Counting down to FRATRES: The Yeo/Pagano Project

Counting down to FRATRES: The Yeo/Pagano Project

As I mentioned in a previous post on The Last Trombone, my friend, Gerry Pagano (Bass Trombonist of the St. Louis Symphony), and I have recently recorded a compact disc of music for two bass trombones. In this we were assisted by Michael Lake, who not only was the recording engineer for the project, but also contributed superb accompaniments and enhancements to many of the tracks. And he also wrote a piece for the album. And he played alto trombone along with us on three tracks. And a partridge in a pear tree. You get the idea. This new album is a true collaboration between Gerry, Mike, and me, and we believe we have some very interesting, unusual, special, challenging, and inspiring music and performances to bring to life in the coming weeks.


Gerry and I recorded the project in Michael Lake’s studio in Phoenix, Arizona, a place where we could do things that just couldn’t be achieved in a large, live acoustic space. I wrote about this previously so there’s no need to repeat myself here. But we are now moving ahead with the final phases of production of the album that include mastering, design, licensing, manufacturing and distribution. We hope to have the finished product in our hands by the end of this calendar year.


At this time, Gerry and I are reaching out to people who we hope will be interested in supporting our project. FRATRES – Latin for “brothers” – is an album that we hope will inspire others to look at the bass trombone differently. We’ve recorded a wide range of repertoire that spans nearly 600 years. Over his career, Gerry has released four solo albums and I’ve released five. This kind of duet collaboration is something new for us, and something that, in a sense, was 31 years in the making, with the seed of it planted long ago in 1986 when Gerry and I first met and played duets together.

So we have launched a Kickstarter program to invite people who are interested in what we are doing to stand alongside and support our vision for FRATRES. As much as we value your investment in our project – and as you will see when you visit our Kickstarter page, we are offering a number of “thank you” gifts for your support including a digital download of the album, a physical CD copy of the recording, pencils, t-shirt, beer/iced tea glass, and a coffee mug – we are most of all interested in your partnership in our vision.

Michael Lake has also made a video about the project that includes some interviews with Gerry and me, and photos from the session. Gerry and I really appreciate Mike’s many contributions to the project and I think you will catch his excitement about it if you view his video (click below or see it on YouTube by clicking here):

While we were making our recording, we also took some time out of our schedule to record a music video in the desert. Michael Lake’s drone was able to capture both the grandeur of the Arizona landscape and also the fun Gerry and I had in working together. The soundtrack to this video is one of the pieces we recorded for inclusion on our album, Tommy Pederson’s Below 10th Street, with rhythm and Hammond B-3 organ added by Mike (click below or see it on YouTube by clicking here):

Michael Lake has also posted the recording of his new piece, Devils & Angels, that he composed for our album. It’s a compositional tour de force that includes a sophisticated accompaniment to Gerry (left channel) and me (right channel), as well as Mike’s alto trombone improvisation, a section where the three of us are overdubbed in five parts, and some improvisation by me on serpent at the end. Have a listen by clicking here.

With all of this, we hope you are getting a picture of what we’ve been doing and why we’re so excited about getting this project released.

FRATRES. Friends – brothers – working together to make music to share with others. On behalf of Gerry and me, we thank you for your support.



[Drawing of Douglas Yeo by Lennie Peterson. Drawing of Gerry Pagano by an unknown waiter at a New York City restaurant.]