Saturday, June 17, 2017

In the Studio with Sid Jacobs

In the studio with Sid Jacobs, Joe Labarbera, Phil Lewis, Brandon Duncan.

What a pleasure it was to spend two days in the studio last week with guitarist and Maginus Project sponsoree Sid Jacobs cutting tracks for his upcoming album. This new recording will showcase Sid's artistry in both ensemble and solo settings. On these dates Sid was accompanied by a first-class rhythm section consisting of legendary jazz drummer Joe Labarbera and the brilliant bassist Darek Oles.

One of the most unique and innovative guitarists in jazz today, Sid Jacobs plays in a unique contrapuntal style that is solidly anchored in the jazz heritage and yet completely fresh. It's a sound that is intimate, subtle, and arresting.

The band was well rehearsed and knocked out a dozen or so tunes in two days of tracking. Sid's choice of material was, as always, distinctive and included some beautiful and rarely-played numbers like the gorgeous Johnny Mandel composition "Where Do You Start," and "Stranger in Paradise," a 50s popular tune based on a theme by Russian Romantic composer Alexander Borodin. Also rendered were a few choice selections from Gershwin's Porgy and Bess. All the material was deftly arranged for the trio by Mr. Jacobs and performed with the sensitivity and artfulness one would expect from seasoned masters of the idiom such as these.

Our friends at Apogee Electronics generously provided their state-of-the-art studio to the Maginus Project for these sessions. The facility, designed by famed audio engineer Bob Clearmountain, has a terrific live room and is outfitted with a vintage Neve console, a locker full of exotic mics, and of course the latest in Apogee's high-end A/D/A converters -- a perfect marriage of the classic and state-of-the-art. The sessions were expertly engineered by Sergio Ruelas with help from Brandon Duncan.

As a guitarist Sid Jacobs has dedicated his life to exploring and extending the instrument's role in jazz music. The result is unlike anything previously heard. This is thoughtful, evocative music that builds on the great American jazz tradition and adroitly explores its relevance to a 21st century state of being.

It was my great honor to be present to help capture this eloquent music as it was played, and it to ensure its preservation for future generations of listeners and scholars. This is what the Maginus Project is all about, recording extraordinary music that might otherwise be lost. I can't wait for you to hear it. Look for a general release this fall.

-Phil Lewis

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