First Listen: “Matte Kudasai” from THE GATE
Matte Kudasai is the opening track on Kurt Elling’s new album, THE GATE.
“Matte Kudasai” is the Japanese phrase for “please wait.” There is an indeterminate poetic flavor about that composition that has always stayed with and been relevant to me. You can’t really pin down the vibe of it. Similarly, I wasn’t able to pin down what I wanted to do with the piece. Thankfully, I had John Patitucci and Terreon Gully on board, and my good friend Laurence Hobgood. We were in the studio and they said, “What do you wanna do with this?” I said, “Well I’m not really sure. This is what it’s about, this is how I feel about it, but you’re really the experts at your instruments and you’re great composers. I hired you so you could bring yourselves to the table as composers, so what do you think?” John looked at the page for a while, thought about what we talked about, and said, “Okay, let’s try this. Let’s roll some tape.” He just started and Terreon joined him. Everybody else fell into that arrangement with him. We never really rehearsed it, it just came out the way it came out. I can’t even tell you how pleased I am with it.
King Crimson’s Adrian Belew, who wrote the lyrics for Matte Kudasai for Discipline, King Crimson’s 1981 album, has said,
It means “Please wait for me.” I found it in my Japanese phrase book and thought it sang well and made a nice title. As it turns out it’s the one people most often ask about.