1. The Modern Things (Björk)
  2. What Survives
  3. Du Pre (Schumann arr. Hays)
  4. Tap
  5. Black Elk
  6. Fear of Roaming (Blake)
  7. Stellar
  8. The Grind


For me, this is a staggering live performance in the studio. Kevin, Seamus, Larry, and Bill utilize their skills to provide us with sheer beauty after returning for a European tour. The eight selections were played straight down in one very productive afternoon without the aid of fixes or overdubs.

The musical manipulation of electronics with traditional acoustic values advances a language that had its roots in the late sixties and long before, to bring us into the twenty-first century. While current technology allows performers to create a multitude of textures and sonic effects, few can actually make an emotional statement that bears repeated listening. Both the quality of the compositions and the choices made in the moment show up a level of maturity from this ‘Stellar’ quartet that honors the listener.

A balance of groove, melody and harmony is achieved with none of the dumbing down monotony often heard these days. The result of this unique camaraderie is an open path of extremely durable music.

As a Fresh Sounds listener you don’t need a history of the various influences of these players. What’s really important is that they do not trample on the past, present, or the future. This group achieves grace in the midst of extreme chance taking.

—David Baker, February 2004


Seamus Blake (ts), Kevin Hays (p, Fender Rhodes, fl, vcl), Larry Grenadier (b), Bill Stewart (d).

All compositions by Kevin Hays/Nivyek Yash Music/BMI except where indicated.

Recorded February 16, 2003 at Right Track Studios, NYC.

Recording engineer: David Baker.

Mastering: Katsuhiko Naito

Produced by Kevin Hays & Seamus Blake

Executive Producer: Jordi Pujol

Cover photo by Ben Law-Viljoen

Released on Fresh Sound New Talent FSNT 189