Recording Session - May 12, 2000

In my last column, I said I would let you know how the recording went, so I guess I should do that. It went fabulously! I had scheduled three days for recording with the following plan:

Day 1
9:30 am-5 pm
Spend morning getting the sound for two guitars.
Record four guitar Conversations with Doug Smith.

Day 2
9:30 am-5 pm
Spend morning getting the sound for guitars and cello.
Record two guitar and cello piece with Doug Smith and Hamilton Cheifetz.
Record three pieces from the cello/guitar suite with Hamilton.

Day 3
10 am to 5 pm
Record the final three pieces with Hamilton.

Here is how it actually went:

Day 1
Within an hour, Bob Stark, our engineer got the sound we wanted. The balance was perfect, the guitars sounded clean and crystalline, and we were ready to go. Doug and I recorded several takes of Big Guy Strikes Again and Shimmering, felt happy with what we had, and broke for lunch. After lunch, we ran through several takes of Ancestors and The Great Escape, and we were out of there by 3:00.

Day 2
We worked on sound for two guitars and cello. Bob grappled with the problem of balancing the louder cello with the softer guitars, making the guitars heard while keeping the balance natural sounding. In the end, he succeeded beautifully. He told me later that he was going for a sound that was "pristine and fat." He nailed it! After our first take of the trio piece, Ancient Wonders, Hamilton told Bob that the cello sounded great. Bob said to Doug, "It's the good players that like the sound I get. The bad ones complain." After Ancient Wonders, we said goodbye to Doug. Then Hamilton and I proceeded to record three pieces, Mother Ocean, Father Sea, Majestic Elk, and Return of the Swallows that morning. We took an hour break, and while eating lunch, we agreed that we didn't want to push it, but there was a chance we could finish that afternoon. We came back to the studio and knocked down Alsea Bay, Dog Dance, and Home. We had recorded eleven tunes in two days, and we were in our cars by 3:30!

Day 3
I listened to tapes and had my tire repaired.

I spent two days with Bob Stark, editing and mixing, and except for minor adjustments of decibel levels and times between tunes, we were done. The cd along with the artwork is now at the manufacturing plant, and I anticipate a release in early April. 

I am happier with this recording than with any music I have produced to date. It is tremendously gratifying to hear my music come to life in the gifted hands of these wonderful musicians. Bob Stark did a great job of making every detail of our ensemble work clear, balanced, and beautiful. Doug's playing is clean, warm, sensitive, and refined. I love the way our two different sounds complement each other, and as always, his musical intuition is impeccable. As much as I have come to love Hamilton's playing, this recording was still a revelation to me. This was the first time I was able to hear his performance without having to concentrate on my own playing. I was overwhelmed by the degree to which he got inside the music and the mastery with which he expressed the power and beauty that he found there. I feel a tremendous amount of gratitude to these three people for honoring my music with so much skill and integrity.

It is much more fun to make babies than to change their diapers. I am currently in the diaper changing portion of the program. There are distributors to contact, advertising to do, and concerts to line up. Unfortunately, since I got home from recording, the composing spigot has been wide open, and I have been immersed in writing music for my next project. All the while, the new baby, Songs from the Bay, has been screaming at me, "Change me! Feed me! Promote me! Distribute me!" The baby is crying right now. I'd better go. 



Old School, by Paul Chasman and the "Great Gatleys"


Accompanied by Dan and Laurie Gatley on bass and vocals, Paul Chasman returns with 11 new original tunes that will make you laugh, make you cry, and make you think. With his trademark sparkling guitar at the forefront, Paul’s poetic lyrics contrast life and mortality; grief and celebration; and light that penetrates the dark.