The tune that became “Serengeti” first came to me as a sort of wistful celtic melody in 6/8. It was hard for me to play it though. Serengeti soon became my obsession and most challenging tune, the problem child of the whole batch! It took long hours and days for me to be satisfied with my initial H2 recording. When my collaborator and arranger Bill Runge first heard it, he was excited about the time signature because I had nothing in that feel yet.
In all, we had ten versions of Serengeti in development over many weeks before the chart was completed. Bill had the vision of transforming it into an African adventure…complete with a small plane flying in over the Serengeti above herds of wild zebra and wildebeest. I had some grooves to add and an intro. Bill sprinkled his stardust over the whole thing, named it, and added the awesome solo section changes.
The band was sounding and feeling so amazing that day, I just let it loose and played for my life!Almost everything you hear on this track is from the original recording day at Bluewave Studios in Vancouver. Randall Stoll came in and added layers of percussion over his epic his drum tracks. I had a lot of fun adding sound effects afterwards, like the animal hooves, crickets and the Morrocan woman’s “ululation”.
Finally I asked John Korsrud if he could come in and lay down some trumpet because I thought that would be “elephant-like” and just take the track over the top. John also suggested fluegelhorn for the melody parts, rather than trumpet because it was a better blend with the other horns. Good call.Our engineer Ken Burke was fooling around with his new camera on a recent float plane trip he took. He decided to put “Serengeti” under it and post it on You Tube, just for fun. It went viral and had over 6000 hits within a month…
I guess our problem child is showing promise…Cheers – and I hope you enjoy”Serengeti” as much as we enjoyed creating it.
Players: Chris Gestrin – Fazioli piano
Doug Stephenson – electric bass
Randall Stoll – drums/percussion
Bill Runge – soprano sax/synth pad/arrangement
John Korsrud – trumper/fluegelhorn
Holly Burke – flute/vocalese
Engineer – Ken Burke @ Bluewave Studios