Wednesday, December 11, 2002

Hi Ho. Time for my weekly musical rant...
Ok, so I checked this band last night promoting their latest release on Hidden Beach Records called Unwrapped,Vol.II A wonderful combination of rap, jazz, r&b, latin jazz, balled up to create [what was talked about in between songs] what will be known as the new Hip-Hop. It was encouraging to see because that is exactly the direction I've been going for the past 25 years but, back then I was shunned by the jazz purists that were available to me [who were some of the finest musicians]. I don't really blame them, though. It's hard seeing the next generation not totally embracing an art form that takes skill, sensitivity, musical history not to mention heart and soul to make it sound like something not to mention, I hadn't mastered 'jazz' to my fullest potential [I'm still working on it] I said not to mention it...

About ten years ago, Don Menza and I had a conversation about playing this music called jazz. He said something to the affect of 'people don't realize how hard it is to make this music. We practice hard for years and most of us sound mediocre at best'. After a long while of going through the routine of practice we discover the magic that makes it sound special. We're talking years of working through tunes and experimenting on the bandstand taking musical chances to try to get what we are after. There is so much to go through to become a seasoned player.

Now let's talk about soundmen. Friend or Foe? The band I mentioned above, flew into Atlanta to make this show a success. Now, mind you, the band had it together for the short time they rehearsed and were totally proffessional. And now they put their trust in the the sound company. Whoops! Ok, the soundguys came pretty close but they did not have a CLUE of the elements that mattered in this kind of band. This music starts from the drum. The KICK drum. You know, the BASS DRUM. I guess they thought they were doing sound for Sinatra! Too much concentration on the high end. Kick drums go BOOOOOOOM! and not 'blip'. It was a great show but it was missing the heartbeat...it really was. At first I didn't know what was missing so I sat close to the soundguys to get their perspective. It was loud - it was clear. I saw them patting each other on the back, being happy that they pulled it off. Oh contrare...[sp?]

Anywho, I am pointing out to my colleagues that we are at the mercy of the sound company and we must be pro-active when it comes to who and what represents our sound in the mains. All the practicing in the world is not going to prepare you for what happens to your sound when at the mercy of some stranger who doesn't have a clue as to what your needs are as an artist.

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