It was a very ambitious trip. I have to say, to my surprise, all of our ambitions were fulfilled. All of the musicians we were going down there to record with, we recorded with?I've edited about nine or 10 songs down from the trip, and the stuff is really, really unusual and special. It far exceeds what I hoped for in sort of the refined qualities of it. I thought it might just sort of be rough stuff out in the woods. But ? some of this stuff is just amazingly fine, fine stuff.
We never really had collaborated [with outside musicians] before Howard left. It's been great, ever since Jeff joined. But I think there was a slight sense if we record as just the four of us, will it be as strong as it was when it was a quartet with Howard, with a guy who played five or six instruments constantly? I think as we played with the role of the saxophone and all of the different instruments that Jeff plays in the band, and all the band has learned to expand into the holes, we know how to play as a quartet now in a way that I think is as powerful as it was originally, and maybe more so in some cases.