I should have written about this a week ago, but something excellent has occurred – one of my bands, Bird. Fly. Yellow., went into the studio and recorded an album! What a thing! We went into The Bunker Studio in Brooklyn on October 6 at 11:00 a.m. Ten hours later, we had 41 minutes of hot jazz on our hands.
For those who don’t know, Bird. Fly. Yellow. is a quartet that consists of Dan Blacksberg, trombone; Dave Flaherty, drums; Bridget Kearney, bass; and me on the trumpet.
It was probably the most successful recording session I’ve had (I’ve had not many, but meh). The first time the band had recorded it was a bit of a failure. We got together in February and attempted a session in the basement of Dave’s apartment. It just didn’t work – Dan was sick with the cold, my face decided not to work properly that day, and the band was having an off day overall.
A combination of factors contributed to a successful session last week: 1. A comfortable studio environment, fostered in no small part by our engineer, Aaron Nevezie; 2. the fact that we had to pay for the studio time (the “this better be good” factor); and 3. being well prepared for the session.
We preceded the session with two gigs – one in Philadelphia, and one in Brooklyn. We played mostly the same material for both gigs, but the performances were surprisingly different. The first, in Philly, was loud, loose, fast, and wonderful. The second was more reserved and “straight-ahead” – good, but a bit rigid. We decided that we needed to loosen up more for the session – play more freely than the night before in Brooklyn, but not as aggressively as our night in Philly.
We definitely loosened up. It was a wild and wooly session – perhaps at times bordering on outrageous, but overall the music was very fun, inspired, and actually quite embraceable. We played with the right amount of slipperiness, which I’m particularly happy about.
Probably the most important decision we made was to play the session in a series of “live sets.” It was agreed upon that we should not go back to re-record songs until each set was completed. It worked. It took us almost one whole set to get settled into the studio atmosphere. By the second set, we felt very comfortable, more like a live band. We did a total of three sets, plus some extra takes of a couple songs.
I am excited to put this music out for public consumption. It might take a while, but we’ll see if we can get it released on a small label. I will let you know if and when this happens!