Back from the studio

Hello everyone,

Well, our band just got more international with the latest and unexpected addition of my friend Rodrigo Recabarren from Chile. Tommy had the misfortune to get food poisoning the previous night, so you can imagine the state of stress I was in on Wednesday morning: months or preparation, weeks of rehearsals, countless hours of work, a huge financial burden at stake and of course the disappointment of missing my friend Tommy.

We arrived at the studio at 10am and Rodrigo got there at 11am. You can be sure he was not expecting to be cutting a record with Kenny Barron when he woke up that morning! There was obviously a high level of stress, but everyone was very professional, with a positive and supportive attitude. Kenny and Peter of course, Michael Brorby the sound engineer and Jon the photographer were very helpful. We made it through the day and we have some great music, this is the magic of music. And the result of the attitude of the team: we manage to be our very best in the darkest moment.

We started the session with the standard "Alone Together", arranged with a bolero vibe and I play the tenor on that song. Well, we did only one take. It was so good! Even when a take is good, I usually like to do one more, just in case, but that was not necessary for this one, first take baby! Kenny, who is a man of few words had a big smile and turned to me and said "Yeah, that was really tasty!".

I did one more take in duo with Kenny of "Duke Ellington sound's of love" by Charles Mingus. Every take is beautiful, it's going to be hard to choose the one for the album! 

Then we recorded "Lester left town" by Wayne Shorter, a great hard-bop tune. We did several takes with different tempos.

After lunch we recorded "Blues For Fred", a composition of mine, a 24-bar blues a bit tricky: we play it first in 7/4 with a 6/8 feel, then the dotted quarter note becomes a half note and the melody is then played as a up tempo swing. 

We also decided to play "Voyage", which is like the signature composition of Kenny Barron. I had not played that tune in a long time so I had to trust my memory. Needless to tell you that me, Peter and Rodrigo were a little stressed to be playing that tune with Kenny himself! Well, you know, that was that kind of a day!

We did a take or two of "Alligator Blues", a little slower than the previous day, I think it's a bit more groovy and in the pocket at that tempo.

We finished the day with some photos and a little hang while we were packing up. Rodrigo saved the day and did a great job, I'm happy he could make it!

The day before went much more smoothly! We arrived at 10am and Michael Brorby had the studio already good to go. I think we started recording at 10:50am with "Habanera" by my friend Javier Zalba from Cuba. On this song I feature Kenny and Peter. We then recorded "Plain Jane" by Sonny Rollins. I have to thank my friend Rob Duguay for introducing me to that tune that is now one of my favorite! A nice and funny, happy, swinging tune.
After that we did two takes of my composition "The 5 o'clock shadow", a rubato coltranish song, that goes into a latin feel vamp. It's fun to improvise on that vamp.

After lunch we recorded two compositions of mine, "Question Mark" and "Prelude", as a drum-less trio. We finished the day with "Duke Ellington's sound of love" and "On a slow boat to China" just Kenny Barron and I. I had a blast!

So I'm going to let it sit for the weekend as I am flying tomorrow morning to Florida meet my friends from Keilwerth Saxophones. Next week we will hopefully choose the takes and then start mixing.

Thank you to everyone involved in this, Kenny, Peter, Tommy, Rodrigo, Michael, my family, all my friends (even the one I still have to meet in person!) who have supported this project and pre ordered the album. One can still do that by the way, and receive for free the "Live In Paris, 2010" album!


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