In the summer of 2017 frequent Jesse Harris collaborators Will Graefe (guitar) and Jeremy Gustin (drums) - both have appeared on his last two albums, "No Wrong No Right" and "Music For Chameleons" - were playing a festival in Vilnius, Lithuania and thought it would be fun to record an album with Jesse in Lisbon, where they had previously made one with mutual friend Ricardo Dias Gomes (bassist and keyboardist, recent ex-pat from Rio, and longtime participant of Caetano Veloso's Çe band) at the studio of Marcelo Camelo (another Rio ex-pat and member of Los Hermanos). Jesse had never been to Lisbon and liked the idea but didn't have quite enough songs for a new album. This would be his 15th as a solo artist.
So in the weeks leading up to the recording, he wrote some new material, such as "Out of Time," a sort of fusion between an ESG-type beat and Tropicalia, which not only he finished two days before the session but was the first song recorded at the studio (the band had never even heard it); "Rolling By," a lyric of hope and warning over music of Bossa-meets-60s-English-Rock; and "Carousel," a moody instrumental named for the traditional Portuguese restaurant where the band and recording engineer would eat lunch every day.
14 songs were recorded in 4 days, after which Jesse, Will and Jeremy remained in Lisbon to play a show with Ricardo and explore the town and beaches. Back in New York and LA, Jesse invited friends to add overdubs of keyboards, vocals, strings, and horns. Valerie June makes a special guest appearance to duet on "Listen To The Wind." Petra Haden, with whom Jesse has two projects, including the most recent Songs For Petra, which features the music of John Zorn and Jesse's lyrics, with the Julian Lage Trio (Harris has produced both of his trio albums), sings harmonies on "Grapes Grow Sweeter In The Sun" and “Eyes Of Fire.” And Sophia Brous (Exo-Tec, Dream Machine) duets on the Exotica-inspired "Never Say Goodbye" and layers a rich vocal arrangement on the jouncy "Sometimes You Have To Choose Sides." Other guests include Rob Moose (strings) and CJ Camerieri (horns), both of whom play in the group yMusic, and keyboardists Jason Lader, Jesse Carmichael and Thomas Bartlett (aka Doveman).
Why the title Aquarelle? An aquarelle is a watercolor, but it also suggests lightness, color, liquid. The lyrics of the songs have a sunniness minus the glibness, the overall effect of which is what one might call a "feel good record." Even its moments of darkness, such as the gloomy "Sunday" ("You shouldn't have left on a Sunday, cause Sunday is the loneliest day of all") are suffused with a kind of a underlying hope - in this case the tacit suggestion that tomorrow is Monday and something new may come along.
Frank LoCrasto is a Texas born, Brooklyn-based musician, specializing in piano and synthesizers. He studied music at The New School and has toured and recorded extensively as a sideman and leader since arriving in New York City in 2001. He has also composed and recorded original scores for independent films.
He has released 3 solo albums, “When You’re There” (MaxJazz 2006), “El Dorado” (Hundred Pockets 2011), and “LoCrasto” (Storytime 2015). “When You’re There” is a mostly acoustic jazz recording featuring a small chamber orchestra on 4 of the 9 tracks. “El Dorado” was recorded in his basement apartment in Brooklyn and utilizes tube amps, drum machines, pianos, organs, vintage synths and guitar pedals to create an alchemy of psychedelic and ambient music. “LoCrasto” was recorded with a similar approach but with a live band in a recording studio. A fourth album is currently in the works for a fall release.
In addition to solo projects, LoCrasto has recorded and toured internationally with several established artists including Pat Martino, Jeremy Pelt, Nicholas Payton, Greg Osby, Wallace Rooney, and James Iha. Other collaborations include: Lapland, Breastfist, Cass McCombs, Nightlands, and Julian Velard. He has appeared on over 30 records.
Hi my name is Joanna Sternberg. I am a singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist/visual artist living in New York City. I try to write songs that help people feel less alone. I play the piano, guitar, double bass, electric bass, violin, banjo, harmonica, and human voice. I also love to draw cartoons, illustrations, portraits, comics and designs on clothing.