I hate recording. The tape doesn’t lie. Yesterday, I tried to record myself playing “Yesterdays” and it took me forever to get something I was even mildly interested in sharing. As long as I’ve been recording, it’s been the one aspect of music that has always plagued me. Why? Probably because I’m hyper-critical of my playing, as are the majority of musicians. How can you not be? When most recordings are patched together to easily in post-production, doing anything right the first time is nearly impossible, at least for me.
This reminds me of a session I saw at Eastman a few years ago when Snooky Young came to visit. He and the faculty jazz group played a tune, don’t remember which one right now, but it was standard-ish. When it was Snooky’s time to solo, he stood up, with his 90 years of experience on this Earth informing his performance, and played what was, to my ears, a perfectly constructed solo. It swung, his sound was good, and he had attitude. Nevermind that he can barely hear; he knew what to play, and played it. Bam. It was a throwback to a time (or so the History of jazz informs me) when you got one shot to make it (yes, Eminem, that theme has been around WAY longer than you have). If not, it was your derriere that ruined the take. That recording stuff was not cheap.
This, I’ve decided, is an important aspect of the 365 Days of Performance. Primarily because these performances are on record and will never go away. Whether it’s with Alarm Will Sound (Derek Bermel recording out this year I hope), a jazz group, or in my “studio,” I promise to get better at recording. Here’s an improvisation on “Unison” by Bjork.