Offering some beautifully melodic and playfully grooving musical silver linings in a tumultuous year, Philippe Saisse lent his compositional and production magic to three #1 radio singles in 2020 – Rick Braun’s “Crossroads,” Dave Koz’s “Side By Side” and his own solo smash “Eva Kant Dance,” which hit #2 on Billboard and was the top song on the Mediabase chart for five weeks. These successes followed the Grammy nominated keyboardist’s incredible several-year run of hits from The Philippe Saisse Trio’s 2017 set On the Level!
Continuing to build on that momentum, Saisse’s latest single, the infectious, deep bass and piano driven mid-tempo funk jam “The City Never Sleeps,” is an homage to the 30-plus years he lived and made music in New York City. Harkening back to his recent decades of popular trio recordings and performances, the richly improvisational self-produced track - which features Saisse on Steinway acoustic piano, vibraphone and keys - is a spirited reunion (created via file transfer) with bass legend Marcus Miller and drummer Poogie Bell, who played together in Miller’s NYC based band in the early 90’s. In the late 80’s, Saisse had also been part of the band on the classic David Sanborn TV show “Sunday Night/Night Music”, for which Miller served as Music Director.
Like many of the keyboardist’s tracks, “The City Never Sleeps” is mixed by the legendary Goh Hotoda, who worked with Miller years ago and has brought his Midas touch to classic recordings by Chaka Khan, Duran Duran, Janet Jackson, Madonna and Prince, among others. The track is bookended by real life traffic sounds that capture the vibe and energy of the city.
Compositionally, the song has its roots in a demo that Saisse wrote over 10 years earlier for Trilogy, a popular synth plug-in created by Eric Persing of Spectrasonics and featuring Miller’s trademark bass sound. During quarantine, while looking for inspiration for his next solo album, the keyboardist rediscovered the demo and developed it into a fully produced track. Miller may not have been aware of that original demo, but quickly came on board for the new production - and suggested Bell as the drummer. Embodying all the grit and spark of NYC classic jazz/funk and featuring a stellar performance by this all-star trio, “The City That Never Sleeps” is a classic example of looking back and blazing forward at the same time.