Posts Tagged ‘Live Brass’

This brass is up to something good!

Saturday, September 19th, 2015

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!

The Making of Jay Z’s “Somewhere in America”

Monday, July 22nd, 2013

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

The Future is Now with Teddy Charles

Sunday, March 20th, 2011

Vibraphone Grandmaster Teddy Charles has been in retirement from jazz recording and performance for more years than he was active. Even so, he remains one of the very best vibraphonists in the world. I have to suppose this is the essence of what it means means to be a legend, and also what it means to be very old which Teddy is at age 86.

But let me back up  and explain how I came to meet Teddy Charles. For musician this is hard to admit – I knew very little about Mr. Charles or jazz itself until late last summer.

To be honest I did not know who Teddy Charles was until Steve Witthoft, happened to invite me to a Wednesday night jam at Teddy’s house. I met Steve while playing in a local big band. He is an excellent trombone player and more about him in a future post. If it weren’t for his invitation, I would still be “jazz ignorant” about Teddy.

When I mentioned the name to Bo he flipped out. Turns out Bo heard about Teddy and was a great fan.

The real inspiration for YDKWLI happened when my two sons and I were over at Teddy’s house helping him archive his life’s work.

We cleaned the piano!!

A job well done!

The Strut, by Benny Golson
The original music for The Strut, by composer and saxophonist Benny Golson, who is a year younger than Teddy. The number eventually debuted as “Strut Time” on the 1958 album The Other Side of Benny Golson.

“Unburying the piano” would be another accurate way to describe that afternoon. Anyway, at some point the four of us came upon an unmarked cardboard box. Inside? Pure treasure.

1955 Screen Blues

Original folio for 1955 Screen Blues

Now some words about seeing the music in the box, and how holding the original paper and seeing the pencil marks brought you closer to feeling. Closer to understanding the nature of Jazz. You passed your inspiration on in a follow-up phone call to Bo

Jazz Hall of fame vibraphonist Teddy Charles played with Charlie Parker 60 years ago. He wrote the arrangement to Miles Davis’s “Nature Boy”, and the list of people he recorded with sounds like a “who’s-who” of Jazz and Blues hall of fame. Coltrane, Mingus, Roach, Cannonball Adderly… drop a name any name…  In 1964 he played with Aretha Franklin on “Unforgettable: A Tribute to Dinah Washington”, that is close to 50 years ago!  His biggest album was going to be “Russia Goes Jazz (Teddy Charles)“, United Artists UAL 3365. He hired the best of the best musicians of the time for this project: Zoot Sims, Pepper Adams, Eric Dolphy, Hall Overton to name a few. Alas, in an a unfortunate turn of events an unknown group released its debut album the same day he released this album. Under the same label, no less. Their name? “The beatles” (!)

For many years he was first on call for playing the vibes here in New York. This fell out of favor when synthesizers went big during the late 70’s and early 80’s. He was also busy sailing his historic scooner, the “Mary E”  – a 75 foot authentic clipper built in 1906. In 2008 he began a come-back with help from many friends and colleagues  including Chris Byars and many others. Apparently he outlived all the people he thought would go before him, such as his manager and many of his friends. I suspect that it is his sense of humor that keeps him going strong at 83 years old.

I have been playing and learning a heck of a lot from him for a while now. While producing “You don’t know what love is” for English blues phenomenon Wily Bo Walker and his quintet, I thought that it would be an opportunity for Teddy to shine again with the magic touch of a true vibraphone master. These with fake B3, fake pianos, fake brass, fake strings, and fake slide whistles, I thought it could really be great if we used a real vibraphone.  Bo was excited to play with a true giant, and this turned out as a huge success! As of now (3/2/2011),  The track, is now topping the US, UK and Global Jazz download charts on MySpace.com.

For nostalgia’s sake, here is Teddy playing the vibes with Aretha Franklin’s 1964 recording of “Unforgettable”. The song was recorded as part of her tribute to Diana Washington. After the release of this tribute album, Columbia drifted away from their early jazz dreams for Aretha:

Do Whatcha Wanna – Rebirth Brass Band at Martyrs’ in Chicago

Friday, October 29th, 2010

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.

Slide walking

Slide Walking

Undeniably danceable gumbo

Undeniably danceable!

Turning ears and shaking hips wherever they perform

Turning ears and shaking hips wherever they perform

C-town Stomp Down

C-town Stomp Down

Who doesn't love a stage full of horns?

Who doesn't love a stage full of horns?


Do Whatcha Wanna

Meeting bass drummer Keith Frazier after the show

Bread-n-Butter

Monday, April 26th, 2010

When I’m not brassing things up at NewYorkBrass.com, fixing computers or inventing new microphones, every now and then I like to do this too.

New Business Cards Have Arrived!

Friday, April 16th, 2010

Just a quick post to say that our new business card arrived.  :)

When I started the design, I knew I wanted something that I could give out containing all the contact information people need, but I also wanted it to complement the website theme. Version #1 had emails and telephones. Version #2 had also “NewYorkBrass.com brass, strings, woodwinds, rhythm sections and kichen sinks”

Then it hit me, and this is what I came up with:

Business_Card3

Simple! It allows our musicians to give out the cards and write on the back their personal or other information.

Ring ring … Hello? Pomegranate?

Thursday, March 18th, 2010

We had a great time back in December recording the brass used in the commercial for the Brooklyn-based supermarket chain Pomegranate. (See below). Notable composer Yossi Green authored the basic track, Eli Lishinsky (platinum producer – Mary J Blige) arranged it in MIDI, and then it was shipped to Yours Truly at Newyorkbrass.com for final brass arrangement before laying down the vocals.

You know how you catch yourself humming and/or outright singing jingles and songs from TV and radio as you go about your day? This is something I do all the time,  usually with client songs :) … and yesterday I realized that the Pomegranate jingle has been the looping in my head for the past few months…

Here’s the portion without the vocals that I’ve been humming to myself:

Pomegranate NewYorkBrass Ringtone.mp3

(more…)

Sir Paul McCartney and Tony Gorruso

Sunday, February 14th, 2010

Tony Gorruso and Sir Paul McCartny

Hey I think this is a cool pic! Tony Gorruso was recording for James McCartney’s upcoming CD.  Sir Paul was there assisting/co producing the production. The session was at the famous Avatar Studios at 441 W. 53rd Street in Manhattan and Rick Depofi did the horn arrangements. 

 At the intermission Tony asked if he could have his picture taken. He was lucky – seems Sir Paul tries to avoid taking pictures with the comoners. :) Now I need a picture like that too.

http://www.avatarstudios.net/