Wishing Flower

SSC1712 2023-10-27

Track List

Wishing Flower - 4:16
1971 - 5:31
Lullaby - 6:04
Car Radio - 4:54
Pendulum - 7:30
Snowflake Paradox - 4:36
Prospective Retreat - 6:28
Fade Into You - 6:52


Jeremy Udden - alto saxophone, Lyricon wind synthesizer
Ben Monder - electric guitar
Jorge Roeder - acoustic bass
Ziv Ravitz - drums

Growing up in an urban environment could lead to obliviousness to the natural world. Having grown up in a rural environment, saxophonist/composer Jeremy Udden was very aware of nature but living in metropolises made him seek nature’s touch in the city’s midst. Udden’s children have grown up in Brooklyn and he is frequently amazed at how attuned to nature his city kids are, just one of the intriguing juxtapositions he reflects in his new recording, Wishing Flower.

The music that Udden writes is generally autobiographical and focuses on the influences of his rural Massachusetts upbringing and maturation in the urban environments of Boston and New York City. Udden’s life has changed a lot since his debut recording, Torchsongs, nearly twenty years ago. Among these changes were the births of his two daughters, whose experiences as urban children has affected Udden’s perceptions of the world around him.

For his new recording, Udden used the inspiration of his children and their daily walks from school to write new compositions that reflect the sounds of the city through Udden’s singular musical lens, which blends the pastoral sounds of folk and country with contemporary jazz. Coming full circle, Udden recruited guitarist Ben Monder and drummer Ziv Ravitz to revisit their ensemble roles from Torchsongs, along with longtime collaborator, bassist Jorge Roeder.

Another change is the addition of the Lyricon to Udden’s musical voice. The Lyricon is an early 1970s electronic wind instrument built by Massachusetts inventor and synthesist Bill Bernardi. The analog instrument was the first wind synthesizer played like a saxophone and predated the EWI by years. Its sound was easily recognizable on the recordings of Steely Dan, Michael Jackson, Tom Scott, and Weather Report.

The past decade has seen Udden refine his technique on the Lyricon, adding pedals, looping devices, and triggering other synths to make soundscapes with keyboardist Pete Rende or guitarist Mike Baggetta. Though the alto saxophone remains the center of Udden’s sound, the Lyricon has become a welcome and far-reaching tool in his sonic palette, one that allows him to unify his rootsy acoustic identity with a contemporary, though analog, blue collar-electronic one.

The pieces that Udden wrote for Wishing Flower developed naturally and eventually were shaped programmatically to illustrate a walk through Brooklyn, picking up on sights and sounds, especially those beautiful but overlooked natural phenomena, like his daughters picking dandelions, or, as sher calls them: “wishing flowers.”

The quartet convened at Big Orange Sheep recording studio in Brooklyn after a day of rehearsal. Udden’s trust in the musicians and their abilities was rewarded, as they immediately understood the music and the project, easily finding the arch and the vibes of the songs, allowing them to finish the recording in only a single day of recording.