One Of Us: Rehearsals

Its now close to April and the recording session is looming close. Mind you, through most of this time, I’ve only heard snippets of some of the new music, let alone played it, so I am beginning to panic. With my usual crazy schedule at Cakewalk, I realize I need to spend more time getting into the music. I begin learning some of the new charts. I take a week off before the session so we can soak in the music and prepare for the recording. More than anyone else, I think I need that – this is hard music to play!

Ramona and I jam together and playing through the changes for the tunes. It’s kind of hard to visualize some of this music since there are so many things in the charts that we are not playing yet. She has the sound she wants in her head with all the instrumentation but all I have are cold Sibelius scores. 🙂

We finally leave for NYC on the 24th of April. We have two rehearsals booked with the entire band before the session. Minimal but that’s all we can get in with everyones schedules. The first rehearsal is in Adam’s living room at his Brooklyn apartment. Cool neighborhood 🙂 As we get out of the car, Ingrid arrives. Though we’ve spoken over the phone this is the first time we have met Adam and Ingrid in person. We hang out a few minutes and talk before we unpack and start. The first rehearsal is rough but fun – we basically run through the form for all 10 tunes. The musicians make annotations to their scores and Ramona makes edits where necessary. Some bugs from the Sibelius scores are exposed 🙂 Great to hear some that music played for the first time with all the instrumentation – a powerful experience!

We have some funny moments. While playing Resident Alien, I’m comping and I hear this really wierd pedal point against the chords I’m playing. Oh God – damn I’m lost in the form, I think, not surprising for me 🙂 So I stop and listen to the rest playing the head. Find my place again and start up once more – still wrong. Huh? Then I hear what’s wrong I think – the bass is playing different harmony. So I ask Johannes if he is on the right page of the song – he checks and says yes here’s what I have.. Doh, its not the same changes I have! Turns out Ramona printed out a Bb chart for Johannes – faithful musician that he is he played through it. Must have been thinking – Ramona writes some wierd shit but I’ll play it anyway! Hilarious 🙂 She hands him the right chart and we continue, albeit with a less dissonant sounding tune. It won’t sound the same anymore.

Those dudes learn fast – they aren’t where they’re at for nothing. I record the rehearsal and we take it back with us to check out later. We’re tired but spend the rest of evening making notes for the next rehearsal.

Next day, Saturday we’d booked a rehearsal place in downtown NYC for the second session. Turns out the space is run by an elderly couple right out of their apartment. They have all this vintage recording gear including a 2″ tape system and mixing console, right in their living room next to the dining table. The one big room in the apartment is the converted rehearsal space. The room is actually pretty cool – excellent acoustics and they have a baby grand piano, amps and drumset all set up with mic’s and monitors. Pretty slick for a couple in their 80’s to be running that, eh? Wild – thats NY for you 🙂

We run through all the tunes again. By now the others have the tunes in their head and are excited with the music. We blow some solos today. Ingrid sounds fantastic! Ramona makes some more tweaks to the charts. There are still rough spots but its looking much better today. Its a lot of music, but we’re flat out of time, so we are going to have to make it hang together in the session the next day. Feel the stress? 🙂

We head out with the band to grab some pizza, and driving to the Hampton Inn, that we’d booked for the duration of the recording.

One Of Us: The Recording Session →[next]

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