Wednesday, February 11, 2009


Blog # 2: Recording

Recording went fairly smoothly. It took us a couple of takes to get warmed up because we were all a little tense. There’s something about knowing that what you’re about play will be permanent that is hard to shake from your mind. As a jazz musician, it is comforting to know that any mistakes you play at a live show will disappear into the air after you’ve played them, unfortunately this is not the case on a recording. Day one(Jan 28th 2009), we recorded 12-6pm and played all 9 songs. We pretty much played every track just once before moving on to the next, knowing if we had time at the end of the day we would go back and do second takes. I feel that doing multiple takes back-to-back can really kill the creativity and energy of the song, so I try to avoid it. I think people start thinking too much about what they want to play, rather than being more spontaneous, and letting it naturally happen. I also had a recording order ready for the songs when I went into the studio, so my chops wouldn’t get tired prematurely.

After the first day I went home (exhausted) and listened to the tracks. Being an extremely self-critical person, I thought I had played terribly. I even texted my friend John Beaty, freaking out about how I thought I had bombed and ruined my own recording. After a good night rest, I woke up the following day and gave the tracks a second listen too, and felt MUCH better about them. It was obvious that my mind was just tired from the long day of recording and the tracks I had listened to were the first ones we did (while we were all ‘tense’ and getting warmed-up). It can be very difficult to listen to oneself, I find if I pretend I’m listening to someone else I can enjoy the recording a lot more, and with this mindset, I think the recording went very well.

The morning of the second day(1/29/09) I listened to all the tracks we recorded the day before. I returned to the studio having made notes of songs we would need to do another take of, and other small errors we could fix. Most tunes ended up being just 1 or 2 takes, but there was one song that we just couldn’t get right. We did 8 takes, and it was obvious that I might have to do some editing on that one before it makes it to the record. While nothing was ‘technically’ wrong with any of the takes, I felt like the ‘vibe’ was not quite right. During the recording, we tried switching the solo order and bringing in John Beaty (saxophone), who was originally going to sit out on this song. Listening to the recording from the first day was very helpful, it really let me go in with a game plan the second day as to what needed work and what was already finished.

Overall I think my preparation and focus leading up to the recording helped a lot. Unfortunately there were things that I couldn’t anticipate, such as getting a cold the day before we recorded. It is also difficult to play while wearing the headphones, because the sound you hear back of yourself is slightly different; its like talking and hearing someone else’s voice come out. By the second day I got used to it, and I think next time I record will be much easier. As far as being physically prepared, I probably over-did it a bit with the practicing leading up to the recording. People who are familiar with Athletes and ‘Peaking’, will know what I’m talking about; live and learn. But all and all, I would say the recording was a success.

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