I realized I hadn’t posted anything since the recording of the live album at the Rudyard Kipling a few weeks ago, so this is a bit of an update on what’s happening with all of that. I also wanted to talk a little bit about the other musicians that I somehow managed to convince to play the music and play it so well.
First, The Update
The show went really well. If you were there, or watched the show on the stream, thank you so much! I’m overflowing with gratitude! There was a great turnout and a great response from the crowd. I was told by the manager of the Rud that the night of the show was the busiest night in months, so thank you all who came out! Originally, I had only planned to release the album digitally, but I have had a swarm of people asking about physical CDs. So due to popular demand, the new plan is to make a super limited run of 100 discs once everything is mixed down. I will still be releasing it for digital download as well. That part of the plan hasn’t changed. I’m pumped about getting this music to you soon!
Right now, we’ve got final mixes on about 25% of the album. After the show, some of the band went to get some food and we listened to the unmixed audio, and that got me really excited. We hadn’t planned on it, but Brandon and I stayed up and mixed until about 5 or 5:30 in the morning. I was incredibly excited, I was like giddy little girl. By the time we had the rough mixes done, I was too tired to drive myself home, so I just crashed on Brandon’s couch. We’ve done some more mixing since then and I’m really happy with what we have so far.
Also, I asked a good friend of mine, Craig Tweddell to take some photos of the show and they turned out great. All of the photos in this post come from him. I’ll be using some of them for the album artwork for sure. I also asked him to film just one song so I could post it up on YouTube as a kind of promotion for the album. He ended up filming four songs, and they all look fantastic, so the plan is to release those videos synched with the recorded audio, so watch this space for more details. Craig is available as a photographer and he’s now branching out into the world of video, so if you’re in the Louisville area and need high-quality photos or video done, Craig is the man to talk to. He also plays the s**t out of some trumpet.
I couldn’t have done any of this if it weren’t for the musicians that I am lucky enough to know. So for those of you who don’t know them, here is the personnel on the album (in non-alphabetical order)
Bruno “Gafanhoto” Souza
I first met Bruno in the Louisville airport when he came to America to live. I had never seen him or spoken to him before, but I was tasked with finding this dude. All I knew about him was that his name was Bruno and he was Brazilian, so I tried to find the most Brazilian looking man in the airport. It wasn’t very hard. Bruno stayed in the same house that I was living for a little over a week until he and another Brazilian drummer, named Lourenço found an apartment. Bruno and I have played a lot of music together in the year since I met him and I have always had a fantastic time playing with him. He’s always listening to everything going on around him and always seems to play the perfect groove for the situation. He’s also a great songwriter. Check this out to hear some of his writing. He is meu irmão de outra mãe. (Not sure on the translation of that, but I’m sticking with it!)
Brandon is incredible! There is no better way to say it. He would never admit to being as accomplished as he is, but not only is he a great guitar player, but he plays piano like it’s nobody’s business, is a prolific composer, graphic designer, audio engineer, producer and to top it all off, he is one of the nicest dudes you could ever hope to meet. I saw him play before I actually met him. We both used to go a jam session at a restaurant called Mozz, which has since shut down. The first time I saw him play, he was playing with Ansyn Banks, who I’ll be talking about soon. The first time I played with Brandon was the first time I also played with Bruno. I felt an instant musical chemistry playing in a rhythm section with those two dudes, and since then we have played a LOT of music together. Brandon and Bruno are one of the main inspirations for me wanting to record a live album. I love these guys like brothers!
The first time I met Diego, he was visiting Louisville from West Virginia, where he was about to finish his undergraduate degree. He sat in on a rehearsal where the combo I was in, was tackling Miguel Zenon’s arrangement of Stevie Wonder’s ‘Superstition’. We had been trying to play it for a few weeks and it was sounding a lot better than when we had started playing it. Diego hadn’t seen the 10 or so rehearsals we had gone through to get the chart sounding half-decent (definitely not fully-decent by that point), so when he sat in and played this really difficult chart, I think he must’ve thought we were much more proficient than we actually were. In reality, we had just worked really hard. Diego did a lot better on his first read through than I did on mine, but you won’t hear him saying that. He moved to Louisville this August and he’s been teaching me Portuguese ever since, although mostly at my request, so most of the things I know aren’t ‘family friendly’, but I think they’re hilarious!
I can’t remember exactly the first time I met Samir, but it would have been around August or September of 2010, and he probably had his car-shaped backpack on. The first time that we really spent some time together was about a year later. We were both assigned as teaching assistants in the same class: Intro To Improvisation, which was a jazz class for non-music majors. The three things that impress me most about Samir is how hard he works, (He is always working on something, and is intensely focused when he does) how hungry and curious he is for knowledge, (He’s always asking questions and striving for deeper understanding) and his sound when he plays. He has the perfect sound for the kind of stuff I wanted to do on the album. He always sounds great and has a wonderful spirit when he plays, even when his saxophone starts breaking when he’s playing. (This actually happened at the show and Craig caught it on video, so watch this space…)
Out of everyone on the album, I met Ansyn first, and of all places, it was in Rockhampton, Australia. Ansyn was there because the University of Louisville and Central Queensland University (where I was studying at the time) had an exchange agreement and Ansyn was in Australia to promote the exchange program at CQU’s International Fair. At the time, I had been lucky enough to be approved to go on exchange to UofL, so meeting one of the UofL faculty in Australia was a welcome, if not surreal, experience. Later, we discovered a mutual love of Bundaberg Ginger Beer, which Ansyn had for the first time while visiting Rockhampton. Ansyn has to be one of the most rhythmically solid horn players I’ve ever played with. You can’t fault Ansyn on his time or groove and it’s always a pleasure to play with him.
I love playing music with singers, and it’s something I have done less of in the last couple of years than I would have liked, but I feel like Carly Johnson has helped make up for it. Carly is one of my favourite singers, not only because she sounds great, but she knows exactly what she’s doing. She is a real musician who just happens to be a singer. I first saw her sing at the Mozz jam session (I think…) that she and Ansyn set up in the Summer of 2011 and she blew me away. Then, I saw her sing with Liberation Prophecy (who have a new single out right now, you should check it out here) and that further blew my mind. I’m guilty of occasionally not paying attention to lyrics, but Carly is the kind of singer who demands that you listen to the story she’s telling. I don’t mean she’s forcing anything upon you but there is something about her delivery that makes you pay attention.
I could go on for a lot longer talking about all of these people, but I don’t want to take up any more of your time. Watch this space for more updates. Perhaps some videos are in the works?
Thanks for reading!