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!
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
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.
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.
It’s always nice when a project you work on gets some well-deserved notice. In this case, Ricardo Arjona’s “Independiente”, which just grabbed 4 Latin Grammy nominations including “Record of the Year”, “Album of the Year”, and “Song of the Year”. Better still, I’m named in the first two along with my friends, Producers Dan Warner and Lee Levin and Mix Engineer David Thoener.
“Independiente” is full of great performances and beautiful songwriting. One of my favorite cuts is “Fuiste Tu,” nominated for Song of the Year, which is a duet with the incredible Gaby Moreno (her record “Postales” was released just last month.) My primary contribution to Ricardo’s album was recording the brilliant string arrangements by my long time colleague Chris McDonald.
The Latin Grammy Awards will be held in Las Vegas on November 15th and televised on Unvision.
Several years ago, Avid added a light version of Sibelius notation software to their flagship workstation, Pro Tools. While I don’t rely on Pro Tools’ notation capabilities for any involved work, it is often useful for printing out a part for a player or two.
A short while back I was lamenting to my friend John Hinchey, international Sibelius wizard (and more), that I was unable to print a violin part from Pro Tools on just one stave… it always defaulted to a grand staff (treble and bass staves together, like piano music.) Read the rest of this entry »
It was certainly no surprise when, in 2009, Stephen Schwartz was inducted into the American Songwriter Hall of Fame. He’s been much awarded and has written some of my favorite shows in musical theatre (Godspell, Pippin and, of course, Wicked) as well as songs for the films Pocahontas, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Enchanted and Geppetto. I was asked by Disney Theatrical to produce the recording of Stephen’s stage adaptation of Geppetto, My Son Pinocchio, so after much prep work, arranger/orchestrator David Weinstein, vocal contractor Lori Casteel, Stephen and I settled into The Tracking Room Studio in Nashville for the orchestra recording dates. Read the rest of this entry »