Thursday, May 2, 2013

1 month away from Recording

Blog #107:  1 month away from recording

Its May 2nd and I'm about one month away from starting to record my third album.  For this record I've decided to do EVERYTHING differently.  First of all, almost all jazz records are recorded in two back to back days.  What usually happens is you record for about 8 hours, then you go home listen to the recordings you did that day for another few hours, crash(because its exhausting to be that focused for so long), then wake up and try to do second takes and punch-in corrections the next day.  The whole thing is a total hurricane(or at least it feels that way if you're the leader.) 

For my upcoming album I'm going to do this differently.  The music we've been playing is really energetic and its very hard (if not impossible) to maintain that intensity for 8 hours straight.  The band sprints, its not taking a marathon pace.  When we play live, we can only do 1 set: we go hard.  So we're going to do 3 shorter days(recording for 4 hours at a time.)  This is kind of a gamble, because we'll be essentially trying to nail less songs per day, and if we don't get a good take upon playback, we've wasted those 4 hours.  The 2nd and 3rd day of recording will hopefully be in August and September respectively.  The other reason I'm spreading out the dates is I want more time to listen to the tracks and talk with Brad(keys) and Noah(guitar) about layering extra tracks on top of what we record live.  So it will be a two part process: recording like you would a normal jazz record, live and improvised with the band and pt 2 laying subtle things after the fact, and after thinking about it a lot; much in the way a rock record is recorded.  This also fits the style of the music, which is more rock based.  Essentially I want to slow the whole recording process down.

Another big difference is the size of the band.  Its going to be my first record with a sextet:
Jon Crowley -Trumpet
John Beaty- Alto Sax
Noah Berman- Guitar and Effects
Brad Whiteley- Piano, Rhodes, Effects
Ben Thomas- Bass
Max Maples- Drums

Using guitar and piano is interesting, since I'm writing parts so they can both be playing and comping together behind the soloists instead of taking turns(which is what most people do when they have both in a jazz setting)  Its been cool and a fun challenge to write a writing comping part for one instrument while giving the other the freedom to 'just comp naturally', or for the piano parts, sometimes i write something for the left hand but let Brad comp what he hears with his right hand.  There are lots of other ways the music we'll be recording is different than 99% of jazz records.  For one, all the songs are through-composed; meaning we don't play the melody, take solos on the same form and play the melody again.  Solos are on different structures, lots of cued sections and the pieces evolve and end in different places than they began.  Not that many people are doing this right now, but I believe it to be the future of "jazz".

Lastly, since we'll be doing three days, and soo much material, the stuff we record will end up being a full album AND a shorter EP.: basically two CDs.  We'll release the EP first, then probably 4 months or so later i'll put out the full album.  This will give me time to work on one and then the other as far as editing and laying with the guys.  Besides that a friend of mine is going to be release the EP on his newly founded label, which is exciting and takes some of the monetary stress off me(which is great), hopefully we can get this record out there and really get the music we're doing on the map.

Here's a clip of the stuff we've been working on: