July 22, 2008
Sometimes things just come at you from out of the blue. In my former life as an engineer at Denver’s awesome jazz station KUVO, I worked on a ton of jazz, and had the pleasure of doing remotes for National Public Radio’s Jazz Set from time to time.
So I was a little surprised when I got the call to head to Glenwood Springs to record New Orleans trumpeter Marlon Jordon and his quartet. I hadn’t done a show for Jazz Set in a few years, but was excited for the opportunity.
The gig was at Glenwood’s Summer of Jazz festival, an outdoor festival that’s been running since 1985. The artists that come through the festival each year are amazing. They get a lot of top-shelf talent.
So, we packed up the truck with some good mics, tasty preamps and an Alesis HD-24 and headed up. I was worried about weather and wind, so we brought lots of windscreens. Fortunately we had the most idyllic weather imaginable with no problems.
Here you can see my truck driving up on the grass (careful to avoid the underground sprinkler system!) to load in on the stage.
We were lucky with the setup. Originally I figured we’d park my truck behind the stage and setup the gear on the tailgate. Power wasn’t a problem as they had tons of unused 50-amp circuits, but the tailgate of a Toyota isn’t the best control room ever. Instead, the folks at the festival cleared out a dressing room with stage access for us. It was perfect and easy to run to the stage to move mics.
We setup the 3 mic setup on drums, using AKG C451′s on overheads and a Schoeps omni on the beater-side of the kick. Upright bass in a live setting is impossible, but we got good results with the DI and a Neumann KM184 blended together. Piano was covered by the usual suspects: Microtech-Geffel M300′s, and the trumpet was covered by a Neumann U87.
We brought along some tasty preamps to bring the sonics up a notch. We used a LaChapelle 583 on the trumpet (which, with the U87, was AWESOME), A-Designs P-1′s on the two bass tracks, and and a True Precision 8 for the drums, piano and audience mics.
The setup sounded awesome. The live sound guys were great and kept the monitors sounding good and not too loud. The stage is just enclosed enough that we got some reflections (and not that overly dry, thin sound you sometimes get recording outside) which kept it live, but very tight and dry. The live mixes came out great and the band was excited listening back afterwards. A super successful show. It will likely be aired this fall on stations nationwide. - Justin