Learn How

We need your help in 2018

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz is looking for 1,000 backers to help fund our 2018 projects that directly support jazz. You can make this happen by purchasing ad space or by making a donation to our fund drive. In addition to completing every project (listed here), we'll also hide all Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!

5

Three Days At The Barber Shop, Part 1

David A. Orthmann By

Sign in to view read count
Rehearsal | Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

The Barber Shop Studios are located on the West Shore of Lake Hopatcong, a body of water spanning about four square miles, which makes it the largest freshwater body in New Jersey. The immediate neighborhood is a patchwork of bungalows, upscale homes, newly constructed townhouses, small businesses and restaurants. At one end of an extended parking lot lies a marina that is the home of several pleasure boats and offers a striking view of the lake's vast expanse. At the opposite end of the lot the Studios are housed in a converted four-story church overlooking River Styx Cove. The sight of the building, an amalgam of modern design and building materials that maintains the spiritual tenor of the site's original purpose, is as splendid as the natural wonder of the lake.

Inside the facility, a large space adjacent to the first floor stairwell is home to a virtual army of drums of all brands, shapes and sizes, each one silently waiting to be struck in the studios. Upstairs, Studio A is comprised of a live room, a control room, and a break room. The live room is where the musicians perform and record. It's at least a couple of stories high. A massive stained glass window sits near the top of the space's rear wall, offering a reminder of the sacred intent of the room's previous occupants. The live room includes a grand piano and a Hammond B-3 organ. An isolation booth is built into one side of the room. Equipped with thick glass doors in two places, the hallway leading from the control room to the live room doubles as another isolation booth.

A console that takes up nearly all of the room's width dominates the control room. Multiple speakers have been placed on the rim of the console adjacent to a window that allows a view of the live room. Larger speakers are built into the wall on either side of the window. Ergonomic chairs are placed next to the console. A comfortable leather sofa sits in the rear of the room. All manner of equipment and countertops crisscross the remainder of the area. The space is well organized and uncluttered. It's an ideal place for purposeful, time-sensitive work.

For the next three days, Studio A is the site of sessions for the second commercial recording by the fourteen-year-old keyboardist Leonieke Scheuble. Her father Nick, a drummer, composer, and bandleader, plans on showcasing Leonieke's talents in three formats—A piano trio, the trio with two separate vocalists, and a sextet that includes horns, guitar, and Leonieke playing the organ.

Upon arriving in Studio A on day one, I greet Nick, Leonieke, and bassist Tim Givens, a longtime associate of the drummer, who has often played with Leonieke and appeared on Debut, her first record. Nick introduces me to tenor saxophonist Andy Farber, another trusted colleague, and Jeremy Gillespie, the studio's engineer. Farber is producing the first day of the sessions, and has written arrangements for the sextet performing on the last day. While Nick sets up, Farber and Gillespie begin a discussion about how the drums will project in the live room. A proposed placement of the main drum mic inspires Farber's brief, informal seminar on the legendary Rudy Van Gelder's drum sound in his Hackensack and Englewood Cliffs recording studios. Perhaps, he says, returning to the topic at hand, one mic should pick up most of the kit, with a secondary mic employed for the snare drum. Before making a decision, Farber listens intently as Nick tests out each drum of the four-piece kit. He then wheels a large baffle between Nick's drums and Leonieke's piano, leaving just enough room so the two of them can make eye contact.

During the planning stages of the recording, Nick and Farber decided on a somewhat unusual strategy. By today's perfectionistic standards of sound quality and studio performance, the practice of recording all of the instruments in the same room at one time is an anachronism. Nick is looking for a warmer sound, not unlike many of the important jazz recordings of the 1950s and 60s, a sound that can't be attained by putting people in isolation booths with headsets, thereby minimizing real contact and genuine interaction between the musicians. However, recording with the musicians in one room necessitates complete takes of each song, and makes a cut and paste of different takes difficult, if not impossible. Only the selections with the vocalists will entail using an isolation booth—for the singer—and headsets for the instrumentalists in the live room.

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Three Days At The Barber Shop, Part 3 In the Studio Three Days At The Barber Shop, Part 3
by David A. Orthmann
Published: September 10, 2016
Read Three Days At The Barber Shop, Part 2 In the Studio Three Days At The Barber Shop, Part 2
by David A. Orthmann
Published: September 9, 2016
Read Three Days At The Barber Shop, Part 1 In the Studio Three Days At The Barber Shop, Part 1
by David A. Orthmann
Published: September 8, 2016
Read Leonieke Scheuble's Journey Into The Art Of Jazz In the Studio Leonieke Scheuble's Journey Into The Art Of Jazz
by David A. Orthmann
Published: July 27, 2016
Read Jazz on the Screen: A Jazz and Blues Filmography In the Studio Jazz on the Screen: A Jazz and Blues Filmography
by AAJ Staff
Published: August 25, 2014
Read "Meet Luis Torregrosa" Out and About: The Super Fans Meet Luis Torregrosa
by Tessa Souter and Andrea Wolper
Published: January 3, 2017
Read "Glen Campbell: 1936-2017" Profiles Glen Campbell: 1936-2017
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: August 13, 2017
Read "John Abercrombie Remembered" Profiles John Abercrombie Remembered
by Dave Allen
Published: November 4, 2017
Read "Babel Med Music 2017" Live Reviews Babel Med Music 2017
by Martin Longley
Published: April 12, 2017

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!