2015 was just a crazy year with both production and construction. I would never have survived it without the tireless help of the entire team here at DRR&P.
We started the year with a full load of productions; Sea Lion High, the new sea lion and otter show for Sea World; new Junior musical versions of Peter Pan (the 1954 musical), Honk, Dear Edwina and Anything Goes; and a new full length musical (and Jr. version) based on the animated film Madagascar! In here somewhere I also managed to mix the score for a video game; more when that’s public.
From April to November 2015, we made it through a massive expansion of our studio building, adding a big, new orchestra recording space to studio A and an entire new studio suite, Studio D (complete with another lounge, shop, and two more bathrooms), to our facility. Read the rest of this entry »
A few months back, we built four U-87 clone microphones here at the studio. They’ve since been in regular use in many of the roles an 87 might play in a busy studio; string section, saxes and other winds, lead and group vocals, guitars and amps, and they are fantastic. They have all the depth, tone, accuracy (and inaccuracy) and proximity effect signature of microphones that cost at least 6 times as much.
Since so many people have been asking for details on the build, my friend and colleague Daniel Noga, who headed the whole mic build project, did this great write up on the entire process from ordering parts to listening to the final build. Read the rest of this entry »
Thought I’d share this fan video of the Christmas parade I just did in September. Though it’s hard to discern the individual float audio, you can get a rough idea of how complicated the audio production for a parade can be. There are looped sections for marches, and each float has it’s own unique overlay music and voice playback that has to be perfectly synched to the underlaying music playing through speaker systems along the parade route.
Caution: the first section loops until around 5:09… this may cause you agony, so feel free to skip ahead!
I just finished another two projects for Tokyo Disneyland. It’s always great to work with the creative teams form Tokyo and Orlando, and this was no different. The first project is a Big Band Christmas show composed and orchestrated by Greg Smith, the second a Christmas parade composed by Tom Rau and orchestrated by Joe Alfuso. Both were overseen by Disney Entertainment producer Rick Mizell show director Takuji Higashiyama and music director Kuniyoshi Takeda.
We recorded the orchestra at Seattle’s Studio X, a nice room with a good collection of gear and an even better collection of staff. I had the pleasure of working with Anthony DiLorenzo, a brilliant trumpet player that I happened to have gone to high school with (and hadn’t seen since; it’s a small world after all), and the guy sitting next to him was no slouch either… the venerable Allen Vizzutti.
Then back to the studios at Disney world in Orlando for vocals and mix. A lot of work but also a lot of fun.
Back home I got word that Ricardo Arjona’s latest album, Viaje, has been certified Gold and has a Latin Grammy nomination for Best Singer-Songwriter Album.
At last I can share the latest video game release I worked on, Namco’s Gundam Wing: Blue Destiny, the newest side story remake in the Mobile Suit game set for PS3. The Gundams are mechanized battle suits (much as seen in Pacific Rim) which, along with their pilots, were made popular in Japanese comics, video and games. As you can imagine, there can be some pretty intense battles… I’d want to blow stuff up if I had a suit like that.
I mixed the score which includes some new orchestrations of the original themes as well as all new material all done by New York based composer/ orchestrator Zac Zinger (www.zaczingermusic.com). While most of the score is synthesrated (created with sampled orchestral instruments and sections,) Zac played all the winds live and added some live violin passes for enhanced phrasing. As the score is mostly battle music, the game directors wanted lots of percussion, lots of brass and lots of punch. The result is huge.
Below is the trailer for the game which, while it’s occasionally buried a bit beneath the sound design, features one of the cues from the new score. And while I’m working steadily on my japanese (having just completed my fourth show for Tokyo Disneyland), I have little idea what they are saying!
It is with great pleasure that I share the release of a new big-band jazz album from composer/arranger Chris McDonald. The album, which I co-produced and engineered, features a burning hot ensemble of many of my friends and colleagues and was just a blast to create.
I recorded the album at my studio, The Tracking Room, and Ocean Way Nashville and mixing was done at my studio (that console re-furb was money well spent!!) Noteworthy mics for the sessions were the c-12’s and U47’s on the saxes (I like the bite they deliver without too much harshness) and the fantastic AEA stereo Ribbon on the brass room. I captured the string section in OceanWay A with a decca tree of M-49’s and U67 spots.
Jazz Times has said No Pews Required is “some of the most powerful and exhilarating big-band music you’re likely to hear anywhere… and the emphasis is first, last and always on jazz.”
Here’s the EPK video from the sessions
You can hear a couple of the tracks on my work page, and you can buy No Pews Required by The Chris McDonald Jazz Orchestra here, or on iTunes and Amazon.com