SCREAMING WHILE PLAYING, the bold debut album by vibrant Los Angeles saxophonist and composer, Andrew Conrad, is an immediately honest glimpse into the mind of an uncompromising artist who does not segregate art and life. Raw and visceral, this record presents a deeply intertwined musical dialogue rarely encountered in an age that favors technology and sheen over unfiltered expression.
A Conrad Trio was formed in 2014, although Conrad, bassist Emilio Terranova and drummer Michael Lockwood have been playing together in various configurations for close to a decade. Each has an extensive musical background and while the trio setting and veneer of Conrad’s compositions may recall certain Jazz idioms, the most striking aspect of Screaming While Playing (SWP) is its personalized, intimate and often gritty realization, eschewing tradition and reframing this iconic instrumentation.
“Often times we as listeners get the feeling that our musicians need to make the sound they are making. We are left with a sense that there might be some disastrous or at least unfortunate consequence if that release were not allowed to occur in that moment. Herein lies the power of organized sound. When this sense of urgency lands on you it’s difficult to ignore. Not only does it give you a window into the artist’s character and intentions, it shows you something about your own.” — Matt Mayhall, author of SWP liner notes
Concept often follows inception in the pecking order of composing. While Conrad acknowledges the personal events and people who inspired each of SWP’s nine originals, he also encourages listeners to adopt their own unique personal relationship to the music free of that influence:
“This recording was an exercise in composing, editing, and documenting music and improvisation in a way that I heard in my head. It is inspired by countless improvisers and musicians too many to name here. The goal I had was only to complete the project without judgment, for I believe this music is really about whatever you hear it to be about. That is the beauty of art, its meaning comes from the consumer; whether you are looking at it, listening to it, feeling it, eating it, or absorbing it in any other way, its meaning and its worth is ultimately up to you.” — Andrew Conrad
The music featured here is carefully considered sonically, though not especially concerned with common artificial constructs typically employed when making modern albums. SWP was recorded live in a Studio City bedroom. Trio performances are juxtaposed by three compelling solo improvisations, which provide the album with an intriguing, chaptered structure. But the true heart of this project is the documented relationship of three friends, colleagues, and compatriots making unadorned music that is both ephemeral and everlasting. The result is a rich, inclusive listening experience with layers of depth and significance revealed play after play. Orenda Records is proud to present A Conrad Trio’s Screaming While Playing, an album that represents the kind of adventurous spirit, thoughtful conception, and intimate humanity that lies at the foundation of everything we love about music.