Today, as I was recording and editing drums for “Gruss Loops Volume II”, I thought about how much more interesting it would be (for both me and my subscribers) to collaborate with another artist during the creation process. Scrolling through the massive Rolodex of musicians in my head, one name immediately jumped out as the perfect partner in crime: Bob Reynolds.
Bob is one of my best friends and one of the greatest saxophonists (and composers) I’ve ever had the pleasure to play with. Based in Los Angeles, Bob is an accomplished musician who keeps a busy schedule in both the jazz and pop worlds. He recently finished up a two year long world tour with another one of my old friends, John Mayer, and has also performed and/or recorded with Nellie McKay, Brian Blade, Tom Harrell and a host of others.
Bob and I spoke on the phone for almost an hour, brainstorming of all the possible ways we could collaborate in a method which would be intriguing to subscribers as well as push our personal creative boundaries. After some deep thought and a heated game of rock-paper-scissors (I don’t advise trying to play this over the phone), here’s what we ultimately decided to do:
A few weeks ago Matt Fordham suggested that I check out the Daniel Lanois documentary, “Here Is What Is“. I added the movie to my Netflix queue and last night I finally had the opportunity to watch it.
It’s a wonderfully crafted film which provides great insight into Lanois’ distinct style of producing, writing and performing music. There are some great scenes where Lanois discusses the creative process with his longtime collaborator, Brian Eno, as well as some amazing footage of Brian Blade and Garth Hudson laying down tracks in the studio.
The highlight of the movie (for me) was watching Lanois sit at the console and “perform” a mix of one of his songs. I say perform because he treats the mixing board as an instrument. Lanois slides the faders with the same sensitivity and musicality that he uses when playing the pedal steel and guitar. It’s truly an inspiring moment in the film and it definitely made an impression on my approach to mixing.
If you’re in the mood to be inspired and want to get inside the mind of one of the greatest producers in the world, then I highly recommend you go out and buy/rent/download this movie.
Brian Blade shows us how to play over a vamp.