It will be a busy couple of months as we prepare to launch the release of my new recording “When I Was Long Ago” (Sunnyside Records) on August 31st, 2010. It’s a simple and elegant recording of standards that feature Larry Grenadier (Bass) and Bill McHenry (Saxophone). We made it live to two track with James Farber and Paul Antonell at the helm at the Clubhouse Recording Studio in Rhinebeck, NY.
I approached these songs as a songwriter, searching for the first vocal performances of each to assure that the melodies, lyrics and harmony were intact – and as close as possible to the author’s original intent. It’s an honor to sing a song that spans 75-plus years. Kind of an ancestral project in a sense. Setting out with this intention certainly brought new meaning to these old songs.
A concert to launch the album is being planned for 8/31 at the Rockwood Music Hall’s 2nd stage. It’s their concert ‘hall’. Our performance will begin at 8:00pm. I have decided to make the door charge a donation only, making it affordable for everyone who wishes to come. I’m happy to be able to offer this to my fans on this very special occasion.
Prior to the release, I’m traveling to the West Coast where I’ll be performing several concerts before launching the first songwriting program called ‘The Songwriter Track’ at the Stanford Jazz Workshop in Palo Alto, CA. Follow the links below for tickets or information to register for any of my classes.
– Rebecca Martin
Friday, July 30th, 2010
625 Sexton Road
Sebastopol, CA. 95472
For more information, contact Ernie at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Saturday, July 31st, 2010
Campbell Recital Hall
Featuring Rebecca w/Steve Cardenas (Guitar), Larry Goldings (Piano) and Larry Grenadier (Bass)
August 1st – 6th, 2010
Stanford Jazz Workshop
The Songwriter Track
Tuesday, August 31st, 2010
The Rockwood Music Hall (Stage 2)
RECORD RELEASE “When I Was Long Ago” (Sunnyside Records)
Featuring Rebecca, Larry Grenadier and Bill McHenry
Rebecca has been invited to join the crew at the Stanford Jazz Workshop this summer – where she will launch “The Songwriter Track’. This will make her the first singer/songwriter to be a part of their prestigious program.
“Singer-songwriter Rebecca Martin guides students through the often-personal process of writing your own songs in this two hour class, which will be offered twice daily for three days during Jazz Residency week. It is scheduled such that anybody can attend, and is open to all singers and instrumentalists, at all levels. Students will have a chance to workshop their original songs with Rebecca and other students, and will explore the inextricable link between lyrics, melody, and storytelling in an inviting, hands-on workshop environment. Participants are encouraged to bring original songs and lyrics, but even those who are new to the process of songwriting will find plenty of inspiration and direction. So whether you’re a beginning songwriter, or have specific material you’d like to develop, the Songwriter track will give you a better handle on songwriting structure and process.
Follow this LINK to learn more and to register.
It was determined before the session that all three musicians (voice, bass, and saxophone) would play in the Clubhouse’s main room, and that I would mix live to 2-track, with a multi-track backup. I also knew that I would record Rebecca’s voice with the RCA KU-3A ribbon microphone. This is the same mic used, with excellent results, to record Rebecca on her previous album, “The Growing Season”, which was also recorded at the Clubhouse in Rhinebeck, NY. The KU-3A, also sometimes referred to, because of it’s shape, as the “Shoe Mic”, is a rare and special ribbon microphone. Originally designed for film sound, the microphone, unlike other ribbon mics, employs a cardiod (unidirectional) pickup pattern and has an extended high frequency response, with a “silky” sound which produces none of the sibilance associated with condenser mics. At the risk of getting too geeky here in the first paragraph, if you’re interested, you can read more about (and look at) the KU-3A, HERE.
Since, amazingly, the Clubhouse actually has 2 [!] Shoe mics, I decided to use the other one for Bill’s saxophone. In keeping with the desired vintage sound, which seemed appropriate given the material, for Larry’s bass, I chose yet another ribbon mic: an AEA model designed along the lines of the classic RCA 44, but with much higher gain and, therefore, much quieter. I also set up 2 pairs of ambient room mics – one close and one far. However, since the Clubhouse room was quite live, only a minimal amount of these mics was used in the mix.
Prior to the actual session, I actually wondered if it might be possible to record the group with just these stereo pairs of room microphones. But, upon hearing the natural balance of the musicians in the room, it instantly became apparent that the voice was so much softer than the bass or saxophone, and that close miking would be necessary to achieve a musical balance.
The musicians set up in a semi-circle, as if on a stage, not too far apart from each other, with no baffles between them. When facing the band, from L>R were the voice, bass, saxophone. It was this stage image which is reflected in the mix. Mixing the voice to the Left, is highly unusual (if not daring), but seemed to work well in this context and (at least to us) did not seem strange, gimmicky, or distracting.
The Clubhouse room is quite live, so little reverb (an EMT plate) was needed in the mix. The bass had none, the saxophone a little bit, and the voice a little more. Because Rebecca’s voice was the softest element, and did not “excite” the room by leaking into the other mics, at the beginning of the session it seemed a bit close and dry in comparison to the bass and saxophone. Clubhouse owner/engineer Paul Antonell then suggested a solution to bring the voice “into the room”. He set up a live echo chamber in a tiled bathroom. I sent the voice into the chamber and miked it with, you guessed it, another ribbon mic, and added that back into the mix.
More info about the gear …
The centerpiece of the Clubhouse is it’s Neve 8058 Console, with it’s fabulous 31102 preamps. Minimal EQ was used only on the voice. The voice was also compressed with an LA-3, and an Alan Smart stereo compressor was used on the mix. Protools HD was used for the recording, clocked by an Apogee Big Ben. The ADC used for the original live mixes was the Universal Audio UA2192. The file format was 24 Bit – 88.2 KHz.
After the first 2 days of recording, upon listening to all the takes, Rebecca felt that she could improve her performance on some of the tunes, so she, Larry and Bill went back into to the Clubhouse for a 3rd day of recording with Paul engineering. Paul, fortunately, had documented my setup and came pretty close to replicating the sound of the original recording. I then returned to the Clubhouse and remixed Paul’s tracks so, what’s on the final album is a combination of my original live mixes and some remixes. Expert mastering engineer, Greg Calbi, applied the finishing touches as he brought the 2 sessions into the same world.
There you have it. Now enjoy the record of these songs you know (and some you might not).