See Steve's Hand-Written Lead Sheet
Steve Khan's "An Eye Over Autumn"
still not sure just why, "An Eye Over Autumn"
remains as one of the few pieces from the Columbia years,
the late '70s, which I can listen to and enjoy.
I suppose the entire recording of "THE BLUE
MAN" LP was memorable for me because it was
the first chance I was given to 'produce'
myself. Bob James had moved on to form Tappan
Zee Records, and I had his support, along with the good
words of Tom Scott and Ralph MacDonald.
I was anxious to do a recording filled with only my
own compositions, or those I had chosen; and this LP
was to contain five tunes of mine, and one of Randy
Brecker's. In those years, I enjoyed 'picking-up
the scraps' from Randy; tunes of his which, for
one reason or another, never made it onto Brecker Bros.
albums. Again, I was lucky enough to have been able
to record in Studio 'A' at Mediasound, with
Doug Epstein as my engineer. Doug had assisted
on "TIGHTROPE" and was very familiar
with my style and approach to recording. So during May
of '78 when we walked in to do this recording,
I wanted to make certain that all the solos were played
live if possible, so it required a great deal of planning.
When this track was recorded, everything was done live
except for the horn section parts. Michael Brecker
was there with us, as was Rick Marotta, of all
people, to add the 'sabor' of the timbales.
As these things go, it was a great experience for me
and filled with many memories.
Addendum: Recently I received an e-mail from the Netherlands asking why I didn't record more things like Side 2 of the LP copy he had of "THE BLUE MAN." He went on to write that he really enjoyed the 'flute' playing on that portion of the LP. He then went on to say that he also had a European pressing of "THE BLUE MAN," but Side 2 was completely different, more consistent with Side 1. Well, as I was reading this, I thought that I might surely be losing my mind, but suddenly, I remembered a most incredible story, and I am now compelled to share it with all of you, just how this came to be. The story illustrates just how easily things can go so very wrong in the music business!
When "THE BLUE MAN" was released in 1978, I had only the greatest hopes for this recording because, at that time, it represented 100% of the music I chose to play, and not what an A&R executive or another producer thought I should be playing so as to appeal to the maximum number of people; in other words, to be "more commercial." It was also my great hope that this recording would enable me to finally begin to tour as a leader. But, as I knew this was not going to happen right away, I continued to work daily doing recordings for other artists, in all genres, as well as films and commercials(jingles).
Anyway, one afternoon, shortly after the release of the LP, I walked into the famous A&R Studios 2(on W. 48th St.) and, recording engineer, Ed Rak greeted me by saying something like this: "Hey Steve, wow man, GREAT album......and, those tunes on Side B/2, the ones with the flute are an incredible contrast to the electric stuff." Well, I had NO idea what he could have been talking about, and so I said...."Geez, thanks Eddie, but there is NO flute anywhere on my record!!!" Later, I would ask him, "WHERE did you buy that LP?" He told me that he bought it at Colony Music store in the midtown area of Manhattan(New York City) @ 49th St. & Broadway, and so I went there immediately after the session, and I bought one too.
When I returned to my apartment shortly afterwards, but before I went to actually play my album, I knew that one thing was a certainty, "THE BLUE MAN" contained 6 songs: 3 on Side A, and 3 on Side B. I looked at Side A, and everything appeared to be fine, there were two spirals between the tracks. But, when I looked at Side B, there were 4 spirals, which meant that there were 5 songs! In other words, Side B was NOT "THE BLUE MAN." Then, I immediately went to my turntable and put it on. Side A/1 was "THE BLUE MAN" just as I knew it to be; but somehow, Side B/2 was NOT my record.......it really was somebody else's record! It was actually Side B/2 of somebody else's record. How could that be?!?!?!?! Well, though I didn't know it at that moment, some IDIOT(a technician) at one of Columbia Records' pressing plants had made a mistake, a BIG mistake!!! I called Columbia, and spoke with my "product manager"(Peter Wertimer) and told him this story. Needless to say, he couldn't believe it either!
So, let's try to solve this mystery, how could such a thing have happened? And, more than this, whose LP was on Side B/2 of mine?
Well, if you look at any LP carefully, on the blank black space near the actual circular label, you will see some engraved numbers. Those numbers are called the matrix numbers, and those numbers should ALWAYS match the catalog numbers of the recording. So, for Side 1 of "THE BLUE MAN" you would see: AL-35539 which is correct. But, on this particular Side 2, you would unfortunately have seen a different number. On this Side 2, you would have seen this number: BL-35339. If you look quickly, you might not even notice that there's a critical difference. Can you see it now? BL-35339. You see, believe it or not, the two "sides" of any LP are stored, filed away, separately. So, obviously a technician reached into the WRONG file/bin/slot; or an incorrect Side B/2 had been placed in my bin in error. It then makes sense that someone took out the wrong Side 2 for my LP just prior to pressing them. And so, many copies were pressed incorrectly this way!!
After my phone call to the product manager, all those copies had to be removed from the stores to which they had been sent. At that time, Columbia Records had 3 pressing plants(Pitman, New Jersey; Terre Haute, Indiana; and Santa Maria, California) and this error, fortunately, was only made in one of them. But, obviously those LPs ended-up smack-dab in New York City, my home town!!! Amazing, right? What luck! What rotten luck!!
However, this does not yet answer the burning question, which is, "What do I have on Side B/2 of my "BLUE MAN" LP? Well, the answer is, you have a recording which was actually done for Epic Records(a 'sister' label of Columbia, but they are really all part of the same family of labels), and it was:
"TWIN SONS OF DIFFERENT MOTHERS"
Tim Weisberg plays the flute you hear!!! On any recording, under my own name, I have NEVER had an appearance by a flute!!! So, how is that for a remarkable story?
Needless to say, for me, it was VERY upsetting, and, I have learned that when 'accidents' of fate like this happen, it's always a very bad sign. And, in truth, my record never really recovered enough to get its full momentum going. When a recording is released all the wheels must be in synch and in motion, with everyone pulling in the same direction. If anything happens to derail this motion, in a sense, everything can be lost. So, there was the very complex answer to a simple question posed by a guy from the Netherlands!!! To me, it remains remarkable that one of these strange LP copies ended-up getting to Europe. Who knows, in truth, how many others were floating around and confusing people? And that is the true story!!!