In the Studio

Sorry to the regular readers for not posting for a long time. I have been totally absorbed with a recording project. Last June I went to Barcelona to play with my guitarist friend Pere Soto. We did several gigs with an Argentinian drummer named Salvador Toscano and decided that the chemistry was good enough to make a CD. Pere got back into Portland last month and we flew Salvador in from Barcelona two weeks ago. Last Sunday we flew up my old buddy Dan Robins from Santa Cruz to play bass. Dan is one of the few guys I know who can really play Brazilian and Jazz equally well. I booked one of the best studios in town and last weekend we spent 24 hours recording 17 tunes. I was pretty stressed out dealing with all the details like finding a drum kit, acoustic bass, getting the music together and of course finding a good reed. The reeds I had been using for over a year, the WWBW Paris Jazz reed, were on back order and since the purchase order has somehow been lost were not expected until late in the month. I started ordering all the reeds the reeds that I had ever played in the past in hopes that at least one would be great. I imagined going through hundreds of new reeds and not finding a great reed.
I really needed a great reed since I was spending so much energy and money in the studio, a good reed would simply not do. I imagined myself buying case after case of bad Javas or Rico Jazz Selects and wanting to kill myself. A few days before the session some boxes of Riggotti Gold alto 3 strongs showed up on my doorstep. I wasn't sure if I had tried them before on alto even though I had been playing them on tenor for a while. Lo and behold they worked great. In fact they were even better and more consistant than the WWBW reeds I had been playing. The cane was great and they had more body to them, making them a little darker than the WWBW reeds.

The band had several days to rehearse and also four nights of gigs leading up to the recording session. This was a good warm up but we were pretty wiped out by the morning of the session.
We had a lot more material than just one CD and we wanted to try to record all of it.

In the past when I've taken bands into the studio I've never been happy with the result. Recording studios are the worst place to be creative, especially if you're the one bankrolling the session. This time Pere and I were splitting the expenses and the workload, this helped manage my stress level quite a bit.

There were a few problems, like the piano not being close enough in tune and some signal distortion issues, but all in all everything went smoothly. I never expect to play great in the studio, just average. This session wasn't earth-shattering but better than usual. The music was mostly mellow romantic Bossanovas, a few Jazz waltzes, a minor blues, an Afro 6/8 and one fusion tune.

rough mixes


Ryan said...

Wait, who's the pianist?

Jason DuMars said...

David, my overall impression of the recording session is very, very good! Once you add the final polishing to the tracks, this is going to be an outstanding CD, and certainly one I will recommend to everyone I know. The studio (and the music business in general) are anathema to making inspired music.

David Carlos Valdez said...

Sorry, Dan Gaynor is on piano.