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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Playing in a duo with a vocalist

I've been in my studio mixing and preparing a session for mastering tomorrow. We are going to be using a new method for mastering which is called Separation Mastering. Instead of mastering the 2-mix or final stereo mix we are separating tracks into stems. We will have a stem  mix for drums, bass, vocals and all other instruments including background vocals. We will also have a stereo mix of my final mix which we will reference as we are mastering the stems we have created. Looking forward to it. I've never prepared a session for this kind of mastering and it's very time consuming as you have to basically bounce or make a print track for every stem group (4) in real time plus the final mix track. If the song is 5mins you will have to spend 25 minutes making these tracks. Oh well, it gives me a chance to update my blog!

I work with lots of vocalists and have had the chance to work with some really great ones. One thing that has helped my guitar playing is working as a duo with a vocalist. Having to cover bass lines as well as harmony and rhythmic shots can be very challenging but has really taught me a lot about bass function. I listened to bass players like Paul Chambers, Ray Brown, Ron Carter etc. to try to get a better grip on what they are doing. It not only helped my guitar playing in these sort of naked, exposed playing situations but also my composing.

Here is a video of me playing in a duo format with Vincent Wolfe on a television show from about seven years ago. The song is the jazz standard "Indian Summer".

I've been listening to the Keith Jarrett Trio "At The Blue Note" in New York CDs recorded in 2000. They recorded six sets of music on this box set and it's amazing. The usual trio mates Jack DeJohnette and Gary Peacock and they sound inspired and inventive as always. I listened to disc three and four. Standards like "How Deep is The Ocean", "Autumn Leaves", "Things Ain't The Way They Used To Be" and "When I Fall In Love" etc.

I also listened to:

Vocalist Nancy Wilson's "But Beautiful" from 1969 featuring Hank Jones on piano, Ron Carter on bass, Grady Tate on drums and Gene Bertoncini on guitar. Nice record.

Guitarist Peter Bernstein's 1995 recording "Signs of Life" with Brad Mehldau om piano, Christian McBride on bass and Gregory Hutchinson on drums. I really like Peter Bernstein's playing. He's a younger guy with a modern sensibility but embraces an older guitar sound and style.

Joni Mitchell - "Shine" (2007) featuring ex-husband Larry Klein on bass, Greg Leisz on pedal steel, Brian Blade on drums, Bob Sheppard on tenor and soprano sax, Paulinho Da Costa on percussion and
James Taylor on accostic guitar on "Shine". Beautifully composed and recorded album. I love Joni Mitchell. Makes me proud to be a Canadian!

Mark Knopfler / Emmylou Harris - "All The Road Running" (2006). Great recording featuring ex-Dire Straits guitarist, composer and singer Mark Knopfler and country songstress Emmylou Harris. I love Knopfler's guitar playing singing and writing. Very talented guy and his solo career has been fruitful to say the least. He seems to put out a record every year and a half. His solo recordings are fantastic, filled with rich storied lyrics, great guitar playing and well crafted tunes with a strong country/folk influence. I've always been a fan of Emmylou Harris.

That's all for now. Back to Pro Tools for me.

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