Roy Hargrove Big Band Records at Capitol Studios

Aug 25, 2009 12:58 PM


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CD cover icon for Roy Hargrove's 'Emergence'

Over how long a period of time were these sessions?
We did them in two afternoons. I think we did something like 18 songs in two days. Yeah, it was amazing.

And like you were saying, it was first takes most of the way.
Yeah, most of them were first takes. It was pretty rare that there was a take two. But the band was so tight, and we had a great time. It just sounded great, so when they came in and heard the first playback, everybody was happy and it just went from there.

Which microphones did you employ?
On the five saxophones I had Neumann U67s. On the four trombones I had Royer ribbon mics, and on the four trumpets I had U67s. And all of the 67s were in the omni position, so they were open all the way around. And then I had two room mics up: M149s that were open all the way, non-directional.

How about the rhythm section and the percussion?
On the bass I had two 149s and on the piano two M149s. On the guitar I had a Royer, and then on the drums I had a D-112 on the kick, I had a 57 under the snare, and on top of the snare I had a 452, and the mic under the snare was out of phase. I had a 452 on the hi-hat and two 452s on the overheads, and on the toms I had AKG 414s. On the vocal, on Roberta, I think I had my Brauner mic.

I imagine that afterward there wasn’t much of a need for editing.
We did very little editing at all. I think we overdubbed a vocal that Roy did, and then I think we did a couple of overdubs on vocals that Roberta did. We overdubbed the band—they sang on one song, and we overdubbed them.

How were the mixing sessions?
We did almost all the mixing in two days, because it was just laid out so well. And I actually mixed that in Studio A. I usually try to mix in Studio C but it was booked, so we had to do it in A, and we had somebody mix it in A on the same board we recorded it on. There wasn’t a lot to do. I don’t use an EQ on anything, so it was easy.

Do you have any other thoughts about this particular project?
Well, I hope it does well. There aren’t a lot of big band records that come out anymore. [The] Clayton-Hamilton [Jazz Orchestra], they usually have something that comes out. So I’m hoping it does really well. Since we did that, I’ve been [working] with the Barbra Streisand record that we finally finished, and it will be out at the end of September. So I’ve been spending a lot of time on that.

Are there any other interesting projects that you’ve done recently that you’d want to mention?
I did one with Willie Nelson that, as a matter of fact, should be out any minute now. It’s called American Classic, and we did American classic songs and ballads. It’s a great record, and I’m really excited about it. And then I mixed an album by [singer/songwriter] Melody Gardot [titled My One and Only Thrill]. I had a lot of fun doing that and she was really interesting. She’s quite a talented young lady. I’m getting ready to do something with Phil Ramone coming up in another two weeks, and then right after that I’m doing something with Paul Anka again, and a few other big names coming up near the end of the year. I’m going in tomorrow to mix Natalie Cole, some new Christmas songs that she just recorded.

As always, there are some big stars coming through Capitol Studios.
Yeah. That place is hopping all the time.

Visit Capitol Studios & Mastering at Click here to view Chris Schmitt’s photos of a Roy Hargrove Big Band session in Capitol Studio A. For more on Al Schmitt, read Maureen Droney’s Mix Masters interview.

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