The process for putting a CD together takes me about a year between thinking about the musicians and songs, trying out new arrangements, and making some serious last minute decisions. I love the push of purpose that recording gives me. It focuses my attention on a smaller amount of material that I want to share with others as that snapshot in time. How do I sound right now and what’s important to me? Here is some of that journey.
I played a few concerts in the Los Angeles area in March 2012 with Jeff Hamilton and Bruce Forman. I had been living in Denmark for a few months at that point. It just felt right to play music with guys that were not only friends of mine, but also great inspirations and mentors.
I met Jeff Hamilton for the first time back in 1993. He was playing in Ray Brown’s trio at the time with Benny Green on piano. That was one of the most powerful grooves I had ever felt in my life. You could actually feel the air moving in the club with this amazing pulse. Our paths crossed numerous times after that. I even studied with him for about 6 months at one point. I’ve learned so much from Jeff about music, life and philosophy. I’m honored that he wanted to be a part of this project.
I don’t know that I can remember the first time I met Bruce Forman. I knew of him long before we met. I knew that Ray Brown dug him and he was a fixture in the San Francisco jazz scene. I think our first time playing together was at the Golden Gate Bass Camp in Oakland, CA. Bruce isn’t just a fierce soloist, he’s this bundle of exuberant joy when he plays. It doesn’t matter what your level is as a player. Bruce has a way of pushing and inspiring you to play better than you thought you could.
What do we play?
I had a few songs that I had been working on in Los Angeles before the move. I had performed them around the US and I was feeling pretty comfortable with them. Unfortunately, I didn’t have enough material for an entire album. I found my inspiration from setting my iPod on shuffle play and then following the trails to some personal discoveries.
I originally thought that living in Scandinavia would bring me closer to newer, more experimental music. That wasn’t the case. I kept returning to my favorite big band recordings and Ray Brown’s walking lines and Ella Fitzgerald’s joyous scat solos. It was how I first fell in love with jazz. It was the sense of joy and playing with friends and swinging until it hurts. “Hey, have you heard this one? Check it out!”.
The individual song insights will be posted soon. For now, know that the come by way of friends and life experiences. I will be passing them on to you soon.
The Technical Stuff
This is a stressful part for me. Who do you trust? How do you know that everything is going to work all right in the end? Not having a major label with all those things in place, it can be pretty daunting. Luckily, we were able to get David Rideau. This guy is a seriously heavy recording and mixing engineer. Just Google Search him, you’ll see. I knew he was amazing technically, but I wanted to work with someone who made me feel comfortable in the studio. Dave was right on. He encouraged me for extra takes when I needed it and he told me when my singing was on the money. I would use him again in a heartbeat.
Dave also had a good relationship with the folks over at Sunset Studio. It had all the gear Dave needed and we were able to get a lot done in very little time.
Mastering was also a new adventure for me. For some reason, I had not mastered my previous recordings because I was told that I didn’t need it. Never again. Mikkel Nymand was the perfect match for our team. Thank you Mikkel for your amazing work and relaxed attitude.
You can hear the results for yourself very soon. I’m really proud of the team.