In the laboratory composing
So I’m in the laboratory composing music and putting the finishing touches on the material we’re about to record with Peter Erskine and Alan Pasqua for the new album this week in Los Angeles. It’s really interesting to try and paint a musical picture ahead of time and almost anticipate a few things that might happen so I can tailor the arrangements and parts of certain songs to the players.
One of the things I’ve always believed in is writing for specific musicians, and that in turn leads to calling musicians to play your music that have a voice unique enough to write for. Peter and Alan are no exception to that, and I’m get more and more excited by the day as I dream up ideas for grooves and chord sequences for these melodies. Having those two guys at my disposal for a couple of days to produce music with is quite an honor, and I plan to make the most of it.
We’re just tracking rhythm section tracks this week, so I also have to keep in mind all the melodicists, soloists, vocalists, and other special guests I’m going to add to the record over the next few months. But this part of the process is so much fun, laying down a foundation for the album. I’m also aware that no matter how hard I plan each detail out for the sessions over the next few months, I have to be open to change, and to be open to spontaneity as these musicians are going to surprise me every minute of each session I’m sure.
I think that the main focus behind this particular blog post, and of the process of recording the new album, is to search for something new no mater what it is you do. And to try and surround yourself with people that are as open to change and possibility too. There’s nothing like the feeling of putting an idea out there, taking that risk of failing, and then being rewarded with a win. You, of course, have to put out many failures to find the wins, but I think unless you learn to lose you can’t learn to win. That’s something that’s been repeated a lot in the commentary during the Olympics this month, and something repeated constantly by the winning athletes. They have face many losses in their careers, but at the end of the day it just showed them their flaws, what they needed to work on, and ultimately how to win.
I think the olympics can be used as a good role model too when it comes to recording as a leader. You may work in the studio all the time on other people’s music as a sideman, but I would say I track about once every year to 18 months as a leader. Not that dissimilar to an athlete who has many competitions throughout the regular yearly season, but only goes to the olympics once every four years. Along the way teaching themselves how to peak at the right time to achieve the desired result.
Being prepared for a recording session as a band leader is something that takes a long time to get right, and something that can always be improved upon. I’m having a blast working on this new music, I can’t wait to send it out there into the world, and hopefully get another “win” in the recording column as a band leader and make people’s lives a little better for hearing it.
The story begins… or rather continues!
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