaboration with Los Angeles-based bassist/producer Paul Bryan, and is the product of improvisations and phone-recorded experiments dating back to 2017. With Laurenzi creating sequences and samples on the OP-1 synthesizer as While he was on the road with Bon Iver, and Cunningham developing drum parts and melodic fragments, the two began to find a separate direction to take the work, refining and editing these outtakes into cohesive compositions.
While Cunningham and Laurenzi have collaborated this way for years, they decided to add Los Angeles-based musician Paul Bryan, the Grammy-winning producer, engineer and bassist (Jeff Parker, Aimee Mann, Lucinda Williams) who co-produced Cunningham’s Northern Spy debut. LP 2019 The weather up there to complete these parts. By adding bass parts and a producer’s ear to these songs, Bryan’s vital contributions were the missing link. “Paul really understood the vision for our music and added so much to what we had already recorded. At a certain point, it was obvious to expand the duo to a trio”, explains Laurenzi. On A better ghost, there’s a euphoric blend of the jazz worlds of Chicago and Los Angeles with features from prolific saxophonist Josh Johnson, legendary drummer Jay Bellerose and Cunningham’s Resavoir bandmate and frontman, trumpeter Will Miller. The resulting tracks are the product of longtime collaborators expanding their deep chemistry.
A better ghost is a reflection of how Cunningham, Laurenzi and Bryan found a natural musical connection that is gender-neutral and deeply personal. “Playing with Dustin and Paul has strengthened my musical instincts and allowed me to become more patient in developing a sound and playing a song. Sometimes you just have to let it go. Try not to get in the way too much and let the music breathe -Jeremy Cunningham