I just finished writing a piece featuring John Jensen on trombone. There is a very personal side to writing for the trombone. More than most instruments, I find myself writing for the person as much as the instrument. In orchestral trombone writing I generally stay in the traditional register for tenor trombone. I rarely go past a G above the staff and I only go there at a fortissimo volume. In writing jazz/ big band style solos, I really have to think of the player. In John’s case, he plays a smaller more agile horn than most orchestral guys ( He has that equipment for orchestral gigs) and his sweet spot is entirely above the staff. in this case I put his “money note” at the C an octave above middle C. He will nail that. A different player might look at that and shudder. Hopefully we will get to record this sometime this year. But I am getting ahead of myself. We haven’t even rehearsed it yet.
It has finally happened. Chaise Lounge has taken a giant leap ( well not so giant for us- we already live in 1962) into the past and put out Insomnia on vinyl!
It is just as exciting as I thought it would be having boxes and boxes of heavy records— yes records!– shipped here. One of my first stops with the record was to deliver one to Greg Lukens, one of our mastering engineers along with Bill Wolf. During all the oohs and ahhs of our conversation I asked Greg the dumb question that everyone asks about vinyl vs. Cds. Why do they sound so different? Notice that I didn’t say “better”. They are just decidedly “different”. Here is what I came out with: CDs have true stereo. The right and left channels are completely discrete. With vinyl there is no true stereo on a stereo record. The left channel is actually cut with the lathe as “left minus right” and the right channel is cut as “left plus right”. If you take the old panning knob on your antique stereo amplifier and turn it all the way to the right or left you will hear that there is still a weird ghost of the other channel playing, no matter how completely you try and hear only one side. This is what that “different” sound is all about. You feel like you are listening more into the center of the sound. Does that make sense? There is a heavy nuclear mass that feels more solid and more focused. At this point my technical knowledge of this process comes to a grinding halt. All I know is this is why you need to have old-school dudes in your corner when it comes to submitting a master for vinyl.
I don’t think we can go back now. All our CDs from now on will have a vinyl companion release.
Had a great session with Marilyn last night. For those looking ahead… past the brand new Insomnia CD. The next one- whatever it is – is going to be great.
We recorded the vocals to Dot Dot Dot last night and it sounds terrific.
I am curious to know what venues people think we should be looking for in Georgia and South Carolina? Someday I would like to play The Fox Theater in Atlanta
But that is well beyond us right now.
I admit it freely, I am oriented to a larger city. Washington DC suits me. And every time I find myself in a small town or a rural area I suffer from a weird claustrophobia. ( this might be agoraphobia??) One would think that I would embrace the wide open spaces, but it is just the opposite with me. I fear the wide open spaces and mostly long for the crush of houses, people and stuff that I am used to. The ride from Milwaukee to Stevens Point was everything I get nervous about… nothing.. Lots and lots of nothing. A three hour drive through nothing. I know that farmers and hunters and outdoorsmen would see it differently. But to me it is just a vast stretch of vaguely threatening nothing; a place where, if your car broke down you could hope for….nothing. But on we pressed until we came to the near- nothingness of Plover, Wisconsin, where our hotel was. Luckily the hard part of our trip was over and the delightful part ahead.
The concert was a gem. The hospitality shown to us throughout our trip was amazing. The CWSO played beautifully. Pat Miles, the maestro, was a solid rock of a conductor, melding the loose ends of a jazz band with the strictures of an orchestra seamlessly. The audience was one of the most appreciative we have ever had. The after-party on Sunday was a warm embrace of food and bright conversation. Now that I know what lies just beyond the nothingness between Milwaukee’s General Mitchell Airport and Stevens Point- I can hardly wait to go back.