June 16, 2018
B.B. King
October 10, 2018

This is a shot from a photo session I did with Mikel Healey for my new album, Flirting with Disaster. Michael Ticcino, the artist who created the cover and booklets for my last two releases, is working with me on this one too. Michael specializes in photo-surreal composites, which means that Mikel shoots me in front of white paper and then Michael can place me in the woods, the desert, space, or wherever he likes.

We rented a wind machine for this shoot. The plan was to put me in some kind of wild outdoor setting. We wound up not using any of the wind shots, though. We call this the “stereopticon phenomenon,” something you go to a little trouble/expense to incorporate and then it doesn’t work out. For Tales of the Unusual, Michael and I thought it would be sort of cool and non sequitur for me to be holding a stereopticon (I love them, as mentioned in my Misplacement post), but wound up not using any of those shots. The device, which I bought on eBay, is now in my garage. Unfortunately, it was warped and the double-photo cards that came with it never leapt into 3-D as they’re supposed to. The other idea was to have an animal in the shot, and that did pan out, but it was Sterling and he worked for biscuits.

The most important thing about any album, obviously, is the music. For the last three, I’ve created a document in Google Drive with my plan for the project, then I keep updating it and changing it. I knew that I wanted to keep working with my collaborators, of course: Eddie Arkin, Russell Ferrante, Shelly Berg, and the wonderful addition of Dave Grusin, who came into our musical world for Attachments, to the delight of all. I think about subjects for the theme, which in this case is more purely romantic than any of my other projects; grooves I like; a time frame. Because the last release day for albums one wants to submit for Grammy consideration is September 30th, and submissions are in August, that’s the period many artists think of as the release year. My albums all consist of original material and there was no way I could whip one together in time for a 2014 “street date,” so it will be, God willing, the first half of next year.

I have four songs recorded so far, entitled “Flirting with Disaster,” “Disastrous Consequences,” “It Feels Like Snow” and “Off-Center.” These, and the two I’m recording in June, were written with Russell and with Eddie. It feels like a natural progression from what we’ve all being co-creating these last few years, and I hope you’ll like it!