We will be performing our hip-hop/funky/swing/salsa arrangements of video game music from all your favorite games with our mind blowing 14 piece band – Aug 23 in Brooklyn at club Sunnyvale 1031 Grand st. Brooklyn, NY!
Archive for the ‘Brass’ Category
The Sunshine Collective’s latest ralease “She’s up to something good” really brings out the sunshine. This is not your usual kid’s song is either a grown-up-song kids like, or a kids song that has grown up. Its superhero-y vibe is great and the arrangement using live brass and strings brings out the retro vibe in the song. Highly recommended! You can also see shots from our studio in the song!
Haven’t posted in a while, too many exciting musical projects. In this picture I am prepping to record the Trombone solo that can be heard on the song “Somewhere in America”. The final take was done on a rare 1960s conn 20H and dialed in with the (music genius and world’s foremost pop/loop/hiphop/younameit producer/engineer) Ken Lewis. The pBone sounded quite good. It excels in getting that “dry jazz” sound, and for the final result we wanted something more “meaty”. The 1951 Conn 20H is one of the last small (shall we say tiny) bore horns made before everyone made the final switch to the medium and large bore horns. The pBone which is made of 99% plastic has a surprisingly good sound!
Twerk, yeah, ugh-huh
Twerk, Miley, Miley, Miley
Only in America
A Merry Channuka to y’all!
Los Angeles-based SUNSHINE COLLECTIVE have just released their contribution to the sonic holiday landscape with a new song called “The City That Forgot to Snow.“ and is available on iTunes (get it here). It is a really lightweight bubbly and fun song full of many colors. I really hope people will like it. Multi-Talented songwriter Brian Arbuckle teamed up with wife Stephanie Richards to created a truly magical soundscape. We suppose to start recording but then hurricane Sandy hit. The next day Erin and I decided to go out and see first hand the effects. Although at the time most of the devastated areas were closed, we managed to reach Amity Harbor and see first hand the destruction. Here is a picture of what was left of a beach front house (click to enlarge):
Ron Bertolet recorded the saxes on Thursday night from 1 to 3 a.m. due to gasoline shortage at the time. At Brian’s request we also videoed the session, as he wanted to use it in the video. A few days later a huge Nor’easter struck and lemme tell ya, this city did remember to snow. Making the mandatory snowman with the kids, I had an inspirational moment. My son helped me drag the horns out into the snow, and we shot various snow videos to go along with the song, so check out the video!
Some of you who follow this blog may remember talented Singer/songwrited Laura Jeanne. Laura was discovered by Budweiser last year in the TV show The Big Time. A few weeks ago we started experimenting with an idea she had for a holiday song. Originally intended to voice strings and piano, as a small offering for fans, it matured into a full fledged single named “Bells Ring Out (At Christmas Time)” which is now available through iTunes (get it here). I created the midi track and then recorded live strings and horns. We refined the vocal tracks, and the final tracks and vocals were further mixed and mastered by Mark Bishop of Universal music, UK. I think we captured the song spirit, with transparent strings, and glowing colors complementing Laura’s incredible voice. Visit her fan page on facebook!
Skyping-in on the recording session. With a spot of tea., a photo by NewYorkBrass on Flickr.
Erin took this really snazzy (lets bring that word back) picture of Ron Bertolet blowing his selmer sax while Paul Bennet is sipping. Paul was the bassist of the 1970s English band MAZARIBA which disbanded in the late ’70s and has recently reunited and are working on releasing their reunion album. Although these days Paul lives on Long Island, NY, I hear drinking tea on whilst listening with studio headphones on Skype is a British passtime. Incidentally the saxophone is a rare “Low E” model alto which has a deeper tone due to it’s extra length. Most saxophones have two low note keys, this one has three.
There are so many occasions to show gratitude. And yet, there are millions of times when I do not express it enough. Thank you! Thank you all for a great year!
Thanks again to Jim Allchin Ron Abel Michael Amante Ruslan Agababayev Yitzy Bald Andreas Bärtels Amir Ben-Haim Johnny Berman Brenda Balasz-Beylek Amir Benhaim Dori Ben Ze’ev Ron Bertolet Yerachmiel Bigun Justin “Just Blaze” Smith Tal B.R. Yanki Briskman Yochi Briskman Suri Brody Walter & Blue tha Engineer at Brown Sugar Studios Jean Carter Teddy Charles Shlomi Cohen Shloime Saul Stern Dachs Dad Barry Dallman Nydia Davila Def Jam Phil DeGorter Don Downs David Eastman Yoni Eliav Nir Erez Marissa Famiglietti Mike Ficco & the Long Island Jazz Orchestra Freilach Orchestra Ian Freitor Avremi G. Jacob Garchik Linda Garrity Charlie Gordon Mark A. Gatz Brian Gelfand Gal Gershovsky Moshe Ginsberg Tony Gorruso Zino Groenewegen Cliff Haywood Mendy Hershkowitz Zuben Mehta & the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra Brian J. of the Pimps of Joytime Laura Jeanne Joseph Kaminski Kris Kasanova Terry Keevil Karen Kelly Charles Kiger Ron Ben-Haim Ray Kilday Israel Lamm Eli Laufer Moshe Laufer Gideon Levine Gabriella Lewis Ken Lewis Lex à Her Majesty’s Sound Kjetil Linnes Shahar Livne Steve Lynch The Maccabeats Maybach Music Bonnie McAlvin Stone McEwan Jeremy Miloszewicz Marco Meister Miami Boys Choir Mom Tony Eli Lishinsky Tony Montalbo Gershy Moskowitz Danielle Morandini Bizu Riki Mullu Avi Newmark Shai Nissenboim OdessMama Marco Panascia Yehoshua Pasternak Yehuda Piamente Michael Pruzansky Kenny Rampton Leib Reigler Mathias Roska Mona Rosenblum Rick Ross Dalit Segal Yosef Chaim Shwekey Lipa Schmeltzer Naftali Schnitzler Jerry Sokolov Soulfarm StadiumRed Studios Stewart Taylor Yosi Teaberg Dave Trigg Vignir Vigfusson Murry R.Kahn and the West Islip Symphony Wily Bo Walker Kanye West and Avrum Zamist!
From all of us here at New York Brass!
When I was a wee 5th grade human puppy, my then trombone teacher Shemi Peri invited all of the students to a master class with a dude that had the biggest trombone I had ever seen; It was a bass trombone. Up to that point in my training I had never seen anything so gigantically brass. The dude’s name was Eliezer (Eli) Aharoni and he was there to show the class the latest techniques in breathing and playing trombone. Aharoni had also written some trombone books which impressed all of us. This particular afternoon meeting and listening to Eli Aharoni was the first push towards trombone playing
Eli was the driving force behind the Israeli Trombone Association. Around 1983 he brought the then-presiding president of the International Trombone Association Dr. Erving L. Wagner to give us a master class at the Jerusalem Music Center. The day was the holiday of Purim which is sort of a Jewish Mardi-gras and my hair was colored blue. (I always wonder if Prof Wagner remembers a little boy with blue hair… ). The master class was the first place I ever heard professional trombone playing on the highest level live. What a glorious sound. I knew trombone was the way to go for me.
People were playing duets and asking questions and Professor Wagner was giving advice. Suddenly there was a sudden hush. Someone next to me whispered “Micha is going to play something”, I had no clue who he was talking about. A young 24-year-old giant muscular guy walked in carrying a colossal bass trombone, although in his hands the trombone looked small. Then he played. The sound that came out was the deepest fullest sound I ever heard sort of like a trobonephonium. And I can say that to this day – all over the world – I never heard such a sound. His name was Micha Davis, and in my opinion stands in the front row of bass trombone players in the universe.
Over the years I have played with Micha many times, and we pulled practical jokes and had lots of laughs. But putting aside the jokes and laughs, Micha inspired my playing and keeps on inspiring many others to this day. Eli and Micha’s influence shines on hundreds of talented trombone players and musicians who play in the best orchestras, bands and other music venues worldwide. I have been blessed by the opportunity to play with true giants. I have played and listened to countless trombone players since, some of the finest Orchestras in the world pass through New York, but the control and sound Micha produces is unique. When he plays Grofé’s Grand Canyon Suite the storm section gets a new dimension, the bass trombone gives an 18″ sub-woofer a run for it’s money.
In the video Micha Davis is playing Etude #24 from from Eli Aharoni’s (2009) book “The Non-Classic Bass Trombone” titled “A Weird Balad”. Most players feel like they need an oxygen scuba tank or a pressurized diving bell to get through this fun exercise. Micha plays it with his usual nonchalant demeanor.
P.S. I also dug up a picture of my cabin mates. I managed to stay in touch with a few over the years. Murry Dweck who sent me the picture is the guy in the blue sweatshirt trying to cover my face.
Grateful thanks to Diane Drexler and Taylor Hughey at the International Trombone Association Journal for allowing this group of goofballs to grace their pages!
Meet multi-instrumentalist, UK singer-songwriter Laura Jeanne.
I know what you’re thinking – she really looks like a young Tammy Wynette. And wouldn’t it be great if she had a voice to match? Well fear not music fans– she does, and New York Brass was the lucky crew tasked with brassing-up her debut single Coincidence.
Coincidence is unquestionably indie pop; A romanticized hat-tip to the likes of Tori Amos and Jewel. However, I think you’ll agree that Laura Jeanne offers something very different from the usual twee-below-the-knee aesthetic. Yes you say, different but how? Here at the Brass Works we’ve been scratching our heads trying to identify the ingredient responsible for renovating the indie pop sound she puts out there. This is what we came up with: Laura Jeanne is happy, and her happiness is the spark. Yes – Coincidence is free from the expected later day indie melancholia. And by melancholia, I am referring to the powerfully despondent debut song Shadowboxer from Fiona Apple, Smashing Pumpkin’s 1979 and Belle & Sebastian’s I Want the World to Stop. There are plenty of other examples, but you get the point. We bounced this idea over to her side of the pond and were pleased that she agreed.
As was the case with the brass on Coincidence, first-timer brass customers often amend their original request after hearing the majestic potential of brass loops placed into their mixes. “Wow really?” they’ll say; “You can crank those trombones even more, add some bass trumpet and maybe you know, like, light it on fire?”
Each brass draft on Coincidence generated a request for more layers and on top of that, even more. By the second week we had added a Chicago Hotdog’s worth of French horns, bass trumpet and trombone. Fun! But trying to make multiple brass audio layers work over Laura’s cool voice proved to be a problem. Too many tracks risked making it all sound overly coincidental. (Ha-ha. OK that’s twice.)
Her engineer’s superb final mix did tame these elephants allowing the song to shine. Hear those Kung-Fu grip diminished 7th tremolos at 01:17? Laura is channeling the Peter Buck/Michael Stype energy circa 1987′s The One I Love. Is it country or pop? Both? Or is it just a coincidence? (Three strikes! OK OK I’ll stop.)
- Director: Ben Simister
- Cameraman: Colin Nuttall
- Assistant: Julia Bobbin
- Editor: (BAFTA award winner) Stephen Moore
- Make-up Artist: Julie Kendrick
- Guitarist: Tom Moon
About the video, Laura explained “The director Ben & I came up with the idea together and we shot the ‘Coincidence’ video over 2 full days in central London, at The Cumberland Hotel (Marble Arch), The Hard Rock Cafe, and the famous Wellington Arch. We were able to film in a Cumberland Hotel Suite and also inside London’s Hard Rock Cafe, where I have done a couple of gigs. The whole thing was just incredible – a DIY dream come true.” If you like Coincidence and want to hear more from this admirable lady with the alabaster voice, the best and easiest thing you can do is to simply share this link with your friends and neighbors on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, whatever, and encourage more independent artists to get their stuff out there.
Ah… Those were the days… Roaming around on YouTube I found this clip, posted by saxmac. Tony Gorruso plays a mighty solo at the end. Tony is one of our lead players here at NewYorkBrass.com. You got to admit that he has nerves of steel to stand in front of Buddy, Phil Colins and such a crowd. Or perhaps it is the invincibility of young people… Anyway, Nostalgia!
I was enjoying it so much that here is another random one with Phil Colins.(Remember him? Sic transit gloria mundi…) Tony isn’t playing on this one. But the big band sound is great.
It’s like a 4 X 8 … but smaller.
Most people, including brass players use the words Sousaphone and Tuba interchangeably. But let’s face it, Sousaphones are just so – epic. They are so large that you have to stand and “wear” it while playing. The care and storage of a Sousaphone can be a challenge for the unprepared. My Sousaphone resides on an old store mannequin at home. This garden hose reel is also a quality choice for break time.
I drove three hours upstate to get my Sousaphone from an exasperated guy who didn’t want it in his garage. “Come up here as fast as possible” he said, “I can’t stand to look at it anymore and it takes up too much room.” When I got there the instrument was lying on its side in the driveway; the first valve had been wound with duct tape. It seemed that this poor guy probably enjoyed playing it at some point in his past. Anyway, I fixed that valve and re-welded a few other trouble spots.
All-in-all this SousaPalooza is holding up very well.
According to Mark Bixler of CNN it’s a historic day in Sudan as the north part of the country may choose to vote for its own independence. What better way to commemorate this potential birth of a new nation than with a trombone serenade. I like democracy. I like brass. This picture sums it up.
I’ve been under a gag order not to talk about this until the the all-clear signal for the official release date. This has not been an easy task. I’m a gregarous person by nature as it is, but not being able to tell people that I recorded something for Kanye West!
Whoops – cat’s out of the bag. But it’s OK.
Yes, the recording that Tony and I did back in May (featured in this blog post) was the brass for Kanye West’s “All of the Lights.” This track features Rihanna as well as cameos by John Legend, The-Dream, Fergie, Alicia Keys, Kid Cudi, Elton John (on piano), Ryan Leslie, Charlie Wilson, Tony Williams and La Roux singer Elly Jackson. That’s a whole lot of WOW.
Kanye’s official video can be seen here, and it looks awesome. However, I think this version sounds great too.
Here is Blue Tha Engineer with yours truely at Protools HD mixing board as we prepared the tracks:
This studio has one of the sweetest sounds I know, Walter invested many hours of thought in creating a very nartural sounding recording room. The vocal booth on the left allows to record a full rhythm section live, whilst (I always wanted to say whilst) maintaining full isolation of singer. The recording room has each wall coated with a different material. The effect makes the recorded results sound open and unforced, as if you are recording in a top of the line hall, such as Lincoln Center, but hey! This is a top of the line studio! As a matter of fact, we recorded some incredible tracks here for Willy Bo Walker‘s up and coming albom “Moon Over Indigo”. The studio always feels like home. As we were preparing the brass tracks, Walter was presiding over the drums, getting ready for next day’s session:
As I mentioned before the studio is located in midtown Manhattan, NY on 315 W. 39th st:
Here is a link Recent video of Brown Sugar Studion on MTV
I saw Rebirth Brass Band in Chicago recently (10/9/2010). What a night! RBB’s brass wailed with abandon within the framework of the Keith Frazier/ Derrick Tabb tight backline. Before tonight I’d never witnessed a New Orleans rhythm backline doing its thing at a club. Every single person in the place secured their own little bubble of space to stomp and dance.
Check out the rest of the photo set here.
A few months back I was complaining about the lack of women in brass. It’s true – most professional brass players are dudes. Since the birth of my daughter, I’ve begun to notice these things. This week however, I traveled to Buckinghamshire to work with blues musician Bo Walker on his latest project. The train ride was unseasonably warm, and I was hoping for something to distract me.
I know what you are thinking – the young woman in Exhibit A caught my eye. Sort of. Look at what she has parked at her feet. I suspected an alto horn case! Its not often you see people traveling with the lesser-played brass instruments (I bet you do not even know what a Alto horn is), and a female brass musician to boot. I am always asked if I my trombone is a bag of golf clubs…
Intrigued, I very politely (this being England) turned and asked her about it. Turns out her name is Wendy, and she was on the way to Chesham to visit family. (more…)