Boston-based Chris Brokaw has made an indelible mark on rock music both on his own as well as with his iconic bands Codeine and Come, and as a collaborator with Thurston Moore, Evan Dando, Stephen O’Malley and many others. On End of the Night, he leads a group of renowned players to create an album of entrancing instrumentals. Featuring lush, indigo-tinged arrangements of horns and strings, the album expands on VDSQ’s solo acoustic spirit, evoking a sublime jazz mood appearing as night passes into the early morning hours…
The End of the Night was conceived based around a simple concept. Late one evening the musician and myself were listening to records at home. After many hours it got to the point where everything became completely still, the silence permeating the walls, reverberating. We agreed to listen to one more record, but what would it be? What music could answer that existential quandary of the perfect last record of the night at home? I instantly asked him to make me the very record we needed to hear at the moment, a record for the end of the night.
Several years passed before the execution of the concept could take place but Brokaw was collecting notes in the back of his mind the entire time. I suggested collaborators like Greg Kelley (on Chet Baker style trumpet, knowing Brokaw’s strong affinity for that player) and Samara Lubelski (whom he played with briefly in Thurston Moore and the New Wave Bandits). Bringing in guests such as Lori Goldston, David Michael Curry, Luther Gray, Jonah Sacks and Timo Shanko, each track has its own unique combination of small group formations (duos, trios, quartets) very much like jazz, both in instrumentation and mood, if not style or standards.
While Brokaw himself is a brilliantly narrative guitarist, known for taking collaborative projects he’s involved with to new heights, rarely has he opened his solo work to the same collaborative spaces as with his group projects. The result is a multi-hued, jazz-tinged instrumental record with a melancholy resolve and a deep blue/purple filter. Very much a product of his song writing and playing, The End of the Night’s guests allow the guitarist to show his interplay and prowess in a variety of settings rooted around a common theme. The album art was done by Hollywood legend Sandy Dvore (Buffalo Springfield, The Cake, Partrdge Family), who composed the drawing after hearing the album in full, directly inspired by the music, adding a visual element similar to the stylistic innovations of David Stone Martin. — Steve Lowenthal