The Recording

Tne J-maan… makin’ records…
The Rainster… playin’ tunes
Of his own..
with a band…
the BAND-maan
Havin a hard time
makin’ records
playin tunes..
of his own…
with a band…
He’s a complainster
The J-maan…

90’s SNL characters aside. I was discussing on my forum (in my usual self-critical fashion) a recording done with bassist, Ed Fuqua and drummer, Eliot Zigmund. Sax and trumpet were added on 3 tunes: father and son team Dan & Tatum Greenblatt. (See also Charles Monteiro video snippet of session). I also enlisted old pals, bassist, Mario Rodriguez, drummer, Todd Isler and guitarist Billy Newman on a couple of more latin oriented cuts.

So how did it go? For starters let me say this: I was more organized than I ever had been in my life:). I booked 2 separate dates. Nearly every peace of music was written in Sibelius. I uploaded all the parts as .tif files and accompanying mp3s to my share site for the musicians to review and learn. (there was no rehearsal for band#1, 2 rehearsals for band#2) This is a partial score of the Sibelius file for my guajira type tune Sumbate:

For myself, I bought an easel and put down all the tunes with a day by day worksheet study: level of difficulty, parts needed, what to practice. I practiced diligently every night after work and on the weekend. With all the preparation and practice, regretfully I would have to say I learned these hard lessons:

  • Don’t do a recording without rehearsing.
  • Don’t put rhythm section musicians together who haven’t played together. Even if you have played individually with each of them and given them the music in advance.
  • Don’t expect miracles on new material. Especially harmonically complex music.
  • Take control of your own music. Otherwise it’s chaos.
  • Take care of yourself physically. Don’t assault your physical well-being for the sake of getting that last lick worked out.

More tomorrow…

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