Monday, August 4, 2008



This session stands out as being the most relaxing and enjoyable session I have ever done. To be fair, the fact that I have known these guys since before we were ten years of age may have had something to do with it. What really made it special though was that this was a non-commercial venture, and we were all there by choice to enjoy (and record) some Free Jazz.

This is a genre that for many is an acquired taste, but as performed by this quartet I found it very tasty. Fred and Sean Anderson, identical twin brothers are the core of this group playing drums and woodwinds respectively. Fred played Leopard's house drum kit, a vintage be-bop style set, which I mic'd in a traditionally minimal fashion with two Neumann TLM-103's for overheads; one placed in front of the kit and facing down at the snare, the other placed above the floor tom, but equi-distant from the snare. I also placed an Oktava 219 condenser on the snare and I used my vintage AKG D12 in front of the kick. All the drum mics went through API 312 preamps. I compressed the kick and snare slightly with Empirical Labs Distressors.

Sean plays both alto and tenor sax, clarinet, flute and an assortment of exotic instruments. For his saxophones I brought out my Altec 639B "Birdcage" ribbon microphone, and for the clarinet I set up a Neumann KM-183. Trumpet player Lex Samu played in front of a Sennheiser MD421, and rounding out the bottom end was Chris Lough on upright and electric bass. I used a Shure SM7 microphone for both his upright bass and for the studio's Ampeg B-15 bass amp, and I also took a DI. The bass mic ran through Leopard's Avalon VT737.
Having had the previous weekend in the studio to set up and test mics, preamps and settings, I was ready for the group to pretty much just walk in and play. They seemed relatively unaware that a recording was even being made, with only Chris monitoring through headphones to better hear his acoustic bass. The vibe was very chill and the music was very intense! For more on this unique group visit