Posts Tagged ‘video’

A Weird Ballad

Thursday, January 12th, 2012

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.

The bassest bone

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.

Something new at the indie potluck – Laura Jeanne

Tuesday, June 14th, 2011

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.

 

Not Laura

Laura

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.

"Yes! Music makes me happy and I am a happy person generally.”

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?

Is this loud enough?

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.