On Tuesday night I was in my recording/rehearsal studio (a mere mile from Motown Studio A) with two members of the organ jazz lineage of music that I am so fond of, namely Perry Hughes and Gene Dunlap. I’ve been working with both of these gentleman for quite sometime and I’m humbled and honored to be associated with them. Perry Hughes is “the embodiment of Wes Montgomery, Grant Green and George Benson” as described by my mentor and teacher Bill Heid. I first heard Perry on Bill’s “Blues on The Road” record which included a song I still perform entitled “Love Is Nothing But The Blues” which featured a tasty solo from Mr. Hughes. Then I devoured Bill’s “Bop Rascal” CD which featured some great tunes including “Grantacious” and “Psy Ops” both of which are in my B3 repertoire. I met Perry years later and I’ve been fortunate enough to play gigs with him since that time. Through Perry I met Harvey Mason and was able to play at the Jarkta Jazz Festival in Indonesia and at the Barbados Jazz Festival through his recommendation. Gene Dunlap has worked and recorded with Grant Green, Earl Klugh, and many others as well as recording under his own name for Columbia records. He’s a master of subtley and taste on the drums and I’ve really grown to appreciate his knowledge on the industry, music, and technology. The fact that I was sitting at the Hammond and recording with both of these gentleman made me very grateful.
I’ve made my first few forays into full band recording using Logic 9 on my Macbook Pro and I’m learning a lot each time. I’m using an Apogee Ensemble and Duet as my audio interfaces. I’m very happy with both of these devices in general and I’m considering getting a symphony system in the future. The Mastero 2 interface is very clear and the sound quality is really good. I had 10 channels to work with. I ended up using nine because the direct line of the organ was buzzing and I knew it was a ground issue but I didn’t have time to chase it down and decided to just go with the three mic set up I had on the Leslie. One of the problems that I face in the room that I record in is that it’s in a building that contains other rehearsal and recording studios. Sometimes this can be a problem. Especially when the death-metal-techno band rehearses and the SVT’s are on 10! But we didn’t seem to encounter much of a problem even though there was another band to rehearsing at the same time.
I just had my dumpster picked Hammond C2 worked on by the amazing B3 Doctor John Doyle. He switched out my vibrato/chorus transistor and made the organ sound like a million bucks. He also gave me the ability to run three tone cabinets! We started the session using only the 21H (with a 122 Amp) and my near mint 145. It sounded good but Gene mentioned that he couldn’t hear my comping so I decided to hook up the Hammond Tone Cabinet I recently acquired. I plugged it in and both Gene and Perry looked up and smiled. They could now hear me and the rest of the takes had a lot more communication between Gene and myself.
I’m lucky to have a fairly large space to record and rehearse with high ceilings and foam padded walls. It’s nice and open and kind of dead. I can get some good sounding tracks d in there. I’m also fortunate enough to be next door to percussion guru Larry Fratangelo who’s worked with Aretha Franklin, Kid Rock, and P-Funk to name a few. We plan on joining forces to record in 2012 so we’ll have three rooms to work with. I transferred the tracks to my desktop yesterday and made a rough mix or two. They’re not too bad. I think we got a few good takes. We recorded three tunes. I’m looking forward to doing lots more recording in the new year. I’d also like to thank Bill’s brother George Heid who talked me through the set up and approach I used for recording. It’s not pristine sound quality but we got a vibe and some good takes. The organ has the character of some of the early McDuff recordings I really like and Perry takes some amazing solos (as per usual.) I’m so glad we finally got in a studio. We’ve been talking about it for years and we finally made it happen. I’m looking forward to doing lots more recording and producing in 2012.