The album “Kids Today And Their Loud Jazz Music” was my very first album. To write about it, I’ll have to touch briefly on some of the hurdles that had to be overcome and then onto the heroically talented musicians whom I was able to wrangle together.
It took me five years to make it. Most of that time, I was homeless and maintaining a minimum wage job, first to afford a macbook (the old white one) and I used to sit in “Audrey’s Cafe” for about nine hours a day, making the pre-productions (mapping out all the parts for the instruments, learning Logic Pro and just starting to learn about recording/mixing/mastering). Audrey’s Cafe has closed down since then unfortunately, but they were cool… I would buy a bagel for breakfast, a coffee for lunch and soup for dinner and they never hassled me to leave. Sitting in that cafe, I had actually composed everything down to fills and solos and programmed every instrument in midi format to give the musicians which I was hoping to recruit, along with charts.
In music school I had sought out the very best musicians in the student body, often times better than myself in some respects. However, because I was in school, I wrote music which was to act as a self-teaching mechanism. The goal was to compose without restraint and to try to exercise a vision regardless of how hard it would be to achieve; then over the coarse of time, work to attain the skill sets necessary to perform/record this music. It was extremely difficult to hold a group together this way… the music was written to challenge, but sometimes people were too hard on themselves about not being able to demonstrate a particular technique or skill right away and no amount of encouragement or free pizza would persuade them to stick with it; sometimes people would no-show for a rehearsal, without a word, then the following day say it was because they wanted to go to bed early or because they wanted to go to the gym instead – I was going to have to change my approach.
One of my favorite drummers in high school and forever after, Marco Minnemann, was the first guy on my list to hit up about recording for the album. I had actually written parts with him in mind and got in touch with him, we talked for a few weeks about it and I sent him the preproduction, etc. He was on a world tour, more or less, with breaks between (and this guy is ALWAYS working, by the way… he even composes for his own incredible albums from hotel-rooms when on the road). He said he would put my material into his practice routine and then later, sometime between China and Canada he had a two week break… how’d he spend it? Tracking drums for my CD. He’s a great guy and a true master. He mentioned briefly that at some point in his musical life he had taken the same approach, composing parts away from his instrument which he new later would be tremendously challenging to learn… and learned them to attain a new, higher personal standard.
Ric Fierabracci, the incredible bassist who played on this record, was the next person I reached out to. He had done clinics and guest recordings in the studio of the school I was attending, The Musicians Institute in Hollywood. The head of the recording department recommended that I check him out, but of course I had already known of his work with Frank Gambale, Dave Weckle, Bill Evans, Brett Garsed, etc. Similarly to Marco, he had a pretty solid itinerary but was interested in recording for the project and still found the time to learn the material, to record and even sent various takes… all of which were awesome!
Next it came time to track my own parts… but first I had to work out some arrangements regarding gear and an artist deal was made with these brilliant, world class craftsmen (Michael Spalt of Spalt Instruments and Moss Hudson of Brown Note Amplifiers). Then finally I recorded guitar at the house of a great friend and mentor over the course of a few weeks while he was on tour.
Lastly, Laura Vall, the wonderfully talented vocalist and artist of the band “The Controversy”, agreed to sing for the record! She was very easy going, yet professional, pleasant to work with and someone I am glad to have gotten to know. We recorded in her personal studio and she was patient with me as I asked her to sing weird, experimental or seemingly outlandish things… also, she knows several languages, so I asked her if any were obscure and if she would mind translating the lyrics of one of the songs to that language. Those are the kind of creative changes one can make while working with other people and that was fun. I highly recommend that anyone reading this now checks out her other stuff as well – she is quite the talent.