Wintertime Blues

The weather had been mild the last few days and the snow has melted again. Good thing too, I’ve had as much as I can take.

My mixes are coming along for the new Buzzy Tonic record. I applied the same set of FX Jay put on the first song to the rest. This is mostly EQ and compression on the individual tracks. The most noticeable thing is the kick and snare drums are much clearer, and sound louder, and the bass and cymbals too. The kick went from a thwomp to a thud and the snare has a nice bright snap. Everything is much clearer and in it’s own zone across the spectrum. After that I needed to dial all the balances again. Some things were too loud and all the subtle blends needed to be recreated. Now that’s taken care of and things are sounding really good. Of course I’ve yet to hook up my new studio monitors, so that’ll be the acid test. Hopefully I’ll have Jay come in for one more session and we’ll finish the record.

Meanwhile the jazz group has a date set for our recording session, the 28th. I’m glad now we didn’t record last December cuz the songs are that much better. Looser and tighter. We’re thinking we can record a whole album if all goes smoothly and our energy holds up. Else we’ll just go until we run out of time and get as much as we can. We have three more rehearsals to go. This last weekend I sat down and wrote out the scales to the changes in Gary’s tunes. The set list looks like this.

1. Buzzy Blue (John) – a bossa blues with cool changes on the turnaround, Miles meets Jobim. Nice and easy, a good warmup.

2. Samba Astor (Gary) – Spanish guitar with a Chick Corea vibe. Lotsa chords, not in an easy sax key.

3. King’s Hex (John) – crazy uptempo jazz waltz with a free modal solo section, channeling Coltrane. Tracks 2 and 3 are the complicated ones that we anticipate might take a couple tries to nail.

4. Slope (Jay) – very bluesy ballad, partly in 5/4, with the melody on the bass.

5. D-Bop (Gary) – cool and clever uptempo number with a 3/4 interlude.

6. Dark Skies (John) – minor jazz ballad. Great changes if I say so myself. Needs a better title. The image I have is of a pre- or post-thunderstorm moment when the sun is breaking thru the clouds or covering up. The juxtaposition, the light behind the dark, or inside the dark. I was thinking of Burnished Skies but don’t know if that has a ring to it.

7. Atonement Blues (John) – a joyous and laid back gospel blues, Branford vibe. It’s not strictly a blues because the chords are all dominant 7th chords and it actually hits all twelve of them once each chorus, like a tone row for chords.

8. Have You Met Miss Jones? (Rogers/Hart) – a standard; the bridge is probably the inspiration for Giant Steps.

Leave a Reply