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DURRL, the Todd Hildreth Trio, and new LaScala studio clips

Discussion in 'Recordings [DB]' started by Chris Fitzgerald, Apr 18, 2005.


  1. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    Over the past few months, an amazing phenomenon has happened to my email inbox – it’s been flooded with messages from players who are eyeballing one of Arnold’s New Standard LaScala basses. These curious folks want to know many things about these basses and have all kinds of questions, which I try to answer as best I can. Mostly, though, they want to hear soundclips.

    THE CLIPS - I’m attaching links to three new soundclips from a trio session I did at the beginning of the year. Before I say anything about the other players and the music, I’ll try to satisfy those who are bass shopping first by describing the recording process. The bass was strung with Spiro Starks, and recorded with two microphones: the lower mic, about 12-18” in front of the bass, was a CAD E300, the largest LDC I’ve ever seen. The upper mic was a Shure SM81. Both were running through Summit Audio preamps (sorry, I don’t know the model #) and then directly into Protools. There were no Protools shenanigans used on this recording – when I played out of tune, the track was simply out of tune. The only thing we did to the bass sound post-tracking was to roll off everything below 60 Hz and to add a pinch of leveling with a Universal Audio LA2A to the lower mic, which was slightly boomier than we had intended. I’d like to thank Philil Sturgwolt for his excellent recording job on all of the instruments – after working with Phil, it’s kind of hard to work with anyone else.

    THE MUSIC – The group is the Todd Hildreth Trio, which I sometimes jokingly refer to as “The Todd Plus”. The drummer is Paul “El Diablo” Culligan, making this trio 3/4 of Java Men. The tunes I’ve chosen here were chosen in order to show off the bass and the band, but also to be a sort of sonic reference to my points in some older TB threads like This one and This one. Todd’s concept is that he can basically play whatever the hell he wants in his group, including stuff that comes from the local pop radio, his church, or the standard repertoire. I hope the fun we had doing this session is evident to the listener.

    THE TUNES:

    1) Black Nile – Todd’s take on the Wayne Shorter classic set to a hip-hoppish kinda beat.

    2) Let Us Break Bread Together – A Hymn tune that we played on a gig once and thought it might be fun to do at the session.

    3) Clint Eastwood – a tune by the band “Gorillaz” that Todd arranged for trio. The intro on this one was done on the spot, and is not really my best work. I included it because the tune is fun and because it highlights what a LaScala sounds like when you’re pounding the crap out of it.

    All comments, whether they be positive, negative, or anywhere in between, are welcome. :)
     
  2. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    Maui
    Cool. Me Likee.

    That's one of the things I love about my La Scala, too...you can really dig deep into it, "pound the crap out of it", and it just keeps coming at you with more sound. It doesn't break up.
     
  3. christ andronis

    christ andronis

    Nov 14, 2001
    Chicago
    Nice work Chris. I'm curious....do you have a low D extension or did you detune for "Clint Eastwood"?

    Great sounding bass.

    peace
     
  4. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    I just detuned for that one...one more reason I love the Stark E string - it's got so much tension at E that it's still usable when detuned. I especially like the SNARL it gets when you really smack the open D. Not for straight-ahead stuff, I admit, but when you really want to get dirty...

    Thanks. I like it. Can you tell? :D
     
  5. Did you detune the whole bass (like DADGAD on guitar) or just the E? I really like the sound and feel of that tune.
     
  6. christ andronis

    christ andronis

    Nov 14, 2001
    Chicago

    hmmmm...thanks...I'll remember that! What are you using on the other strings? Same?


    well duhh on my part....just read your description above....never mind.... :scowl:
     
  7. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    Just the E, thank god. I was a guitarist in a previous life, and I never could figure out how to play in alternate tunings like some people can...here I just wanted the low note because of the style of the music.
     
  8. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    NYC
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    Just got the CD t'other day and have listened to it a couple of times, albeit not as closely as I'd like.

    First impressions: I really dig the vibe and approach on ALONE TOGETHER and CLINT EASTWOOD, which particularly goes some nice places. That's more open than I've heard you play before and it hangs together very nicely indeed. I would have liked to have heard that kind of openess on BLACK NILE as well. It's a nice approach but, to me, kind of stays static.

    LETTUCE BAKE BREAD - again a great vibe, I'll give it a closer listen.

    I didn't really listen to the Beatles tune. And no bass solo on SNOT YER PALE MOON?

    Concur on the sound comments; a good, clear solid sound. Wood and meat, what more could you ask for?

    I will type more later.
     
  9. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    I agree completely, and honestly, it's more my fault than anyone else's. We did the whole session in one sitting, and "Nile" was early on. Paul's a great drummer, but he comes from a more rock/fusion place, and he tends to be the "stay home guy" most of the time. I love playing with him, but I play with so many other guys who go out very quickly and force me to be the "stay home guy" that it takes me a while to warm up to the idea of stretching too far. I definitely think I could and should have opened this one up a lot more.


    Tell me about it.. or rather TELL TODD. It was his session, and he doled out the rides. If you want, I'll send you his email addy so's you can put a bug in his ear. :D

    Yeah - I think I learned enough working with Philil on this session to keep me busy in my home studio for about 6 months. He's the kind of guy who crawls around on the floor for about 20 minutes while you play looking for the perfect spot to put the mic, even if you were just in the studio two weeks before. I swear, that guy is the real deal, and I wish there were more like him. And it's great to hear you say that, 'cause I know you're a stickler for tone.

    Please do! I love this stuff - and am anxiously awaiting the next FOGHORN release.
     
  10. larry

    larry Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2004
    Florida
    Chris,

    Great CD. Can you tell a bit about the recording - analog? What kind of board or pres? Were you guys all in one room?
     
  11. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    Thanks, Larry. Piano and drums were in the same room: the drums, to get that open room sound with ribbon overheads; piano, because it's the only room big enough for the 7' grand. Phil had the piano walled off from the drums with all manner of ****, and it worked out just fine...and FWIW, although I was against bringing the drums out of the booth at first, I think the room ambience sounds cool. The overheads were pair of Royer ribbbons going though a UA-2610 pre (my favorite pre in the world). The piano was recorded on - of all things - two MXL V69 tube mics (they've got an incredible mic locker, but phil likes these for piano) into the focusrite board pres...it's the 24-channel protools automated board, a couple of years old. I was in the booth with the two mics I described. Everything went straight into protools on an old G4 Quicksilver, and all of the post FX (very little, in fact) were plugs. Phil is just a damn good engineer, is all. Glad you liked it!
     
  12. Wow, what a difference in your playing with the LaScala.
    What's different about your set-up on the new bass, if any?
    (obviously avoiding that A word that drives Arnold up the wall.)
    I can't avoid using the word 'tight' when trying to describe your sound on the new bass. I mean that in a positive way....It seems many players, especially those that tend to play in the upper register, get kind of a loose, sloppy, overload of string noise. You get hardly any. I know some of this is thanks to the tension of the Starks, but the sound that comes after the point of the tone is thanks to you and the bass
    I really like that old tune...Let us Break Bread, which is the only tune i've checked out so far. Nice tempo and good feel from everybody. Your solo is just right in terms of space and breathing.
    Congrats to you and Arnold!
     
  13. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    Thanks Paul - glad you like the upper register stuff in that tune. I remember Phil telling us later in the day that when we had told him what we were about to play so he could mark the track in the control room, he rolled his eyes and thought to himself, "Man, they were doing so well....why are they doing this tune? This is going to be REALLLLLY stupid". Then later when he told us the story during playback, he said he thought it was one of the better ones we did.

    Funny you should use the word "tight" when describing the sound of the LaScala, since the real difference between it and my old bass to me is that the LaScala feels incredibly "loose" to me when I play it - something about the angle of the neck set and the warmth of the tone it produces with very little effort. The Starks (and now the Dominants) allow for a very clear sound if you want to dig in (which is what I like about them...no "floppiness" or "clickety clack" when you dig in), but on this bass they're not difficult or painful to play if I set the Act...er, string height at 6 on the G and 9 on the E. I had them set that way on my old bass, but it cost me a lot more energy to play it, and I don't think it sounded nearly as warm or "loose" as the new bass does. Major props to Arnold.

    Funny you should mention the sound the way you do - I've listened to your CD a bunch, and I think the "sound in my mind's ear" that I'm going for is a lot like the sound you get on your record - clear and clean, but WARM. I don't hear any extraneous noise in your solos, either, which is one of the reasons I enjoy them. I should also mention that my detuning on "Clint Eastwood" was partly inspired by those GIANT low notes you like to drop from time to time on that beautiful "bathroom worthy" fiver you play. Those low C's and D's you play on that axe definitely hit me below the belt, but in a good way. :D
     
  14. Very nice! I especially liked "Clint Eastwood".
     
  15. ZuluFunk

    ZuluFunk

    Apr 14, 2001
    Pennsylvania
    Wow Chris...
    Those gave me plenty of inspiration.
    (That's a bit of a complement).

    Clint sounds like you all had the most fun playing.
     
  16. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    Thanks gents - it was a fun session, my first with my new "mistress", and I look forward to many long "business lunches" with her in the future. I gotta admit, I LOVE LOVE LOVE playing in the studio where I can hear everything - it makes my intonation almost bearable.

    Zulu - "Engelhardt ES-9 Swingmaster" in your profile? Where's your brag thread? Where's your Dark Side contract? Man, I know I've been busy, but I didn't know I've been that busy. Congrats, and welcome to the castle. :)
     
  17. ZuluFunk

    ZuluFunk

    Apr 14, 2001
    Pennsylvania
    Isn't it in the rules...no pics = no bragging.
    I could post some sound clips...but I'd better not!!!
    I'm still working on meeting up with an instructor.
     
  18. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    Where are you located? Helping people find teachers is a major national pastime down here...
     
  19. ZuluFunk

    ZuluFunk

    Apr 14, 2001
    Pennsylvania
    I'm meeting up with someone on Thursday...he's a TB'er I think. First thing is to get him to teach me that Dirty Harry tune.
     
  20. joe_sorren

    joe_sorren

    Apr 7, 2005
    arizona
    Chris,

    I gotta say, I just listened to the recordings again, Great stuff Chris. restrained where it needs to be, and cuts loose at just the right places.

    Your lines, broken/synchopated (sp?) playing on Wabash is so coool. Also, the solo that resolves into the triplets and then into the original melody, great resolve.

    Thanks again for sharing the tunes, I hope you post Wabash for all to dig on, the song deserves it.

    Hope all is well,

    Joe