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Stars are a Harem

by Micah Gaugh

The Sky 03:36
the sky up above is filling me with Love and so are you the stars in the sea I will give to thee what will you give me the fire of life for you my wife do you accept I cried, I cried, you cried we will cry again
Remembering 03:27
It’s so easy to sleep as the flower falls from the tree you’re so lovely and the breeze from the sea as the lake flows by gently awe inspiring you told me that I would be your Prince that is left to happenstance the fire that burned could be seen from across the street we were camping slightly the moon in your eyes disappears with the rain I can’t complain in the tent we were ghost with a glow so absurd my word graceful songbird tried and true what were we supposed to do what could we do with our time
Take it back priestess take it back your voodoo queen of the day waiting in line stop signs warning signs sitting, leaning, walking through doors stop signs warning signs let’s just go out let’s just travel the world leave these bars behind through doors
To begin at the end of the line you’ll become as a skeleton holding your tongue you’re afraid to speak once you were strong, but now you’re weak today is a very fine day wonderland when the skies are gray and your eyes take me far away and the moon is turned to fog Oh my, oh my I can’t seem to find my way home I see sun beams I’m a star you’re a star we’ll move anything I feel so good inside when you hold me in the night I feel so good inside when you hold me it’s alright
Le Jeune 03:41
Missing you makes me so sad kissing you makes me glad the youngest in the world tortured girl skin electric your eyes everlasting feathered hair island rare I’d miss planes for you just to taste your pleasure dome I’d miss planes for you just to come into your home red with wisdom making love afloat your house a boat maneros we set sail
Go Cross 03:20
You must go cross whether its one or three the same there’s nothing left to lose all that’s left is what’s to gain how high the night seems it is still within your reach shadows are night time that the sun draws on the walls its fading quickly you must find more beauty it is all unseen
Penny 03:40
Find Pennies make a wish throw that penny to the wind I found one in a store but she would not stay awake save your sleep Penny for the movie always saved the day with a smile she pointed the way to the hotel Eve and Adam walls red and velvet halls claws around Penny please stay awake save sleep for after the movie
Mariposa 03:05
And you know sometimes I feel like I’ve lost what it is to be real and oh how funny it seems when I think I know what it means flowers bloom at your stare God has put them there marble are your eyes you're surrounded by butterflies there’s a place where we can go it doesn’t rain or snow I could take you if you wish just follow my kiss Oh how happy we could be won’t you wait and see we could fly above the stars chandeliers and Mars
Swans 03:47
Swans swim in the Lake Crystal clear water shall we make the sun light streams through windows you’ll stay here you are on your way (somewhere) look your brick on Heaven what’s in store St. Are are you with me St. And walk next to me St. Air help me breathe St. Ages when in need St. Are well why not St. Ore make me strong St. Aid if or but St. Rain like yesterday
I want to kidnap you and we will go to the zoo we’ll set all the animals free a bear for you and a tiger for me come let’s go run away we’ll follow the sun ’til the break of day happiness is not far if you come with me we’ll steal a car leaves fall to the ground drown me in the sound of your voice tears fall gently down my dear we’ll fill up the space between your soul your lips a field of cream come go with me leave that sadness behind
Izquierdo 01:37
we want to take off the mask immediately what we want in life is for me to be you reflecting me All she wanted was trust between us arguments led to connections no protection from the cold she laid her head inside my mind talk ’till the room disappeared what we want in life is Love
Crystal 03:48
Crystal drops from your eyes I cry to my lover undercover we will both sweat Heaven sent you still don’t know yet what I’d do it all fell through First I scream then I cry ’til I dream we cannot soar anymore my dear it’s done no coming home no going home you are so strong I am weak I ran to you I ran ’til you changed your disguise it’s too late
Lola 03:29
Lola goes from pole to pole at each stop a woeful pose from her head down to her toes she’s dancing there’s ballet in a lowly place a spicy clown with made up face did not make it off the boat before she landed here just something I had to see a wellspring that took money only spoke four words sweetest words I ever heard voices announce her invisible come won’t you come onto me these tales never depart


The 13-song suite, "Stars are a Harem" is a present-day response to Miles Davis' "Kind of Blue" - music steeped in the tradition of the avant-garde yet the harsh sounds associated with the avant-garde American Jazz music from the 1960's are softened, made round. With words inspired by the witty romance writing of Cole Porter, and songs that were popularized by Billie Holiday or Betty Carter.

Marion Brown had a record "Afternoon of a Georgia Faun" based on the Debussy "Prelude to the afternoon of a Faun", recording the lighter side of improvisational jazz... as a mentor to Micah Gaugh he explained that the subtleties of improvised music could make as strong an impact on the ear as the athletic/frenetic tones of the avant-garde. The vocal range is already a clue to that - acrobatics that are not in the usual vein of male singers in Jazz, but in the context of the record virtuoso techniques are accepted as a norm.

The songs were written as portraits about women - not necessarily completely romantic but the audio to a mind-painting that sums up an experience with the individual women in the songs. The songs were recorded in Harlem by tracking the piano first, then looping the piano and editing it into a song format, secondly the vocals were added to the piano and then the drums. When recording the drums language was used such as "play raindrops" or "alter the time of this song by speeding up the rhythm and slowing the rhythm". The bass was added last of all and Henry Schroy was able to react to the drums after they were placed over the piano and vocal tracks.

Not the standard recording process in Jazz, the record was made first as a solo piano record and then added on to, thus making the process very singular for each musician. This intimacy can be heard, as each of the players has a different and isolated relationship to the sounds and the experience of the compositions. It is almost more of an art project than a recording.


released May 12, 2017

Micah Gaugh - composer, piano, voice, sax

Kevin Shea - drums

Henry Schroy - bass, recording engineer (bass)

Hayato Nakao - recording engineer (drums)

Luqman Brown - recording engineer (voice, piano, sax)

Mixed by Henry Schroy and Chad Zuchegno at The Vibe Recording

Mastered by Emily Lazar at The Lodge assisted by Chris Allgood

Produced by Henry Schroy and Micah Gaugh

Cover photo by Matthew Heyner

Cover model - Leah Benjamin

Back cover photo by Byron Dean (in booklet)

(c) 2017 UT NOSTI


all rights reserved



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