"Tales Told And Journeys Imagined" was conceived, recorded, mixed and produced at my home studio, the Defiant Amoeba, which I built for the express purpose of attempting this project. As a lifetime jazz musician and somebody deeply committed to acoustic music, this project represents a rather radical departure from who and what I've been. I made a conscious decision to embrace electronica, ambient music, some fusion concepts (anything, quite frankly, that appealed to me), free myself of any self-imposed restrictions and avail myself to every advantage the studio can offer. I've thought of this experiment as a chance to be some sort of cultural double agent and strike a blow for the cats. The result lurches stylistically, but I think remains connected enough to be an interesting listen. When I'm asked to give a quick elevator pitch on what the music is like I tell people that a conspiratorial meeting was held aboard my time machine/spacecraft, the Defiant Amoeba, between Miles Davis, Brian Eno and Daft Punk while I furiously took notes and tried to piece together a crude version of what their combined sensibilities described.
One overriding idea that kept occuring to me as I worked on this project was that I wanted the music to express an escape from our world to a futuristic and utopian one, even if that "world" was purely halucinatory, but that my instruments (trumpet and flugelhorn) are, at best, an anachronism in such a setting. In time I came to see this as an advantage. The trumpet and its cultural connotations are very old and represents (to me, at least) a noble and heroic sound that was once a near perfect representation of our society's highest aspirations. But not anymore. The world in its current state is far too cynical to believe in, or listen to, anything terribly noble or pure, but perhaps that’s a reason to need it all the more. I came to feel, that rather than being irrelevant, the trumpet and its deeply romantic essence might be exactly what we need more of these days. So the idea of a trumpet connected to an electronic sound had an appeal to me. It reminded me of the works of the great science fiction illustrators of the late 1970’s and early 1980’s. If you view the paintings of Chris Foss, Angus McKie, Jim Burns or Peter Elson today you see an image created thirty years ago or more, so in a sense they’re a tad old and dated, yet they have lost none of their ability to awe you with their visions of spectacular future technologies in places so incredibly alien as to stretch credulity. They still transport you and distract you - what all good art ideally should do. The result is that the work is slightly antiquated and still strikingly vital all at the same time – seemingly paradoxical, yet clearly true and real.
I liked this notion so much that it became the central idea around which the entire project orbited. I’m thrilled to have obtained the rights to an Elson for the cover art and another for an interior image. I hope it will help people understand the overall tone of the recording – a future-past projection.