Posts Tagged ‘newyorkbrass’

New ZEDD ft Selena Gomez “I Want You To Know” remix

Thursday, May 7th, 2015

SelenaZedd

We created a really really cool new remix of Selena Gomez’s “I Want You To Know” (did I say really really Cool)
with a live brass band replacing the electronic backing.
Its six trombones, two bass trombones, eight trumpets, four cornets, four euphoniums, three tubas, two bass trumpets, four french horns, live snares, bass drums and cymbals.
I know there are other remixes out there, but I hope this one stands out, as I tried to give it a completely fresh angle. I think Selena’s voice meshes with the brass so nicely. Maybe we can do an original take of a new song one day!

LISTEN TO IT HERE

ENJOY!

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

Two new holiday singles and a hurricane

Wednesday, December 12th, 2012

A Merry Channuka to y’all!

 

 

 Laura Jeanne The Bells Ring Out

 

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):

Amity Harbor after Superstorm Sandy

 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!

 

LJ JumpsSome 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!

 

 

 

The Critical Mass of Yes

Tuesday, February 7th, 2012

You know how some days are loaded with sequences of interesting events where each one is seemingly set up by the action of a previous one? Once in a blue moon I’ll experience a fully loaded day where unexpected things feel so hyper-precise and arithmetical that sitting quietly the pleasant exhaustion, I feel like I should be able to quantify the chain of events as something – something end-user and macro algorithmic. Thursday was one of those days.

After work we decided to try a cozy, dark little vegetarian restaurant in the East Village charmingly named Caravan of Dreams. Erin had covered 5th and 6th streets on foot while doing some street photography earlier and knew how to get there. I didn’t realize that Caravan was a vegan restaurant until we arrived, which worked out in my favor because

A.) Vegan is not a usual food-thing I would choose

B.) The food was delicious. Really.

I wish I could remember what we ordered – something with citrus, basil and fennel, and something with avocado, olives, mango and pine nuts. Whatever – it was all very good. I would not have said yes to this place had I known it was vegan.

June 15th, 1904

Caravan of Dreams

Anyway, we nearly missed our reservation time at Caravan of Dreams due to the discovery of (yet another) New York historical marker. This one concerned the 1904 fire on the passenger steamboat General Slocum which killed 1,021 congregants of a lower east side Lutheran church. The recent Costa Concordia disaster came to mind while reading how Slocum’s captain mishandled an already atrocious situation. There’s no need to ask why the remaining congregants chose to move their church uptown. Grateful for my life after reading about the Slocum, we headed to dinner and I savored every morsel and counted my blessings – twice.

What Cheer? Brigade at the Balkan Zlatne Uste Golden FestivalOn the way back we took a look at the former church building and discovered that it was now a local synagogue. There was a small flyer taped to the side door announcing an Avram Pengas concert that evening; the same Avram Pengas I had a chance to perform with at last month’s Zlatne Uste Golden Festival.   Back in January my friend Gal called me late in the afternoon asking if I’d like to sit in with Avram & The Noga Group.

Playing with Avram Pengas & the Noga Group © oresti tsonopoulos / flickr

This was an invite just for fun – not a paid gig. For that reason I could have declined, but instead I said yes and wound up having a spectacular time. Again, here was another chance to say yes and head inside to the concert. I’m certain our vegan meal was a contributing reason why our energy level was way above average at this time of night.  We stepped inside the former-church/present temple. Gal was crisp on the drums and halfway through the concert Pengas called me up from the audience to play. This was wonderful honor! It gave me a chance to make up for the fact that I had wandered in past the doorman without paying admission. Since my trombone wasn’t handy I did my super-nerdy-yet-killer Zamfir thing. I am a master of the Flam-flute. Find out if you must, by clicking here.

Here are some pictures from the event, enjoy!

 Bouzouki virtuoso Avram Pengas with guitarist Nick MandoukasThis is what I do when my trombone isn't handyMust remind the management to invest in a few mic standsAvaram's Bouzouki is al dente!Nick, Gal, Avram, Kol and SteveBouzouki virtuoso Avram Pengas

 

Tal Herzberg, farewell friend!

Friday, April 8th, 2011

Tal Herzberg & Ms. Gaga – one of the many notables he produced

Goodbye Friend!

It is a sad day for music. It is a sad day for me. Tal Herzberg was a producer, engineer, programmer, bass player, Grammy-nominee and also my friend. A very short time ago, Tal was discovered to have cancer – liver cancer most likely.

We played together in the Israeli Air Force Orchestra during our compulsory national service. Tal was a bassist and sat to my left. We once assembled on the tarmac to play welcoming music for visiting dignitaries, and I remember the sun glinting off of Tal’s head in the afternoon heat. Yeah, even as a 19-year old he had the tough Bruce Willis bald look going on.  Active duty in the military is no picnic, even for the lucky ones like us who were assigned to band duty.  Tal was referred to as “the union boss” during those years because he looked out for our welfare; he wasn’t afraid to approach our crazy C.O. to advocate for our dignity and the other essentials – such as more water.

He told the funniest, dirtiest jokes too, and in general he kept our spirits up during the toughest times.

Tal emigrated to the US in 1992 and he loved his life in Los Angeles.  Before taking the plung into engineering and producing some of today’s top artists, he was full-time employee of  a company called Waves, and worked hard demoing their audio products throughout the industry. I’m kind of in a fog right now. We spoke less than two weeks ago, and I keep asking myself: “Are you sure he’s dead? Maybe this is a hoax.” Many people spend their lives running after the material world, Tal dedicated himself to music. Moments like these, put life in perspective – His life has been cut short,  but his achievements are more than many people dream of. His death is not only a personal loss, it is a tragic loss to his close family, and it is a loss to the music world.

It is ironic and sad to note that on this very day, here in the U.S.A, the national cancer research budget has been greatly reduced. I’m making a donation to cancer research in Tal’s name and I encourage everybodoy to give what they can.

ת.נ.צ.ב.ה

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:

Tony Gorruso with Buddy Rich

Sunday, February 6th, 2011

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.

What’s a 2 X 4?

Monday, January 17th, 2011

What's a 2 X 4?

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.

Pipes

"Off Duty"

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.


Whadya know! Album of the year, no less!

Sunday, January 16th, 2011

Best album of 2010

According to the December issue “Rolling Stones Magazine” we are playing on the best album of 2010!

Album of the year

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

Teenage Fanclub Part Deux

Wednesday, October 13th, 2010

Last weekend we ran into band-members Teenage Fanclub at a rest stops in Northwest Ohio (near Sandusky) on our trek from Erie, Pennsylvania to Chicago.

You are here. Here you are.

You are here. Here you are.

Tour Wheels

The band is on a  North American tour making their way from gig to gig in a cool black Sprinter Minibus.

The quintet is from Glasgow, Scotland. (Glaswegian?) We were fourth in line behind them at a truck stop Starbucks  and the surly barista was having A LOT of trouble understanding their brogue.  Things snowballed into comedy when Norman (vocals, guitar) pointed to an unclaimed cup on the counter and asked if that was the Cappuccino he had ordered. Exasperated and not understanding one word, the barista shot back with a mouthful of Clevelandeeze “CappuCHEE-Noe is cawfee and steeeeemed milk and NOTHING on top.”

Obviously used to this kind of communication breakdown, the guys just smiled and nodded graciously. We struck up a conversation with them at the milk and sugar DIY counter. Their manager (who looked just like the actor David Tennant) invited us to either of their two Chicago shows. LA-indie rockmates Radar Brothers were to open for them. Unexpected live indie music on a Tuesday night?  You bet.

Teenage Fanclub

Not surprisingly, Teenage Fanclub’s latest album Shadows was sold out by the time we found the sales table at Lincoln Hall. Amazon.com should be delivering the goods shortly.

Here are some pictures from their incredible 10/5/2010 show. (more…)

Teenage Fanclub

Tuesday, October 5th, 2010

Driving west on I90 on the way to Chicago, we bumped into members of the band Teenage Fanclub at a rest stop in Amherst. I went to the travel plaza’s gadget store to buy an FM transmitter and returned to find Erin waiting in line with the band at Starbucks, where the barista was telling them loudly “Cappuccino is cawfee and steeeeemed milk and NOTHING on top.”
They’re performing at Chicago’s Lincoln Hall the next two nights – we’re definitely going!

Next year remember to bring noise cancelling headphones, sunblock and trombone

Sunday, June 6th, 2010

 

AZ308437

Amped for my first Indianapolis 500.

Sure I like the song Back Home Again in Indiana but I’d love to do a full brass rendition of Mission Impossible during the final fifty laps. Maybe next year …