November 1, 2007

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...


Anonymous said...

Been there, too, JR. Every single one o' there.

Be good to yourself.


Jon Raney said...

And You know what
I'm good enough
I'm smart enough
and doggone it...
People like me

(More SNL tributes...:)

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