In August of 2002, I asked Chris Izzi, the songwriter of “Still Not Ready,” to tell me a little bit about himself, how he knew Eva, and how his song came to be recorded. He replied as follows:
“Still Not Ready” is a melancholy song about an on-again off-again relationship which could not end and yet could not continue. It’s sad and heart-wrenching, as you will find out by the lyrics, which were written by Leo LaSota in 1986.
Eva and I grew up in Bowie, Maryland, and had a good deal of mutual friends such as Larry Melton, Ned Judy, Mark Marello, Jackie Fletcher etc. She was a couple of years younger than me, more my brother’s age who graduated with Larry and the gang. We started a group in 1977 called “Fat Fingers” with Larry Melton on bass, Joe Knaggs on Guitar, Les Owen on sax, Adrian Green on drums, and myself on keyboards. We did mostly original material and a few cover tunes. I had always seen Eva at parties or at Larry’s house (I used to live with Larry for a couple of years) and on occasion we would jam together. She came to my mom’s house and sang there, and sang down at my house in southern Maryland. We both did “Live Aid” at Allen’s Pond — she was with the “Honey Bees” and I was with “Fat Fingers.”
It wasn’t until 1987 when we (“Fat Fingers”) were recording some original compositions that we finally asked Eva to sing on a couple of tunes. She sang on three of my songs: “Don’t Cry,” which is now called “Still Not Ready,” “Symbiosis,” and “Epithalamium.” She also sang on one of Joe Knaggs’s songs called “Fish O Plenty.” “Symbiosis” and “Fish O Plenty” are up for consideration for Eva’s next CD. These recordings were done in Columbia, Maryland, at “Golden Triangle” studios and were produced by Jeff Corbet in 1987-88.
I am also a friend of Eva’s dad, “Fitz,” as we work out together and play music twice a week. After playing “Still Not Ready” with Fitz, he said it was good enough to be a jazz standard. I told him I had recorded it with Eva years ago. He gave it a listen and encouraged me to send it to Bill Straw at Blix Street Records for consideration. Bill liked it and wanted to put it on Eva’s next CD. He took the song to California and had it edited. They took out part of the sax introduction and my piano solo. I was not happy about this, and told Bill how I felt. He said that he liked the song as it was originally composed, but because of marketing, and how long the song was, it had to be trimmed down.
I run a piano tuning business, and I also teach piano lessons and play music on the side. I play for two churches, Trinity U.M.C. and Eastern U.M.C. (a black church in southern MD). In addition I have a band called “Izzi Does It” with my family: Marc Izzi on sax (a good friend of Eva’s); Greg Izzi on drums; Cathy Izzi, Greg’s wife, sings; and I play piano and trumpet.
I am totally honored to be sharing billing on the IMAGINE album with such great musicians, and hope that some of the multitude of great musicians I have played with can get some recognition too.