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Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [DB]' started by TroyK, Mar 15, 2006.

  1. TroyK

    TroyK Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    I made my first professional full length jazz recording today. 9 hours in Studio Litho in Seattle. I'm exhausted to be honest, a tiny bit drunk (post recording). I'll be uncharacteristically brief tonight because I'm not really in touch with how I feel about it yet. I think some of it went great, there were some clunkers. One song just wouldn't come together. I didn't take nearly as many chances as I do when playing live, because I was so aware of every note and every beat. I guess I should be live too, but it was different.

    It was a much better experience recording than my lesser tastes of studio recording prior to today. Better in almost every way, but I'll wish I had some of those notes back too.

    I'll share more later, if anyone is interested, when I've slept and processed a bit further.

  2. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    Congratulations! Did it feel like nine hours? Sometimes they just fly by, until afterwards, when you feel like you've been whacked in the head with a 2x4. And then it's time to pack up and go do a live gig. It's hard for some folks to understand that that's how we pay the bills.

    I guess most of us have recorded things that we'd like to do over. Out of the zillion sessions I've done, there are very few things that I'd care to hear again. I've got a lot of CDs with my name on them, still in the wrapper. Onward and upward.
  3. bolo


    May 29, 2005
    Apex, NC
    Troy, thanks for sharing. I think it's interesting.

    Like you, I always seem to be very reserved and even cautious in my playing when recording. But in hindsight, I then typically end up wishing I had stepped out a little more (and gone up the fingerboard a little more often).
  4. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    I like being in the studio, it's kind of fun. Congrats on getting something down, and how soon is the TBDB Sampler gonna get a piece of it?

    Just some thoughts for next time -
    1. have you thought about booking more, shorter sessions? I get kinda crispy as I approach the 6th hour and, unless there's just a bunch of material, the more times you make a pass at a tune, the less "fresh" it can sound. I've been digging doing two 5 or 6 hour sessions, you get more first takes, which makes stuff fresher. You also get to make a whole nother pass at everything, which takes some of the pressure for "perfection" off. And that option kind of allows you to be more open than you otherwise might be.

    2. remember, all you can sound like is what you can sound like. Just try to make music, pay attention but PLAY. You're not trying for perfection, you're trying to play with everybody else there.

    I'm looking forward to hearing it.
  5. Uncletoad


    May 6, 2003
    Columbus Ohio
    Proprietor Fifth Avenue Fret Shop. Technical Editor Bass Gear Magazine
    I feel that way every time I do a recording. I recently heard some stuff I did in 1986. It was better than I remember it being but still everything I made goofs on comes back in seconds. Uggh.
  6. mchildree

    mchildree Supporting Member

    Sep 4, 2000
    Thanks Ed...as usual, you cut right to the heart of things. That concept could have saved me a lot of stress and money, but I try to live by it now. I love studio recording myself, but experiences differ vastly based on the quality of the facility and the engineer. We start a new project on April 8, in a very nice new studio, and I'm REALLY looking forward to it.

    Congrats on your session, Troy :bassist: Looking forward to hearing some of the product!
  7. TroyK

    TroyK Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    I appreciate everyone’s support. I would like to see this thread grow into a parallel of “remember your first gig”. Maybe not from the sentimental standpoint but I plan to do a lot more recording as I’m sure do others and a discussion on the process would probably be fruitful for more than just me.

    In response to Bolo, I know what you mean, I stayed close to home on the fingerboard much more than I normally do gigging. I was focused on time and playing supportively so I just played more conservatively harmonically. I practiced all of these 2 octave and thumb position things, but little, if any of it, will show up on record. Maybe next time.

    Ed, you know. You and Ray were in my head during the session yesterday because I knew that I as much as I have opined, I was going to have to actually reveal myself as a player now. I will upload something and take my lumps. Actually, I’ll appreciate and value your feedback. You’ll have some problems with it, I do too, but on the other hand, I think it’s going to have its moments. Not sure when I’ll have possession of a track, but when I do, I’ll upload.

    On 2 shorter sessions, I think there could have been some value to that. There were some logistical and band dynamic issues that kind of made it go the way that it went. It is a trumpet lead quartet and the trumpet player arranged it, booked it and paid us for the session rather than having it be a band project. 2 of us took vacation days from our day jobs, so an extra day would have been possible, but just for scheduling et al, we did it in one this time. It was pushing our physical limits although it did go pretty fast for the most part. We got bogged down at a point and I think never quite recovered from that, which I think is an argument for 2 shorter sessions.

    With regards to “all you can do is all you can do”, I accepted that last week and it helped. My teacher who a really top guy with a huge discography told me that he hears something on every one of his recordings that tells him what he needs to work on. I’ll be better next time and the time after that and hopefully this is the first of 50 or 100 recordings for me.

    UncleToad, I think it will be better than it felt too. We did a dry run several weeks ago at the Art Institute of Seattle. They have nice studios and their students will record you for free and its worth, exactly every penny, but our objective was to get some studio jitters out, listen to what we sounded like and take some lessons learned away from the experience. All of which helped. That session went, we all felt pretty poorly, but the recording turned out much better than expected, which makes me excited about this one because it clearly went much better.

    The project is several original compositions and one standard “I’ll Close My Eyes”, for which will likely get sued by Sam Jones’ estate for copping a bunch of his stuff. They will have to get in line behind Blue Mitchells’ estate who will likely recognize quite a bit of the trumpet improvisation. We’ll go through Harry Fox to get the rights on the song.

    Of the originals, 2 were mine, a Cuban piece that I wrote several years ago and a Boogaloo that I wrote one morning this winter. The trumpet player wrote 3 or 4 really nice tunes that I think will come off well and the piano player contributed one that even he was having trouble playing, we’ll see how it comes out. Things that went well and I’ll make a habit of:

    • I brought a stool. I usually practice on a stool, but gig standing. It helped a lot with the fatigue. I chose to stand for some tracks, but the option was nice and I see no reason to ever limit myself on future sessions.
    • Only the drummer used cans and we didn’t obsess about bleed. We had some adequate separation, but still allowed sight and sound lines and for most part got by. In the “dry run” we let the guy fear monger us over bleed and we weren’t set up in proximity that was natural for us and it showed in our playing. This was a very good quality and comfortable studio.
    • We have a producer who we’ll never let go of now. He understands how to record jazz, he understands musicians and he got great sound out of us in seemingly no time. I don’t think my bass has ever sounded better. Set up was quick and unobtrusive, which made all the difference and I don’t think I could go back now.
    • I put a used OLIV G string that I’ve been hanging onto for a while on the day before the recording and because I didn’t know how long it would take to settle in, I kept my chromatic tuner plugged in. I gave me one fewer thing to worry about and I actually used it a bit for some long tone and double stop sections, since I couldn’t exactly hear that piano that clearly all the time to adjust with my ear. I wouldn’t have thought that I would have used it that way, but it was helpful, so I’m glad I had it. I didn’t look at it when I was walking or blowing, but it was good to check it with it in spots.
    • I brought a metronome and we used it at one point when we were stuck on something and needed to work through it. Good thing to throw in the bag.
    • I drank tons of water. I don’t know if it was an adrenaline thing, but it seemed appropriate and in spite of the many trips to the john, it probably helped with the physicality of the day.
    • I brought a magazine and when the drummer and/or piano player were fooling around and getting all of their rock fantasies out (which they both do too much of), I separated myself into a sonically different room, put on a 3 Sounds CD and read about European cycling. I realized in this process that I’m a feel player. I need to feel the music, feel the time, feel that triplets. I think that’s both good and bad. Good because it’s artistic, bad because I need to be better prepared to just do the job, play the line, put the emphasis on the & of 3 in bar 26 or whatever. But, my process is to get in and be the music that we’re playing for whatever amount of time we’re playing it and it’s very distracting to me to have people screwing around musically between takes. Which was becoming a source of band tension. But, that’s their process, I have mine. I accomplished what I needed to by being prepared to give them their space without letting it get in my head. I realize that there is a better long term solution to that problem, but the situation was what it was and I dealt with it constructively.

    So, there I go with another long post. I’ll try to upload a photo with it, if you see one, then it worked. So, very tired…..


    Attached Files:

  8. mchildree

    mchildree Supporting Member

    Sep 4, 2000
    I think this has happened for me on every studio recording I've ever done. When I'm tracking, I get into this "microscope mode" and tend to over-analyze everything. Later, with a fresh set of ears, the sum of all the parts always sounds much better.
  9. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    Aww, those guys aren't so bad with their reviews. Ray's had very little negative to say, and when Ed notices something, it's usually something helpful. Heck, back when the "Johnson Chronicles" was just a snail mail exchange rather than a "open for public" site, I learned a lot from those emails, and never felt like any shots were taken by anyone. Post your stuff, and congrats for having recorded it!
  10. TroyK

    TroyK Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    Chris, I love the pseudonyms you assign to us all. I'm also glad that I've graduated from "hugatreecentric". I am starting to think of my long posts as journaling somwhat. It's great to journal and get feedback.

    And, I'll welcome feedback on my playing. I was kidding, but the opinion of people you respect is always a little intimidating, yeah?

    I could go on and on....

  11. Uncletoad


    May 6, 2003
    Columbus Ohio
    Proprietor Fifth Avenue Fret Shop. Technical Editor Bass Gear Magazine
    I was talking with a guitar player in a band I work with about our perceptions of a good night vs. the sound of an actual good night. We recorded something on computer at a gig recently and when I heard a snippet of it I was agast. I said "I thought we were gelling and hearing each other and it felt very musical but hearing it on playback it didn't sound anywhere near that". Conversely I've done gigs and sessions where when hearing them back I've thought it was way better than it felt. Sometimes I think I'm my own worst judge.

    I appreciate the journals. Keep it up.

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