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How did they record jazz?
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#91
6th October 2007
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Someone said it earlier, and I must repeat that this is a great, great thread! Knuckleheads such as myself learn much from history, and it has been concisely presented here - along with some terrific anecdotes. This, to me, is what Gearslutz is all about. Please, keep it coming!
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#92
6th October 2007
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The 30th St Columbia studios were converted from a deconsecrated church...part of the beauty of the sound was though it was a live space, the sound didn't compress and the engineers could work with the spill to enhance the instruments...and the engineers had experience from classical and non jazz recording also...
These days we can't all have 30th street studios to work in so different methods need to used..and styles have changed..but these recordings are masterpieces of their kind...
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#93
2nd June 2011
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I just stumbled across this thread. I've recently had to get rid of a lot of my recording gear and have gone back to basics. With only four channels off a 1202 VLZ pro + laptop + MAUDIO SOLO interface, I'm hoping that info I get from this thread about mic placement will help me get the maximum out of the little gear that I have.

Anyways, this thread is such a gold mine I thought I'd give it a bump so it can stay alive a little longer. The way I see it, the subject matter of this thread will forever be relevant.

#94
3rd June 2011
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I recorded a quartet record at clinton studios in 2005 and it's the best sounding record I've done. acoustic guitar, bass, drums and vibes.

c24 on the drums, c24 on the vibes, m49 on the bass and schoeps mk41 on the guitar. put the band in a circle, add gobos and start playing. bring the faders up, leave it alone and you have a record.

a good room and a sensitive band help a lot too!

N
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3rd June 2011
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Top quality musicians control the dynamics..Microphone techniques is the way to go guys...you gotta capture what you are hearing...Go back in time...then come forward with the nu gear...Remember you have to CAPTURE the performance...
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3rd June 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlexDaCat View Post
...Remember you have to CAPTURE the performance...
Absolutely!

This has been at the heart of my recording technique for years.




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#97
3rd June 2011
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Great thread!

All those great late 50's-early 60's Jazz
records were recorded live, no headphones
or monitors... Just like they played it on a stage.
I think The 30th St. Recordings are amazing, so are the
RVG , Tom Dowd and Roy Dunann recordings...
It's all the classic tube gear in full effect!
Looking at the Miles stuff in CD booklets and on
vinylcovers, M49 and U47's mostly...
Ampex 300's... Custombuilt tubeconsole...
Abit of EMT plate perhaps.. Not just the roomsound...
Roy Dunann used a passive mixer because his C12's and U47's had
so much gain, cleaner signalpath...
And he even added abit of EMT plate in mastering
because he recorded in a storageroom...
Gotta love those Art Pepper records!
RVG is a tougher one...
Probably just the tubemics into Ampex mixers and Ampex 350's.

Everyone should own "Temples of sound"...

Once again, great thread!

Best,
Tom
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3rd June 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlexDaCat View Post
Top quality musicians control the dynamics..Microphone techniques is the way to go guys...you gotta capture what you are hearing...Go back in time...then come forward with the nu gear...Remember you have to CAPTURE the performance...
YES! You "have to CAPTURE the performance". The performance is always better when the musicians are comfortable and not separated by booths and headphones. Also, I hate those recordings with the piano left hand in the left channel and right hand in the right channel. That is usually accompanied by a full spread on the drums. This doesn't sound like a band. "Hey, am I sitting at the piano and the drum set?

My motto is "never use 2 mics when 1 mic will do".
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4th June 2011
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There are two ways to record jazz, the good way and the bad way. Yours, like many of those in the albums on this thread, is a good way.
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#100
4th June 2011
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wish it was a live performance recording. Too bad lip sync became such a fad so early.
Miles Davis and John Coltrane play one of the best renditions of SO WHAT ever captured on film-Live in New York, april 2, 1959. Recorded by CBS producer Robert Herridge. Cannonball Adderley had a migrane and was absent from the session. Wynton Kelly played piano--he was the regular band member at this time--but Bill Evans had played on the original recording of "So What" on March 2, 1959. The other musicians seen in the film were part of the Gil Evans Orchestra, who performed selections from "Miles Ahead". Jimmy Cobb on drums.


also here's an interview with authors of the book: 'Temples of Sound' : NPR audio
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#101
4th June 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brubart View Post
Miking:
Drum set--C12 about 5 feet up and 1.5 feet in front of the set, angled down toward the snare drum.
Upright bass--U47 about 1 foot from the bridge.
Sax--M49 up fairly high about 1 to 1.5 feet away.
Piano--M49 looking at the strings, about even with the curved edge of the piano, halfway between the soundboard and the lid]

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author "Recording Music On Location"
I wonder what polar patterns theose mics were set at. Card? Omni?
#102
4th June 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by surflounge View Post
Live performance recording in 1959


also here's an audio interview with authors of the book: 'Temples of Sound' : NPR audio
Great video - except for one thing - film and television have strived to keep microphones out of sight so people pretend they don't exist - or don't know they do! Being a sound guy I always look for the mics and try to find out what kind they are. When no mics are visible I can imagine they are only playing along to a tape!

The Lp cover of Harry Belefonte at Carnegie hall is a classic view of a concert with real mics set where they should be. Except for the bass, which I think had a 44 in front of it. Not jazz but the same era!
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#103
8th June 2011
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I found a photo from Columbia 30th street 1959. Dave Brubeck "Time Out"
Looks like M49 on piano, alto and bass with a U47 on drums.
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#104
8th June 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ajfarber View Post
YES! You "have to CAPTURE the performance". The performance is always better when the musicians are comfortable and not separated by booths and headphones. Also, I hate those recordings with the piano left hand in the left channel and right hand in the right channel. That is usually accompanied by a full spread on the drums. This doesn't sound like a band. "Hey, am I sitting at the piano and the drum set?

My motto is "never use 2 mics when 1 mic will do".
Excellent motto.
#105
8th June 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ajfarber View Post
I found a photo from Columbia 30th street 1959. Dave Brubeck "Time Out"
Looks like M49 on piano, alto and bass with a U47 on drums.
Great shot! I got deep deep deep into that record - remember the incredible separation? Look at how they did it (unless this is a rehearsal shot without gobos), Wide open, all together.
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8th June 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by loujudson View Post
Great shot! I got deep deep deep into that record - remember the incredible separation? Look at how they did it (unless this is a rehearsal shot without gobos), Wide open, all together.
Same for recording an Orchestra.
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8th June 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by loujudson View Post
Great shot! I got deep deep deep into that record - remember the incredible separation? Look at how they did it (unless this is a rehearsal shot without gobos), Wide open, all together.
You can get good separation when the room is 100'x100' with a 60' ceiling. Listen to it with headphones and turn off the right channel. Listen for the leakage, then switch and turn off the left channel. You'll find that the leakage helps get more of a three dimensional sound. In effect, each instrument mic becomes a "room mic" too.
#108
8th June 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ajfarber View Post
I found a photo from Columbia 30th street 1959. Dave Brubeck "Time Out"
Looks like M49 on piano, alto and bass with a U47 on drums.
amazing tread and a great photo find!

listening to the album now, great sound way different approach from Rudy Van Gelder for example.
Good separation
but lots of very smooth and musical bleeding , sounds like a slight
plate reverb is used on the sax and on the drums you can hear it very well on Cathy's Waltz when Joe Morello plays brushes.. don't think its a sound of the room - sounds like a plate to me, what do you think?

Wonder how did they record Eugene Wright's bass so well acoustically - was the bassplayer using an amp so that the drummer and pianist would hear him better from such a distance... or?
I hear alot of detail in a bass sound , sounds like a closed miking?
Paul Desmond plays very subtle and quet so thats why there is not much bleeding of the sax in the bass and piano maybe?

I don't get how the relation between high sealing and room proportions affect bleeding, do you mean the bigger the room and the higher the sealings - the less wall reflectrions , te sell bleeding...or?


I have to confess i am not a recording specialist - a total newbe,
so please forgive my ignorance

I am, just a jazz sax player with a pair of Jazz trained ears ...
that have been recording in quite a few studios with a totally non inspiring setups : headphones , separate rooms, etc...
So lately i am experimenting with my quartet to record in a more live
setup with no headphones , but using gobos for drums and bass...
but i still struggle to record acoustic bass . and sax.. as everyone in the band complains that
they don't hear bass well enough as soon as they get busy playing and there is to much bleeding of the sax all over the place......
#109
8th June 2011
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That's exactly how I record -- only in a smaller room and, of course, with different mics. A big room with a high ceiling would be a wonderful luxury!
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8th June 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ajfarber View Post
I found a photo from Columbia 30th street 1959. Dave Brubeck "Time Out"
Looks like M49 on piano, alto and bass with a U47 on drums.
Thanks for this. I'm going to put the record on while looking at the photo to get a better understanding of the placement.

I have to use a traditional stereo pair somewhere to get a decent image. None of my point-source recordings seem to get anywhere close to the mark.
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8th June 2011
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I have to say that I believe that particular photo to be staged.

The photo's in the liner notes show a different story - it looks like everyone was fairly close together, but there was plenty of baffling both between and around the players.

It looks as though the drums and sax did not have a baffle in front of them, but the bass had a short baffle behind the mic, and in one photo, it looks like the piano may have had a large baffle in front of the open lid. There are tall baffles behind all of the instruments (probably to control the room ambiance) and the bass baffle looks almost like 3/4's of a iso booth, with the shortly in front.

I believe that reverb is not a plate, but the echo chamber that existed in 30th street Studio. From what I have read and heard, the 7th Ave. studio used the building's fire stairwell as an echo chamber, while 30th street had a concrete room in the basement. In most of the Columbia jazz recordings of that era, it seems like there was some kind of tape delay going to the chamber, but I can't say for 100% sure.

To my ear, the Columbia formula for these smaller Jazz combo recordings seems to be mono spots on everything panned across the stereo field, and then a mono pre-delayed reverb right up the middle.
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#112
8th June 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RobAnderson View Post
I have to say that I believe that particular photo to be staged.

The photo's in the liner notes show a different story - it looks like everyone was fairly close together, but there was plenty of baffling both between and around the players.

It looks as though the drums and sax did not have a baffle in front of them, but the bass had a short baffle behind the mic, and in one photo, it looks like the piano may have had a large baffle in front of the open lid. There are tall baffles behind all of the instruments (probably to control the room ambiance) and the bass baffle looks almost like 3/4's of a iso booth, with the shortly in front.
thats wat i suspected from listening - the photo is staged or taken during earlier rehearsals:
On the photo the drums are very closed to piano, but on the recording piano is panned to the opposite side and has not much from the drums .
On the photo the bassist is all the way across the room and opposite of piano next to the sax, but on the recording he is panned next to piano and has barely any sax bleed is the bass sound.
So they were absolutely using some gobos for the bass as well as piano.

chamber reverb? wow, never thought of that but that could be the sound?

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Here is another staged photo , everyone has fun and smiling - nice jazzy colourful chirts


And here is yet another photo that reveals the different shirts - could that be the real setup?

#113
8th June 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vintagefreak View Post
chamber reverb? wow, never thought of that but that could be the sound?

This photo reveals the real setup?
Definitely live chamber reverb, no qiestion about that.

This photo seems to show the real setup, but Paul is standing by the drums - you can see his mic sideways to the drums, so when recording he would have had his back to the camera.

Where did you find this shot? Good one!
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vintagefreak View Post
thats wat i suspected from listening - the photo is staged or taken during earlier rehearsals:
On the photo the drums are very closed to piano, but on the recording piano is panned to the opposite side and has not much from the drums .
On the photo the bassist is all the way across the room and opposite of piano next to the sax, but on the recording he is panned next to piano and has barely any sax bleed is the bass sound.
So they were absolutely using some gobos for the bass as well as piano.

chamber reverb? wow, never thought of that but that could be the sound?

This photo reveals the real setup?

This makes a bit more sense. It seems as if the mic setup is the same. M49 for alto, piano and bass. The baffle in front of the piano shields the piano mic from direct drum bleed. The baffle behind the drums is to tame the massive room a bit. Still there are only 4 mics. This photo looks like the setup for Miles' Kind of Blue, which had 2 additional horns. Fred Plaut was the engineer for both.

I have heard that they used a downstairs, marble bathroom as a reverb chamber. I'm told that they would sometimes forget to lock the bathroom and a take would be ruined by flushing or (use your imagination here) more graphic potty related sounds.
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8th June 2011
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I have heard that they used a downstairs, marble bathroom as a reverb chamber. I'm told that they would sometimes forget to lock the bathroom and a take would be ruined by flushing or (use your imagination here) more graphic potty related sounds.
LOL, fortunately they didn't forget to lock the bathroom this time
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ajfarber View Post
This makes a bit more sense. It seems as if the mic setup is the same. M49 for alto, piano and bass. The baffle in front of the piano shields the piano mic from direct drum bleed. The baffle behind the drums is to tame the massive room a bit. Still there are only 4 mics. This photo looks like the setup for Miles' Kind of Blue, which had 2 additional horns. Fred Plaut was the engineer for both.

I have heard that they used a downstairs, marble bathroom as a reverb chamber. I'm told that they would sometimes forget to lock the bathroom and a take would be ruined by flushing or (use your imagination here) more graphic potty related sounds.
It makes sense that the setups are close - I think I remember reading somewhere that they basically had a manual at 30th street on what the setups should be for different types of ensembles so that there would be some homogeneity between the sessions regardless of who was at the console.

I think the bathroom echo chamber was Bill Putnam in Chicago. There are a lot of those toilet flush anecdotes floating around - I wonder how many of them are actually true.

But I would hate to ruin a good story like that with the truth

Somewhere there is an interview with Frank Laico where he mentions an empty concrete storage room in the basement - I'll see if I can find it. I am pretty sure it's in the book "Studio Stories" by David Simons who was actually doing research on acoustic echo chambers at the time.
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8th June 2011
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Quote:
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thats wat i suspected from listening - the photo is staged or taken during earlier rehearsals:
On the photo the drums are very closed to piano, but on the recording piano is panned to the opposite side and has not much from the drums .
On the photo the bassist is all the way across the room and opposite of piano next to the sax, but on the recording he is panned next to piano and has barely any sax bleed is the bass sound.
So they were absolutely using some gobos for the bass as well as piano.
The sound seems panned from the control room perspective opposite the photo. If I flip my headphones and look at it, I swear I hear the hat and snare bleeding in the piano mic.

The bass sounding so isolated makes the photo suspect, but it is pretty far away from the rest of the group.

If the B&W photo is the real one, why would Paul wear a coat and tie to a session (lol)? Maybe he had a gig to run to after...
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Quote:
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The sound seems panned from the control room perspective opposite the photo. If I flip my headphones and look at it, I swear I hear the hat and snare bleeding in the piano mic.

The bass sounding so isolated makes the photo suspect, but it is pretty far away from the rest of the group.
You may be correct - there is another session photo in the liner notes where there is NOT a baffle in front of the piano lid. Perhaps they added this once they realised the extent of the drum bleed.

This is total conjecture on my part - but it has always confused me that in one photo there is a baffle and not in the other (which nearly identical in every other way).

Quote:
If the B&W photo is the real one, why would Paul wear a coat and tie to a session (lol)? Maybe he had a gig to run to after...
Look at how Sinatra used to dress in the studio!

I guess it was a different world back then...
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Quote:
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- I think I remember reading somewhere that they basically had a manual at 30th street on what the setups should be for different types of ensembles so that there would be some homogeneity between the sessions regardless of who was at the console.
I think Frank Laico and Fred Plaut were the staff engineers and probably "wrote the manual" themselves. Also, the shift to stereo probably shook up their set ups.

Quote:
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I think the bathroom echo chamber was Bill Putnam in Chicago. There are a lot of those toilet flush anecdotes floating around - I wonder how many of them are actually true.
I heard about the 30st bathroom from some NY session players. I've grilled as many of those cats as possible.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by loujudson View Post
Great video - except for one thing - film and television have strived to keep microphones out of sight so people pretend they don't exist - or don't know they do! Being a sound guy I always look for the mics and try to find out what kind they are. When no mics are visible I can imagine they are only playing along to a tape!

The Lp cover of Harry Belefonte at Carnegie hall is a classic view of a concert with real mics set where they should be. Except for the bass, which I think had a 44 in front of it. Not jazz but the same era!
Most television shows use booms - overhead - you would not see them anyway.
Check out some of the Bill Evans tv appearances you can see 44's on booms in some of the shots. I pity the guy whom had to hold them. MP
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