Friday, July 29, 2011

Who's Your Mack Daddy

So, after countless sessions and missed sessions, hours of listening and tweaking, wrestling with a live performance, finding and stomping on bugs, trying to edit but being unable because of the close set-up inperformance, EQ-ing, you name it, we encounteredit, we are through mixing "The Re-(w)rite Of Spring". Could we spend more time? Sure. Would that make a difference? Certainly. Would it make it better. Maybe, maybe not. But for now, we have put a fork in the mixing.

Much, much credit and many, many thanks need to be given to Mack McLaughlin for his dedication to this project. He engineered the live show. He recorded the live show and did all the mixing hinself. Sure I was there most of the time and I had input. The kind an arranger might have. Like "I need a little more of that third voice in the chord. Boost that clarinet and muted trumpet just a bit". But it was really Mack's incredible ears and knowledge that made this recording come together. How loud should the solo be? How bright should this be? How much should the rhythm section be "present" in this tune? All those things Mack knew and handled with ease.

I've known Mack for a good while now. We put in a lot of miles together travelling all over the country in a van while serving in the Army and performing with the Army Jazz Ambassadors. Well, I was performing with them. Mack was mostly unnoticed. And that's a good thing, because he was running sound. If you notice the sound man it's probably because he's not doing a very good job. And people very seldom noticed Mack. And Mack has been at this a long,long time. Check out his Facebook page and see the pictures of him travelling and playing with the family band when he was a kid. He was gigging by age 6 or 7. Some of those home converted vans/tour buses and ancient pa/mixing equipment shots will really give you a chuckle. But man, he knows what he's doing. And he knows what to listen for in the process. Something I gained just a little insight into during the many hours in the studio.

For those that think mixing is easy, think otherwise. Heck, just listen to all the really bad home projects being put out these days by people who buy Cubase and a few mics and think they now know how to operate a studio. They record poorly. They mix poorly. They EQ poorly. (And it's usually bad music to start with.)There is a whole lot of crap out there. My project will not be one of those.

Also, a few more performances are in the making. It looks like The Bohemian Caverns Jazz Orchestra will be performing it at the Intersections Festival in DC in the early part of next year. And their is a chance The US Marine Band (The President's Own) may do it as well.

So, for now we are on to mastering. On Sunday, July 31 at 3:00 we will beging the process. The amazing Bill Wolfe in Arlington, VA will be doing that. So in a little more than 72 hours we will have a final project. Then it will be on to finding a label. Perhaps ARC with my friend Chris Burnett in Kansas City. Or perhaps someone else. Who knows. I'll certainly keep everyone up to date on that.

And who's your Mack Daddy? Why, Mack McLaughlin, of course.

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