Quinn Sternberg

Bassist Quinn Sternberg Examines the Psyche of Modern Life on New Album Walking on Eggshells

It seems like we’re all walking on eggshells these days. There’s a lot of uncertainty in the world- you can pick practically any topic, and you’ll find some anxiety related to it- but there’s also a lot of optimism. Maybe you don’t always hear about it until you’re with other people, and realize the world ain’t that bad.

On the heels of his successful 2022 release Cicada Songs, bassist/composer Quinn Sternberg presents another set of meticulously composed and performed songs, exploring the psyche behind modern life through the phenomenon of the group interplay that results from collectively creating, on Walking on Eggshells (August 4, 2023, Mind Beach Records, CD and digital).

Sternberg’s compositional evolution is evident on the title track and first single, Walking On Eggshells, (July 7). Showing a strong Radiohead influence, the song takes on a form not unlike a modern rock tune, with a driving beat laid down by longtime Sternberg drummer Peter Varnado. Sam Taylor’s sax enters with a lilting verse melody that leads to what could be thought of as a chorus section in a rock song. The chorus itself teeters back and forth between two notes over swiftly descending chords, symbolizing indecision and unease, may it be social or otherwise. The section reaches its conclusion with a series of tenuously placed 7/8 measures as the eggshells crack, or the subject finally speaks their mind, leading into Nahum Zdybel’s guitar solo. The bridge surprises with a subtle harmonic shift that brings in new colors, a changing palette that keeps the egg-walkers on their toes. 

You’d be hard pressed to think of a more uncertain and simultaneously exciting situation than being the first person to ride a rocket into space. Just imagine what was going through Yuri Gagarin’s mind! Quinn does on the single Yuri Gagarin (July 21). “The verse melody has this rhythm that’s never really grounded in downbeats, it’s a cycle that makes me imagine what being in zero gravity might be like. So I started thinking about space travel,” explains Sternberg. “The B section has this lift like a rocket taking off, and I thought about the psychology of someone who’s going into space, let’s say the first guy ever. So I read up a little on Yuri Gagarin, and about how his orbit of Earth was a turbulent flight, not completely smooth, but it largely went fine. The drum solo references that turbulence- you’re going up, out of gravity, and it’s kind of shaky and terrifying. The solo trading has us soaring through space. And then it all finally ends on us just spiraling in free time over something resembling a major chord, and drifting off into space….”

An early ‘teaser’ track from Walking on Eggshells, Meadow’s Murmur is about cautious optimism.  Written around the same time as the music on Cicada Songs, Meadow’s Murmur shares common musical motifs with his prior compositions “Greener Pastures” and “Cicada Song.”  What you’re looking at may indeed be a greener pasture, but there might just be a bunch of insects there. You won’t know till you get there. 

Opening with an elegantly stated bass intro, Meadow’s Murmur also accomplishes the type of group interplay that Sternberg strives for, as Quinn’s bass solo morphs into Zdybel’s guitar solo so seamlessly that it’s hard to tell where one stops and the other begins. Saxophonist Taylor rides out another short group improv as the song closes. With the exception of Zdybel, Quinn’s personnel has remained consistent for several years and it’s apparent that this is a band that’s been gelling quite well, with choice gigs at venues like Chorum Hall in Baton Rouge and New Orleans’s Marigny Opera House fueling the improvisational fire.

Life isn’t all doom and gloom- if it were we wouldn’t have love songs. Green Eyed Baby is written for Quinn’s significant other and is a great reminder to look up from the little details that muddle us down and make us uncertain. Celebrate love, modern jazz style!

Check out what these fine outlets have to say about Walking on Eggshells

Album: Walking On Eggshells
Artist: Quinn Sternberg
Label: Mind Beach Records

  1. Walking On Eggshells 4:28
  2. Inferiority Complex 4:43
  3. Green Eyed Baby 3:28
  4. Ripple 3:19
  5. Yuri Gagarin 5:25
  6. Meadow’s Murmur 5:01
  7. Melting Clock 4:36
  8. Landline 4:07

All compositions by Quinn Sternberg

Quinn Sternberg: Electric and Acoustic Bass
Sam Taylor: Tenor Sax
Nahum Zdybel: Guitar
Oscar Rossignoli: Piano and Rhodes
Peter Varnado: Drums

Recorded by Rick Nelson at Marigny Studios
Mixed by Nathan Feler
Mastered by Nate Wood at Kerseboom Mastering

Album art by TYPFY Art
Photography by Katie Sikora

For Press inquiries contact Ron Kadish, ron@dogranchmusicpr.com

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