Drew Zingg's Debut Album Project

Feb 1, 2013 9:00 AM, By Matt Gallagher



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photo of Drew Zingg

Drew Zingg

Guitarist Drew Zingg’s self-titled debut solo album is a revelation, and it was carefully designed to be one. It features the teamwork of Zingg with an elite rhythm section: Vinnie Colaiuta (drums), Will Lee (bass) and George Whitty (keyboards/arrangements). Together, and with guest vocalists and horn players, they blend seamlessly as a band to create 12 soulful and smoking tracks that span jazz, rock, funk, blues, pop and more.

For 30 years, Zingg has been known mainly within the circles of his notable employers (and dedicated fans who have seen him perform live), contributing to the music of artists such as Steely Dan, Michael McDonald, Boz Scaggs, Marcus Miller, Rickie Lee Jones, David Sanborn, Gladys Knight, Alana Davis, and Patti Austen.

Four years ago, Zingg had a conversation with a friend he’d known since their days at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., in the late 1970s, producer/engineer/composer George Walker Petit. “I said, ‘You’re one of the better guitar players I’ve ever heard. Why don’t you make a record?’” Petit recalls. “He said, ‘I wouldn’t know how to do that.’ I said, ‘I would, because I’ve either engineered or produced 100 records at this point.’ I was really motivated. I basically started this as a bit of a payback to Drew because he was such an influence on my music, and I figured he was one of these hitherto unknown, deserving artists who is a genius at what he does, and not enough people know about it.” To raise the needed funding, Petit first turned to mutual friends from Vassar. “Everyone signed on, from within a 5-minute conversation. So I formed an LLC, and we called ourselves the Infrangible Syndicate. We started fundraising all over the country.”

Zingg chose the musicians he wanted to record with, and Petit took on the roles of producer and engineer. Petit found a studio in Los Angeles via another friend from Vassar, producer/engineer Oliver Leiber (son of Jerry Leiber of Leiber & Stoller), who owns a private home studio, The Doguehouse. Petit booked four days at Leiber’s studio for tracking, assisted by Marc DeSisto and Mauricio Gargel. “We wanted pristine sounds, but we wanted it to sound natural,” Petit says. “The intention was to make the album sound like a bunch of friends in a great studio naturally playing together.”

“The entire thing was recorded in Pro Tools through [Leiber’s] Neve 8038 desk, or some API preamps,” Petit says. “The Doguehouse has one live room and two large iso booths. Vinnie’s drums [in the live room] were miked with Neumann, AKG, and Royer mics. I wanted a really acoustic drum sound—something that would breathe—so I also miked the room with a Neumann SM 2 [stereo mic]. I had two sets of overheads on the drums: a pair of Neumann K 84s, and I had a pair of beyer 160 ribbon mics. Depending on the song I would use this pair or that pair, or a combination of those. Will Lee’s Sadowsky bass went through an Ampeg SVT tube direct box. Will was also in the room performing with Drew and Vinnie, but of course he was going direct, so there were no issues there.

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