Posts tagged ‘Paul Fawcus’

Twelve O’Clock Tales – New album by Clare Teal

I remember the day distinctly when Clare called about this recording. It went along the lines of “hello Love, We’d like to do a recording with the Halle… and a big band… yes in the same room… well it’s a church… but a treated church…” and so it began. A live jazz recording like they used to at Columbia… 93 musicians, Big band and orchestra.
I was discussing this conversation recently and I think it was only when it was all over that the scale of it finally hit me. Even when I was preparing the line lists (about 111 +/- 5 here or there) or preparing the desk in the truck did it ever occur to me that this was quite a big deal. Colleague and long time supplier Pete Austin (Ethos Audio) was the first point of contact as I knew he had the truck to do the job. The large channel count meant that we’d have to go digital and the Studer Vista 5 was a perfect choice.
Vista 5

The tricky part was how to keep the lush textures of the orchestra and maintain the sheer dynamic of the big band. We agreed that it was best to have the big band to one side and opposite side from the violins and all the open microphones. The ability to mix up tight and ambient microphones gave us the scope to get good separation of the sections and yet still have that enigmatic blend that makes an orchestra sound so lush.
The space in Ancoates that the Halle rehearse in is superb. Set in quite an up and coming part of the redevelopment of this area, St Peter’s is a gem indeed. The Halle Chorus also rehearse here and so its multi functionality is well serviced by clever use of staging and an excellent crew to set and reset as required. The acoustic treatment is excellent and they also have 63amp 3ø power installed near to the load in door. Sensible cable traps and routing make this a great venue to work in.

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We started recording on the Tuesday afternoon and four sessions later it was in the can. The sheer musicianship of both the Halle and the big band, embracing some pretty demanding music from mssrs Barker, Rebello and Windsor, is clear to hear on the album. Stephen Bell was fabulous at interpreting the jazz/classical crossover with the Halle and a good time was had by all.

 

Jazzmouse

in the truck…

 

The Album feature 14 classic songs…

It Might as Well Be Spring
Feeling Good
Wild Is the Wind
Sans Souci
I’ll Never Stop Loving You
La Belle Dame Sans Regret
Lush Life
Never Again
Spring Can Really Hang You Up the Most
Always True to You in My Fashion
Whole (It Isn’t Like Me)
Secret Love
The Folks Who Live on the Hill
Paradisi Carousel

The music was arranged by UK trumpet legend Guy barker and by the pianistic talents of Jason Rebello and Grant Windsor. The title “Twelve O’Clock Tales” is taken from a lyric of Billy Strayhorn’s ‘Lush Life’ and the album explores timeless classics penned by legendary musical storytellers of the last 100 years, and celebrates the giants of the Great American and British Songbooks through to the work of more contemporary writers crafting the standards of today plus Clare’s own original compositions. From swing to sublime ballads, Twelve O’Clock Tales reflects Clare’s versatility as a performer, and her agile and expressive voice is captured in the rich, eclectic, jazz infused repertoire ranging from Cole Porter, Billy Strayhorn, Rodgers and Hammerstein to Tim Rice, and Sting.

This was an amazing project to be part of and I’m immensely proud of my association with it.

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The album has just been reviewed by Dave Gelly in the Guardian – Review

 

Clare Teal said ‘This is our most ambitious project to date and being accompanied by the Hallé is an absolute privilege.   To be in a room surrounded by 93 incredibly talented musicians wondrously lifting these stunning arrangements right off the page before your eyes makes for a great day out – to actually then add your own voice to the story is a dream come true. We’re thrilled to be releasing Twelve O’Clock Tales on our own label – it’s truly liberating to be in control of what you want to record, with whom and where you want to release it.’

Stephen Bell said ‘One of the most joyous projects to be involved with – fabulously crafted and classy orchestral charts by Guy Barker, Jason Rebello and Grant Windsor sounding particularly splendid with the full might of the Hallé and Clare’s unique vocal talents. Fabulous music-making!’

Guy Barker said ‘Clare Teal has always been a total joy to work with … a great vocalist, musician and communicator with a seemingly never ending flow of great positive energy.
You add to that one of the world’s great orchestras under the baton and superb musicianship of their conductor Stephen Bell … including some amazing star players like Jason Rebello, Mike Lovatt, Matt Skelton, Iain Dixon, Gordon Campbell and Jeremy Brown… and you then have one of the most enjoyable musical experiences I have ever been privileged to be a part of.’

Twelve O’Clock Tales, released on MUD records, is Clare’s 15th Album and can be listened to via Bandcamp here.

Click here to view ‘The Making Of’ video.

September 16, 2016 at 14:18 1 comment

Tour -Ettes syndrome

I suppose I just like to be busy, and when touring always need to accomplish something other than just turning up for the show each day. I knew I had over a years touring to do and wanted writing/producing solution that was easy to carry and didn’t require a flight case.

iPad was the obvious solution as I carry it most places anyhow but it seems that digital audio workstation (DAW) and MIDI software was a bit thin on the ground individually never mind as a package. Garage Band seemed the obvious solution. It’s very powerful and free! But the big requirement, to me, of having a portable recording solution is the ability to export your midi and audio into a bigger studio once home or at work. Garage band doesn’t do this at all. You can export a .wav or .aiff file but not midi. A nice chap called Lars Kobbe has written an applet GB2MIDI. In order to do this Scott Troyer‘s work around is lumpy but workable. You will have had to export the .aif file from your iPad to a Laptop/Desktop.

As an established Pro Tools user I didn’t want to go down the Cubase/Logic route. The research that I did suggested two possible apps NanoStudio

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and Auria

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NanoStudio is very good and integrates both audio and midi. As the web site says “NanoStudio is a recording studio for iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch. It has virtual analogue synths, sample trigger pads, a comprehensive sequencer, a sample editor, a mixer and multiple effects all integrated into a single application.” It’s easy to use and the synths, drum machine and mixer work well and for £5 its a bargain. There is an in-app purchase £3.99 to make it 16 tracks and this is also worth it. Once again the exporting is the issue. MIDI exports from the computer version but seemingly not the iPad. You can mix down on the iPad or export to the laptop version of NanoStudio and you can share with SoundCloud.

Auria I liked from the off but vs1 didn’t support MIDI, there was a work around involving Audiobus and Nanostudio but none of this worked fully until Apple released iOS 9 in Late 2015. With this came the release of Auria Pro and this now had MIDI integrated.

This now all worked without Audiobus running (I believe that it runs in the background) and I could include other synths like Animoog and Sampletank as MIDI instruments.

Now we could write and export via Auria’s .aaf export option directly into Pro Tools either via Dropbox or iTunes when connected to the laptop. Auria Pro is £34.99

The next nut to crack was a portable mic preamp. I’ve a couple of USB/firewire interfaces but neither of the are portable. Speaking with my chums at Mediaspec UK they unanimously suggested IK Multimedia’s iRig Pro. This little device is pocket size and very good.

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It integrates with Auria very well and is easy to use. You can plug either a jack or xld into it and 48V phantom power is supplied via a 9v battery (not included). It evens works as a MIDI interface. I’ve done a few sax/flute solos for dance tracks with it already. Here’s one for Phil Bonna .

I have found the iPad a little fiddly to play so as a little Christmas gift to myself I bought iRig Keys a 37 note key board. Although it doesn’t fit in the man bag it is quite portable.

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There you have it it, a mobile recording/writing system all in one man bag. The only addition that I have now made is Pro Control for Pro tools 12.

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PT Control

Here’s the first track written and recorded on this system – Agent Tea Bag

 

 

 

 

February 10, 2016 at 15:50 Leave a comment

Simple Minds Live – Hampton Court Palace 16th June – Review

I was lucky enough to be asked to record Simple Minds in June and here are what some of the fans thought of it. Many thanks one & all.
“Rain keeps falling down, down”

5 Stars

by J Patten | 23-06-2011

Hampton Court Music Festival, June 16, 2011 It had been raining off and on all day in East Molesy, threatening to ruin a planned Simple Minds concert and pre-concert picnic at Hampton Court, the castle and home of Henry VIII. In the hours before the show, the sky cleared enough to allow picnickers to dine on the lawn. At 7:30, just as Jim Kerr and Simple Minds took the stage, the skies let loose and the rain poured heavily down for a good twenty minutes, thoroughly soaking the audience in what Kerr announced was a typical Scottish summer day: “Get used to it. We are.” Surrounded by the historic brick walls of Henry’s home, Kerr led the audience through the comparitively shorter history of Simple Minds, plucking songs from older albums like Sons and Fascination and New Gold Dream and, of course, drawing heavily from the Once Upon A Time album. While the bulk of the concert was made up of both obscure and famous oldies (Moscow Underground and Stagefright being the only modern songs performed), I never got the feeling that this was an oldies package tour of aging rockers. Kerr’s amazingly energetic performance, plus some heavily reworked and rearranged older songs, made it clear that we were seeing a major arena rock band still in control and still at the height of their creative powers (this in sharp contrast to a rather tired sounding and lame performance of Don McLean, who had played at the Hampton Court Music Festival on the prior evening). And Henry’s home, the majestic Hampton Court Palace, whose walls surrounded the band and the crowd that had come to see them? Even Kerr was noticably awed, acknowledging that the Scots had come a long way since Henry’s time: “I can’t believe they let a bunch of Scotsmen in here” were the first words out of Kerr’s mouth as he took the stage and looked up and around, marveling at the historic structure. Henry’s house returned the favor in a strange way. Kerr’s voice, both at the show and in the recording, is gently echoed by the surrounding brick walls, adding a richness and depth to the sound that would be missing in a more open venue, while, strangely, the band’s sound is echoed much less, ever so slightly in fact, thus avoiding a potentially cacophenous sound while adding a richness and depth to the recording in a subtle way that is only noticable when you listen for it. As a result, this is a gorgeous sounding recording, one of the best live recordings the band has made, of a memorable and historic performance. Whoever the engineer on the evening this recording was made (uncredited in the sadly non-existent liner notes), kudos to you on an utterly brilliant job. As for Simple Minds, if this performance is any indication, they still have a successful and long rock n roll ride ahead of them. Now if only they would wander over to the U.S. once every decade or so, I wouldn’t have to travel all the way from America to the U.K. just to see them again.

and

Hampton Court Concert

5 Stars

by Gary Charman Review | 17-06-2011

One of the best concerts I have seen from them, the rest period from touring has done them the world of good as concert was full of energy. Jim Kerr vocals was superb and is one the few lead vocalists who interacts with the crowd throughout. The song’s rolled off one after another and were as clear and crisp as ever, would quite happily stand in the poring rain again to see them. Ive got a copy of this cd already and it’s superb quality.

Big thanks to Pete Austin and his mighty Ethos Audio truck.

July 26, 2011 at 07:33 Leave a comment

Juan Martin – review of St Davids Hall Concert May 2010

SEEN AND HEARD UK CONCERT REVIEW

Juan Martín Flamenco Ensemble: Juan Martín (guitar), Carlos Brias (vocal), Raquel de Luna, Miguel Infante (dancers), Paul Fawcus (reeds), St. David’s Hall, Cardiff, 18.5.2010 (GPu)


Juan Martín is well established as a major figure amongst flamenco guitarists. He is a particularly interesting musician because of the way in which, steeped as he is in the tradition of flamenco, even a kind of scholar of the music, he has never been content to let that great tradition restrict his musical imagination. His musical CV incorporates sessions with such jazz greats as Herbie Hancock and Miles Davis; he has recorded as a soloist with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra; one of his most intriguing recordings, Musica Alhambra (Flamenco Vision FV 04), finds him exploring the Moorish roots of flamenco, taking in Indian gipsy idioms and Sephardic song along the way, and including a duet improvisation with the oud player Abdul Salam Kheir. So, grounded as he is in the tradition he knows so well and which he obviously loves and respects, he is also a constant innovator, ever ready to stretch the boundaries of contemporary flamenco.

For this concert in Cardiff (for which the audience was sadly not large – though everyone there seemed more than satisfied by what they saw and heard) he was joined by cantaor Carlos Brias, bailaoro Raquel de Luna and bailor Miguel Infante, with Paul Fawcus providing orchestral colouration on clarinet and soprano saxophone in some numbers. Martín has a prodigious technical ability on his instrument, but one never feels that this is an end in itself or that it becomes mere display. It always seems to be in the service of music-making of real intensity, in which passionate expression is combined with structural complexity. Martín began the evening with two solo pieces, including a version of the tarantas, Linares, which can be heard on one of his solo CDs (The Andalucian Suites, Flamenco vision FV 01), full of keening melancholy.

The dancers Raquel de Luna and Miguel Infante were imperious and commanding presences in all that they did, from the Sevillana which was their first contribution to the evening to the hectic climax of the concert. Raquel de Luna has worked with Martín for some time and it is not hard to see why he would admire the grace and delicacy of her work, as well as its sinuosity and sensuality. Infante is, I think, a newer addition to Martín’s touring company. Initially there seemed a slight stiffness in his work, full though it was of proper arrogance and command. As the evening went on, however, any hint of stiffness disappeared and his work grew more and more striking, remarkable for the muscular control of foot and leg movements and for his rhythmic precision, his finest moments being comprehensively commanding in their virtuosically percussive strutting. The two dancers worked superbly together, characteristic of the way that this, like all good flamenco ensembles, was mutually energising, mutually encouraging. Raquel de Luna’s movement, subtle and yet exact, was a constant joy, her ‘Indian’ hand-movements an eloquent (and elegant) reminder of one of flamenco’s putative sources, her variation of tempo endlessly fascinating.

For me the singer Carlos Brias was an impressive discovery. This tour marked his UK debut and I haven’t so far been able to discover that he has made any recordings – he surely will. The best of his work (and I, at least, would have appreciated his being featured even more extensively) was soaked in a ‘moorish’ sound-world and some of his long unaccompanied lines and melismatic runs were utterly spine-chilling. His dialogue with Martín’s guitar accompaniment was remarkable, an emotional and musical conversation in which each seemed to take the lead by turns.

Martín, accompanied by the assured musicianship of Fawcus, played some of his arrangements of Sephardic songs, music outside the idioms of contemporary flamenco, but flavoured, as it were, with that later form as played by Martín; the results were beautiful and expressive, melodies shaded and decorated by Fawcus’ breathy clarinet, Martín’s work on the guitar combining respect for tradition with a personal freedom of interpretation in a manner wholly characteristic of this fine artist.

The whole evening was a marvellous display of the richness of one of the great musical traditions, and of its origins and its later offshoots, a tradition which while there are musicians as good as Martín and his colleagues to interpret it, is in no danger of becoming merely nostalgic or ossified at the level of tourist-fodder. Long may such creativity, such technical skill and such disciplined musical passion flourish!

Glyn Pursglove

July 23, 2010 at 11:28 1 comment

Review: Juan Martin and his Flamenco Ensemble, National Centre For Early Music, York – By Steve Crowther

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“Juan Martin opened his set with a whimsical explorative piece, which had the most lyrical episodes punctuated by the characteristic strumming chords (rasgueado).

This was followed by taconeos, notable for the sheer variety of colour and timbre displayed by this remarkable performer.

The show really came into its own with the entrance of dancers Raquel de Luna and Miguel Infante. They danced a series of short set pieces (Sevillanas) full of pride, posture and intent. It was a whirling, twirling delight.

The duet between Juan Martin and singer Carlos Brias was emotionally raw and gripping.

Later, the guitarist was joined by clarinettist, Paul Fawcus, in three Sephardic songs. The first two were particularly touching: a simple setting with the clarinet darkening, shading the lovely guitar melody, followed by a melancholic, sumptuous clarinet song with gentle guitar commentary.

The Rondena from Picasso Portraits was first performed for Picasso’s 90th birthday bash, and it was obvious that the composer had pushed the boundaries of Flamenco with jazz, experimental and improvised playing, in honour of the great man.

But it was the dancers who stole the show. In the Alegrias (joyful dances), dancer Raquel again performed a series of movements, each ending in the most frighteningly blurred staccato footwork, explosive gestures, a performance as intimidating as it was beautiful.

The response from dancer Miguel was scary. Again a virtuoso display of percussive foot-tapping, indeed the sheer physicality of the performance was spectacular: rhythmic, strutting, a performance emanating as much testosterone as sweat, on a Sunday, too. “


A review by Steve Crowther from the Yorkshire Times of one our recent concerts with Juan and the group. This small, intimate venue venue really responded on this hot and steamy May evening.

Being a converted church the stone floor was too hard for the dancers so two sheets of marine ply were skillfully taped to the stone floor.

A new DVD filmed in glorious HD is available now from Flamencovision

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June 7, 2010 at 09:14 Leave a comment

Review of Will Todd’s Te Deum – Saturday 16th May 2009

Vivace Chorus, Will Todd Trio &  Brandenburg Sinfonia – 16th May 

 

On Saturday night at Guildford Cathedral, a full-house was treated to a compelling performance of contemporary vocal music. The ambitious Vivace Chorus commissioned a brand new large-scale work for the occasion – Will Todd’s Te Deum for chorus, children’s choir, soprano soloist and ensemble. The rest of this refreshingly imaginative programme was made up of music by other living composers from America and Britain. While it was good to hear fine performances of some familiar modern classics by John Tavener and John Rutter and to be introduced to works by Morton Lauridsen and Eric Whitacre, Todd’s brilliant new piece was the highpoint of the evening.

 

Todd is very much on home territory in writing large-scale vocal works. His Mass in Blue (2003) is much performed and has recently been recorded on Signum Classics to great critical acclaim. Indeed, it was Vivace’s recent performance of the Mass in Blue that led to this commission. From the bold virtuosic timpani writing in the opening bars of the Te Deum it was clear that the audience was in for a treat. Todd’s musical language is drawn from a variety of sources which are integrated into a compelling musical cocktail. If there were echoes of Walton and Britten in one movement, there were traces of Sondheim and Duke Ellington in another. Pupils from Holy Trinity School, Tormead School and Holy Trinity Church Choir joined forces in a touching performance of the 4th movement; a beautiful setting of the Lord is my Shepherd. Elsewhere, soprano Bethany Halliday and saxophonist Paul Fawcus impressed with gripping solo turns. 

 

The Vivace Chorus were excellent throughout the concert, making light work of a challenging programme. Conductor Jeremy Backhouse had the chorus’s undivided attention; his hard work on detail in rehearsals paying dividends in a slick, professional performance. 

 

Vivace’s bold programming transformed this concert into an event. I eagerly await their next commission.

 

© Stephen Goss 17th May 2009


May 19, 2009 at 11:26 2 comments

The final two concerts with Juan Martin – May 20th Nottingham Playhouse and 21st May at the Barbican in London.

The conclusion of this years spring tour from flamenco legend Juan Martin is yet another festival of spectacular music, colour and explosive dance fireworks! As the Aberdeen Press wrote “Nothing could have
prepared us for the
sheer sexual theatre
of this flamenco”

Continue Reading May 12, 2009 at 14:05 3 comments

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