Singer/Songwriter/bassist Belinda Underwood creates new songs and sounds for an upcoming release with Benny Green at the piano & Martin ZarZar (Pink Martini) on drums & percussion.
Top Photo: Mel with Benny Green
Platinum recording artist/rapper Young Buck created and tracked new vocals over some incredible beats recently at Big Red, Nick Moon and Zack Meyers engineering.
Photo: Young Buck tracks at Big Red Studio
Singer/guitarist/songwriter Isaac Simons locked out Big Red for most of two weeks, tracking with an excellent cast of Northwest artists for his “Eyes Awake” CD project. His blend of Reggae, Hip-Hop and Electronica is quite unique and has had the sub-woofer at Big Red working overtime.
Engineers Tim Hochstedler and Producer Zack Meyers utilized the Studer 2″ deck synched up with Pro-Tools HD, capturing the best of both analog and digital sounds.
Photo: Drummer phenom Anthony Jones
Big Red’s Trident TSM (40 input, 32 monitor, 24 bus) was hand built in England and first belonged to Jose Feliciano.
Shortly thereafter it became the centerpiece for San Francisco’s legendary recording studio: The Automatt.
With David Rubinson, Fred Catero and the gang , it was used on countless Gold and Platinum records including those by Santana, Herbie Hancock, The Pointer Sisters, Journey, Con Funk Shun, Jefferson Starship, Sister Sledge and many more. Later, it migrated a few miles north to Tarpan Studios where Narada Michael Walden made hit after hit (Aretha Franklin, Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey et al.) on it.
The sound is big, warm and very analog. It was meticulously maintained by Doc Shaffer in the bay area and was commissioned at Big Red Studio May, 2000.
It is now maintained by Alan Garren Waltzing Bear Audio
Singer/writer /DJ/producer/engineer Brian Hall brought these amazing musicians together to Big Red for tracking his unique blend of classic Reggae grooves with cool modern influences.
Photo: Brandon Hutson, Brian Hall, Steve Smith, Dennis Dove, and Donavan Itawe Cunningham
Greg Earl: Blues with New Orleans flavors. Legendary musicians.
Photo: D. K Stewart, Greg Earl, Reinhardt Melz, and Edwin Fontaine, Jr.
Blues singer/guitar wizard David Jacobs-Strain (Northern Blues label) and producer/bassist Kenny Passarelli [Elton John, Joe Walsh, Stephen Stills, Otis Taylor, et al.] were mixing and tracking with Billy at Big Red this week. Amidst hard work, the camaraderie was great. David will be releasing a new live and also a new studio CD later this year.
David’s web site is at: http://www.davidjacobs-strain.com
Also, for some interesting reading, try Googling “Kenny Passarelli.”
A few of David Jacobs-Strain guitars
Top photo: David Jacobs-Strain and Kenny Passarelli
About 12 years ago I was at the Oregon Country Fair where I play violin with a crazy modern vaudeville troop every July. From a distance, (the fair is set on 200 acres of forests, paths and meadows), I heard the sound of a drum.
I followed the sound about 20 minutes to its source and found Jarrod Kaplan playing his Djembe with a unique and melodic style. I introduced myself and we fast became friends. Jarrod soon after found a wonderful Senegalese Djembe for me, ever since a fixture at Big Red. And Jarrod became a regular session player, providing great sounds and playing on many of my productions. For each session, Jarrod would bring a van full of percussion instruments and would set up a “kit” consisting of a Djembe, 2 dumbeks, shakers and bells on his ankles, splash cymbals, bell trees and a large orchestral bass drum.
What a sound!
Jarrod began his creative life early, as a childhood actor in New York. He was in the cast of “The Guiding Light” soap opera and appeared in numerous commercials. He left acting and went to music school. Since moving to the west coast, Jarrod founded and toured extensively with Trillian Green, Hanuman and Taarka, three distinct and well-known high energy jam bands. It was great co-producing 3 CDs for the latter two.
Anyway, Jarrod auditioned for and received a call to be a member of the band for a new production of Cirque de Soleil. He left Oregon this New Years Day for two months of rehearsals in Montreal to be followed by two years of world tours.
I am happy for Jarrod’s deserved success and look forward to seeing him when Cirque de Soleil comes through Oregon.
Guitar wizard and longtime Big Red client Dan Crary has really done it this time with his San Diego world premiere of “Primal Twang”: The Legacy of the Guitar — the first definitive theatrical journey through the guitar’s colorful and surprisingly controversial 3500-year history.
The show was filmed for a TV special and a DVD… with five cameras and 80 tracks of Protools! I attended the show and was blown away hearing sixteen of the world’s greatest living guitarists in a 4 hour concert that felt like 5 minutes. Big Red Studio clients Beppe Gambetta, Mason Williams, and John Doan were also in the show and visiting with them and meeting Eric Johnson, Albert Lee, Doc Watson and others l at the cast party was a real treat.
Klaus Heyne (German Masterworks) restores, modifies, customizes and designs high-end microphones for top artists, producers and engineers in the recording and film industry throughout the world. (Neil Young, Natalie Cole, Phil Collins & Usher among many others). He has been a close friend and a big influence in the life of Big Red Studio.
Klaus modified Neumann, Telefunken and AKG microphones as well as the Brauner VM1 KHE (Klaus Heyne Edition) have been used on many Big Red projects and I and my clients prize their warmth, detail and resolution.
Klaus hosts a high-end microphone forum at: Klaus Heyne Pro Mic Forum
I met Klaus 15 years ago and I enjoy telling the strange string of coincidences that led to our first meeting.
I had just finished a recording for Windham Hill at my old Nightnoise Studio in Portland. I had rented some high-end processors from Steve Jarvis Rentals in San Francisco. Steve included a list of the equipment that he rented and I noticed that most of the expensive microphones on the list stated that they were modified by Klaus Heyne. Curious what that meant, I called Steve and asked. He said briefly that Klaus made the garden variety of Neumanns and AKGs sound amazing. Since I had a couple Neumanns already, my interest was piqued so I asked Steve how I could reach Klaus. Steve said, “Klaus is in San Francisco… wait,…no,… he just moved. Let me look…Oh yeah, he just moved to Oregon.” So Steve gave me Klaus’s number and I recognized it as a Corbett Oregon telephone prefix. I had many friends in Corbett and was looking for property there.
So I gave Klaus a call. He gave me a short synopsis on how microphones like the Neumann U87 have wonderful capsules, but being made for many applications, have extra circuitry that convoluted the sound. He said that without going into details, he meticulously cleaned the capsules, upgraded components, streamlined the circuitry and hand tuned the microphones for intended applications.
Near the end of our conversation, I asked him where he lived and he told me. I told him that by coincidence I had looked at his house with a real estate agent before it was his house . I told him that I also knew many friends near him and, since he was new to the area, that I would like to introduce him to his neighbors. I also mentioned that I had a small airplane, flew often, and would be happy to take him up flying over the nearby Columbia River Gorge, and over his house.
His response was a question: “Billy, do you, as a pilot, know how to find and report a plane that has been flying dangerously low and loud over my property? Carolyn [Klaus’s girlfriend] and I moved to the country from the Bay area so we could get away from the noise; to enjoy nature …not to have an obnoxious plane swooping overhead when we might be sunbathing in the nude.”
I thought….uh oh. For the plane he was referring to was mine… and I was the pilot! I didn’t know how he would take it, and knew it would take some fast explaining, but I took the chance and ‘fessed up: It went something like this: “Klaus, I think I can help you. You see, my best friend in your area (Dennis) lives on a 1300’ high extinct volcano knoll about 1/2 mile north of you. There are three children living on the property.” “Often, before I fly my plane, I make a little parachute and tie either a small stuffed animal or candy or a trinket to it. I take off from the airport 8 miles away, make a flyover Dennis’s house and then glide low over his meadow to drop the parachutes to the kids. They love hearing my plane, and when they do, they run out to the meadow to try to catch the parachutes. It’s great fun.” “But,… after gliding so low, I have to gun it full throttle to gain altitude quickly. And, uh… that just happens to be just about over your property. So, I think you just found your pilot. (pause) Are you going to report me?” I don’t know if Klaus knew what to think. But there was reserved quiet on the other end of the line. Klaus thanked me for calling and said that he would accept my offer of an introduction to his neighbors, including Dennis.
The following week I was rehearsing with my band Nightnoise and with (Windham Hill artists from the Bay area), Phil Aaberg and Barbara Higbe. We were getting ready for a 30 city US tour. After rehearsal and amidst conversation over a meal, I just happened to tell about my unusual conversation with Klaus Heyne. At that point, Barbara Higbe started giggling. I asked her why? She said that Klaus was her estranged husband’s best friend in the Bay Area and that she didn’t even know that Klaus had left the area! Well that did it for me. I called Klaus and arranged for him to meet Dennis and me for dinner the next night at famous Tad’s Chicken n’ Dumplin Restaurant on the Columbia Gorge Scenic Highway. And I showed up that next night with Klaus’s best friend’s wife! That was our first meeting and we have been friends ever since.
Soon after our meeting and prior to going flying, I called Klaus. I asked if he would like to go flying. He said that he could not, but that he needed something. He asked if I would parachute a copy of the morning newspaper to him? I said sure, and made a special parachute for the drop. Gliding over his house at about 80 MPH and just before releasing the parachute, I glanced down. Atop the roof of his house there was Klaus, stark naked and waving wildly.
“Thank you for your patience, great ears & hard work! Look forward to the next time.”
“It is always a good time, capturing sound in a place that is so Amazing.”
“Hey! Awesome sounds, great feeling recording at your wonderful facility!”
“This place is a temple for music. Thank you.”
Belinda (Beliss) Underwood
“Thank you for your sensitivity and good sound. Great studio!”
“We are all smiling!! Amazing work, you are a genius.”
“Billy Oskay you are truly one of the finest producers of acoustic music there is.”
“Unf***ing believable microphones! Thanks for the vibe, the sound, the great room & your ears”
“Billy, you are a fine master of your art and it is a pleasure working with you.”