Octave Records Re-Releases Say Somethin’ by Jazz Trumpeter Gabriel Mervine, Remixed and Remastered With Bonus Tracks

Octave Records Re-Releases <em>Say Somethin’</em> by Jazz Trumpeter Gabriel Mervine, Remixed and Remastered With Bonus Tracks

Written by Frank Doris

Since its initial release in 2021, Say Somethin’ by jazz trumpeter Gabriel Mervine has been one of Octave Records’ most popular releases. The original limited-edition SACD and vinyl have long been sold out – and now, listeners can enjoy Octave Records’ re-release of Gabriel’s album of jazz standards and originals, which has been remixed and remastered with improved sound quality, and features two bonus tracks.

Gabriel Mervine began his professional career at age 13. He’s a member of the Colorado Jazz Repertory Orchestra and has worked with Natalie Cole, Christian McBride, Terence Blanchard, the Temptations, the Who, Fred Wesley and many others. On Say Somethin’ he’s joined by Tom Amend (piano), Seth Lewis (upright bass) and Alejandro Castaño (drums) The music ranges from the upbeat grooves of the title track, “1964” and “Furor” to more contemplative songs like “Friends” and the quartet’s cover of “A Foggy Day.” The re-release includes two bonus tracks recorded at the original sessions: the standard, “Young at Heart,” and “Lawns,” a flowing, meditative Carla Bley composition.

Say Somethin’ was originally recorded live in DSD 64 with no overdubbing by Mervine and his quartet, to capture the spontaneity and interplay between the musicians with stunning sonic realism. The re-release has been remixed by PS Audio and Octave CEO Paul McGowan on the state-of-the-art Merging Technologies Pyramix system, for an even greater level of fidelity and musical impact.

Paul noted, “The newly mixed and mastered Say Somethin’ offers greater realism to the sound of Gabriel’s trumpet, more clarity in the drums and piano, better presence for the upright bass, and a higher level of transparency overall.” He added, “we usually release our SACDs and LPs as limited editions, but Say Somethin’ has been one of our most popular albums, as well as one of our earliest, and since we’ve upgraded our mixing and mastering facilities since its initial release, we decided to make it available on physical media once again.”

The reissued Say Somethin’ features Octave’s premium gold disc formulation, and the disc is playable on any SACD, CD, DVD, or Blu-ray player. It also has a high-resolution DSD layer that is accessible by using any SACD player or a PS Audio SACD transport. In addition, the master DSD and PCM files are available for purchase and download, including DSD 256, DSD 128, DSD 64, and DSDDirect Mastered 352.8 kHz/24-bit, 176.2 kHz/24-bit, 88.2 kHz/24-bit, and 44.1 kHz/24-bit PCM. (SRP: $19 – $39, depending on format.)

I spoke with Gabriel to get his thoughts about the re-release of Say Somethin’:

Gabriel Mervine: People have really dug that album and they've been selling out of it [the SACD and two vinyl editions]. And at Octave they [haven’t done] re-pressings. They generally say, this is what we've made, and once it's gone, it's gone.

I guess they had enough people reach out that they finally decided to do a re-release, and they've just kind of honed their mixing and mastering to a point where this new release is on a different level.

We recorded a lot of material in the Say Somethin’ sessions, just because we were having such a great time. I think we released about 50 percent of what we originally recorded. So, the re-release was a great opportunity to add a couple of tracks that we really liked.


Gabriel Mervine.


Frank Doris: Well, the tracks that you didn't use are just as good as the ones that you did use. And as far as the remixing and remastering, things just keep progressing, you know?

GM: The more time you put into something, the more you learn. And sometimes you can go back and rehash things and create something even better.

FD: I like to tell people the more you play the better you get.

GM: Yep.

FD: “Young at Heart” is a standard, but what's the story behind “Lawns?”

GM: Tom Amend, the pianist on this record, introduced me to that song and we started doing it occasionally. Sometimes certain melodies or certain chord changes just hit you a certain way, or maybe it's the vibe of that performance. I think the first time we played it live was when things were just starting to reopen [after the pandemic]. And it just felt good. It got a good audience response and the band felt good playing it. And so, it just made its way into my book.

FD: I guess you've been back to playing regularly.

GM: Oh yeah. The Denver scene is just really alive. There's lots of places to play and lots of different types of music happening, jazz, funk, dance music, all of it. I've been performing quite a bit every Tuesday at the Brown Palace Hotel, every Wednesday at the Appaloosa Grill and playing [elsewhere] as well.

FD: How has your playing or your music developed in the last few years? Because the world we now live in has deeply affected everybody.

GM: I still work on my craft almost every day. You know, trying to get better at composing and playing my instrument and improvisation and harmony. I really still love just studying music and studying the instrument. And I love playing music of all different types. Something I've been focusing on lately is Brazilian choro music. It’s kind of like classical jazz in a way. (Octave Records artist) Alicia Jo Straka and I are working on getting back in the studio and recording these tunes, with some special guests. After that, I'd like to do another quartet album [with] original compositions.

FD: I find it interesting that with a lot of musicians I've been interviewing lately, they keep saying the same thing, which is that they're getting into playing all different kinds of music.

GM: Mm-hmm.

FD: I wonder if that's become a more universal thing because now you have exposure to every kind of music. With some of Octave Records’ albums, they're jazz-influenced, but you can't really say, “this is jazz,” because the music has so many different elements.

GM: I think it's all of that; technology, and the world has gotten smaller. We can all communicate. Also, a lot of our favorite genres and our favorite musicians that we've been listening to have been incorporating different sounds [from all over the world], and then that will inspire us to want to create that as well. You listen to Herbie Hancock, he's got all these different influences. Roy Hargrove, all these people I grew up listening to, you know? And it's fun to be challenged. Not that playing the same genre isn't challenging, but I find I get really inspired by hearing something new.

FD: What inspired you to do the particular songs on Say Somethin’?

GM: The quote, “jazz standards” that we recorded are just favorite tunes of mine, favorite melodies, [and songs] that I perform. [if] the melody feels good, it's fun to improvise over.

We didn't get to rehearse or really play together prior to this recording, because of the state of the world [at the time during the pandemic]. So I was trying to toe the line as a composer, and write something that's interesting enough for the listener and interesting enough for the performer to have fun and to want to play it, but not so complex that we were gonna need rehearsal time, 'cause we didn't have any! (laughs)

Also, sometimes when you write a little bit of a simpler melody or simple harmonic progression, it allows more space for the performer to express their ideas, you know?

FD: Right. You’re not struggling and trying to play through the changes of something complicated like “Giant Steps” or “’Round Midnight.” I read an article that quoted Frank Zappa, who is such a fantastic guitar player, saying something to the effect that he can’t do that stuff, so he plays through these one or two-chord vamps where he can just fly. Then there’s the story of how Tommy Flanagan, the pianist on Coltrane’s “Giant Steps,” could hardly navigate the changes to the song when he did his solo.

GM: Well, the goal is to feel that free and expressive over the chord changes over those more complex harmonic structures, but it takes time. Hopefully you've had the time to work out those kinks. Writing something with a little bit of a simpler harmonic progression can allow more expressive moments, because you're not having to think so much about the harmony. And the Tommy Flanagan thing is a good example. Trane had been practicing those chord changes for a while, because he wrote them. And he probably had just showed them to Tommy, who had to read them right there at the session (laughs). Musicians of today have spent a lot of time learning that progression, 'cause it's so well known. But when we listen to those iconic records, [we need to realize] they were seeing that music for the first time.

FD: Anything else you want to add?

GM: We [still have] quite a bit [of unreleased music] sitting in the locker right now, and we'll keep making new music as well.

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