Its been a while since I’ve last posted. In this time I’ve been busy. Went to New York in September 2013, did 20 xmas gigs in December, recorded an album in a day in January and have now started back the new year teaching, oh and got back into fixed gear cycling (the true bicycle).
As the new year rolled around I kept practicing as usual. I remember in my early 20’s I would look forward to holidays so I could practice more and sometime I did sometimes I didn’t. I have no regrets for not practicing harder as I lived my life to the fullest that I could with the funds I had.
Now in my late, late 30’s I just practice consistently. My routine changes from time time, I keep searching for something new to practice and when I find it I practice it until I know then look for something new again.
I decided after getting back from NYC in September that I should record a new album.I had a few questions to ask myself. What songs to record? Who to record with? Where to record? How much will it cost? and after answering all those questions, why do I want to record and what I’m I going to do with and where am I going to sell it.
The one thing I wanted to do was to be myself. I don’t want to chase what is fashionable in present jazz. I need to present what it is I like. I ended up writing a bunch of tunes over standards (contrafact is the technical work) and playing them. I wanted to go for a bop/post bop thing influnced by Clifford Brown, Lee Morgan, Louis Smith, Blue Mitchell. Now it was on to, who to record with and where.
I’m fortunate that I have some great peers that I can talk to and trust their judgement. Deep down I wanted to record with the best people I could possibly record with. The best people aren’t always the best players but more often than not you find the best players are actually the best people. So I called up a few guys and asked if they were keen. I hadn’t met a couple of them and had only played with 2 of the 5 people I was to record with. I was really excited by this as I felt this was a great way to record. It’s old skool but that’s good.
Booked the recommended studio and turned up and recorded. We recorded from 11am to 4pm and got 22 tracks down of 13 songs, no rehearsals. Didn’t listen to anything back in the studio, just kept recording.
The producer the record was Ben Hauptmann, jazz Australian icon, winner of numerous awards and one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet. Ben, took the recordings after the session and sent them to me 2 weeks later. It was the best thing, as the next day and a few days later I kept thinking about the little mistakes I made. I really had no idea what it sounded like, what I sounded like, what the overall sound was like, was it as swinging as it felt on the day?
Once I heard it back, I was pleasantly surprised. It’s not the greatest thing you’ll ever hear but for me it’s good representation of me and where I’m at currently. You can hear the joy and honesty of what we did. It’s not an over produced, clean, cold recorded that sound perfect and it’s not supposed to be.
Now that I’ve been through that process and recorded with some Australia’s finest musicians (Graeme Norris, John Harkins, Brendan Clarke, Andrew Dickeson and Paula Girvan) I feel more liberated in my own capabilities.
I would like to record again each year and use it as documentation for my own progress.
If you are interested in hearing my recording, I will have copies available but will also make it available through this (my) website.