The New York City-based “jazz rock hip-hop” trio known as New York Electric Piano has a new album coming in 2018. To be released on Fervor Records, the upcoming album will be called State of the Art and is set to drop on Jan. 12.
New York Electric Piano is the brainchild of songwriter and keyboards player Pat Daugherty, and while the band has seen various members over its 15-year history, the line-up is currently rounded out by drummer Aaron Comess, known for his work with the Spin Doctors, and bass man Richard Hammond from the band for the Broadway hit “Hamilton” and also its accompanying album.
Today, AXS is happy to premiere New York Electric Piano’s “Mama Bear Love Army,” the first single from State of the Art. Below, Daugherty explains what inspired the song and also tells us a little bit about the recording of the cut.
AXS: "Mama Bear Love Army" is the only cut on State of the Art that features vocals. What was your inspiration?
Pat Daugherty: I was first inspired by a speech by Van Jones at the Womenʼs March in Washington. I recorded his voice and laid it into the first breakdown section: “Real love is the strongest stuff in the universe. The love army in this movement is built on that mama bear love. That mama bear loves those cubs and that mama bear is not going to let you mess with those cubs. When it gets harder to love, lets love harder.”
I tried for two months to reach Jones via his website and social media to get his permission to use his voice and words. I even went to his Love Army event in New York City and gave a copy of the tune to someone who knew him. I never received any response. I finally decided one day to have my two sons record the Migos-style “mama bear love army” chant into the first breakdown instead. I was already feeling their influence on the album.
AXS: Can you tell us about your rarely-seen style of keyboards playing on "Mama Bear Love Army?"
PD: The tune alternates between tightly composed sections and a “free section” where the band had no idea what was coming but just made it up on the spot. In both of these sections I used a method where I had one hand on a keyboard, piano or organ, and another hand on another keyboard, a Rhodes and a Wurlitzer electric piano. I soloed at the same time on both keys.
I think this is a unique approach; I’ve been trying to find another keyboard player that does this. I was inspired by a video of Miles Davis where Keith Jarrett does this occasionally on two keyboards, and I decided to just try it for the whole solo. In the first section, I first laid down a piano/electric piano rhythm track and then overdubbed an organ/electric piano track. The second section has just an organ and electric piano playing simultaneously.
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