Recorda-Me

We had our long-awaited recording session this weekend. It came off great, without a hitch. Thanks to Robert Kessler for the use of his studio and for doing the session engineering, and to Josh his assistant. The whole process went really smooth and the sound was great. As mentioned before, Robert has a great live room with a Steinway Grand piano, and a deep bench of mics and preamps, an overall comfortable setup, and he really knows what he’s doing. So the group could just relax and focus on the music.

We actually managed to record a whole album of material, nine songs in all. In the end we jettisoned the cover and added two more originals, both from Gary. A Minor Event is a cool hard bop blues kinda of number, and Case DiGozo is very latin, bouncy and piano-driven with a fun drum solo.

We got there around ten and by the time everything was set up and we were rolling tape it was a little after noon. We averaged around forty-five minutes per song. In that time we got at least one good take, and usually two or three, and since we figure we can splice them together we have a few of just the first part or last part of a song. Everyone in the group did a really fantastic job playing. Gary, Dan, Rich and Jay, thank you all.

Next comes the editing and mixing. Jay and I are going to do it in my studio. Fun fun fun.

And just in time too. We’ve all been writing new songs. I have a number called Lift Off, inspired in part by John Coltrane’s Countdown, and particularly the idea of having a sax-and-drums section to lead off a song. However I picture the groove more like Bodhisattva by Steely Dan.

Harmonically I’ve been experimenting with chord substitutions, specifically different ways of embellishing a ii-V by putting another ii-V inside of it. The pattern I’m using for this song is to lift the inner ii-V up a half step, so you get ii-biii-bVI-V. You can loop it into a iii-IV-iiV and you’re off and running. By the time you get to the bridge it’s kinda whole-toney and Monk-ish. I had envisioned it uptempo, but once I put down a melody and started practicing, I discovered it works great as a ballad too. So we’ll see where it goes. Sometimes songs take on a life of their own.