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The Chris McDonald Jazz Orchestra

The Chris McDonald Jazz Orchestra

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

No Pews Required - Cover

A treasured RCA 77 DX

There are so many wonderfully documented mic shoot-outs, comparisons and evaluations (some of which are exhaustive) that it would seem that everything that can be said, has. But recently, after modding one of my pairs of ribbon mics ( I put Lundahl transformers into one of my pairs of Cascade Fat-Head mics), I was setting up for a comparison test between the un-modded and modded mics when I decided to add another 4 different ribbon mics and place them all in front of a guitar amp. Some of the results were just as expected, but a few were surprising, even after using some of these mics for decades, and I felt that this was too fun not to share.

The contestants:

note – Because I was using electric guitar for the test, I left a few of my favorite ribbons out, like Read the rest of this entry »

A Show at the Shamu Stadium, Sea World San Diego

We recently completed work on a new Shamu show for SeaWorld San Diego, Shamu’s Christmas, opening this November for the holiday season. DRR&P worked directly with the creative team at SW San Diego and composed, arranged and produced all the music for this production.

The show features Orcas (of course), live male and female host/singers and a live sax player. As the directors wanted a spectacular show that featured exciting animal choreography yet still retained a warm holiday and family spirit, we felt it called for a score that combined both classic orchestral moments as well as driving percussive, rock and pop elements. Read the rest of this entry »

Pro Tools HD I/O converters in recording studio

New Pro Tools HD I/O converters

Doing the right thing is rarely easy. But,”Am I doing the right thing?”… this was the question that plagued me as I broke the seal on my new Pro Tools HDX card. But let me back up a bit.

I’ve been running a Mac Pro 8 core with a PT HD3 system (48 ins 40 outs) since 2008 and it was a beast of a system. I do mostly audio production (most all of it being done at 96k,) but also do a fair amount of programming and composing so I run Vienna Ensemble Pro with a bunch of high quality (resource hogging) virtual instruments. The 8 core, running PT 8.1 on OS 10.6.8, did a great job keeping up, so I put off upgrading to PT10 as long as I felt I could.

Dan Rudin's Pro Tools HD3 system

Old Pro Tools HD3 system with 192 I/O’s and 8 core Mac Pro

Pro Tools 10 is sexy. I’ve been using it in other studios for quite a while now and while it didn’t blow me away running on an HD system, it is near unstoppable on a good HDX rig. Tracking an orchestra at Ocean Way Nashville recently, Read the rest of this entry »

Here’s a fan video of the new show, “Mickey and Company,” in the Diamond Horseshoe Theatre at Tokyo Disneyland that I recorded and mixed back in January. It’s always fun to see how everything works together in the final production. We recorded all of the music here in Nashville, background vocals and mixing in the Disney production studios in Orlando.

Dan Rudin marking a score

Producer, engineer Dan Rudin make notes in the score while tracking a recording session

Over the years, I’ve printed a few audio recording, midi and music business tutorials and “how to’s” that have received much positive response from readers. The other day I was having a difficult time locating one of the older posts for myself, so I decided to put together a short list of links to the favorites.

Thanks to those who’ve taken the time to email and continue discussions on these topics.

Midi and Tempo Mapping:

– Midi: Four Letter Word or Composer’s Best Friend?
– Are You Leading or Following
Read the rest of this entry »

James Febris tracking in Nashville

How do you cut tight, rocking tracks with great tones? Simple… have KILLER players.

To record a few more tracks for Ecuadoran singer James Febris’ debut album, I returned to The Tracking Room studio with producer Rodolfo Castillo, executive producer Jaime Araque, Arranger/Contractor Chris McDonald and an amazing bunch of musicians. Read the rest of this entry »

Nashville, TN

Well, I’ve now lived in Nashville for almost 24 years, and it’s no secret that I’ve enjoyed watching the city grow up (as I hope I have), and that I really love being a part of a music community unlike any other. Recently, as a city, Nashville seems to be receiving some surprising, if well deserved, attention that I thought I’d share.

On January 1st this year, luxury travel guide Conde Nast Traveller Magazine, published their list of Top Ten Places To Go in 2013. Read the rest of this entry »

The Diamond Horseshoe creative team


2013 started off with three non-stop weeks of show production and recording – five different shows! I’ll try to re-capture some of the fun for you.

I recorded and mixed a score for Disney Land Tokyo’s Diamond Horseshoe Dinner Theatre. A Vaudeville show with a western flavor, composer/arranger Greg Smith wrote for a 10 piece band contracted by accordionist Jeff Taylor (The Time Jumpers, Elvis Costello) that featured a “western swing-horn band” with some killer players like guitarist Bryan Sutton, trombonist Barry Green and fiddler Matt Combs.

After recording the orchestra at The Tracking Room Studio, I mixed the project Read the rest of this entry »

The spectacle of the 2012 Latin Grammy Awards

The 13th Latin Grammy Awards were held in Las Vegas last week, and armed with a couple of nominations I joined in to witness the spectacle. And spectacle is the word! First, let me congratulate the Academy for another successful event, the scope and management of which boggles my mind. There were two big concert events, the main awards show telecast, and the Person of the Year event honoring Brazillian composer/artist Caetano Velsoso. The FOH mix at both concerts was great (not easy with so many different performers) Read the rest of this entry »

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