My wife and I Executive Produced the live recording of an album this week in Guadalajara. “Executive Produced” is a fancy term for putting up money and carrying stuff, and it was a lot of fun.
The recording was done at a live concert in the Teatro Maria Teresa, a 110-seat theater built in 1912 and updated to very modern standards. It usually hosts dramatic plays, but is an excellent venture for music with a large stage, good sound, very comfortable tilt-back seats with cup holders, and lights, lights, lights.
The band was Triologo, a jazz band I know from Ajijic – Eleazar “Chuco” Soto on sax, Soffia Ramirez on keys and vocals, Angel Soto on drums, and Gilberto Rios on bass guitar and double bass. Luis Shatter and is band opened for them. In addition to a sound engineer handling the actual recording, a video crew led by Emelia Gálvez set up multiple cameras for a music video.
Teatro Maria Teresa is located on a side street in a quiet neighborhood of Guadalajara, next to a furniture store and surrounded by small shops and a couple of eateries. Music started at 8 pm with the opening band; taping was at 9:30; we got there about 3 pm to set up.
My wife and I drove Chuco and Angel to Guadalajara from Ajijic – about an hour and half; Gilberto took his truck separately with the double bass and other equipment, while Sophia lives in Guadalajara and Emelia and the video crew was already there. Somehow we managed to pack an entire drum kit, two monitors, mic stands, a saxophone, drum sticks, and cymbals into the back of my Honda CRV, along with 4 people, drinks and snacks.
Of course when we got to the theater there was (a) no place to park, and (b) no open door to load in. Just like in the states.
While I was circling the block for parking, the musicians managed to drum up theater staff who opened a tiny door on the side of the building for everything to squeeze through. I eventually opted to park illegally in a driveway while we schlepped equipment through the tiny door, upstairs, downstairs and then down the center aisle between the seats and across the stage and into the green room, dressing rooms, and (yea!) table with a perking coffee pot.
Set up and sound check took a couple of hours, while the sound engineer tuned the theater sound for the audience and the recording equipment for the album. When Triologo was set up and tested, the drum kit was stripped down, the keyboard removed, and the Luis Shatter band set up their equipment and sound checked everything. While that was going on I moved the car to a legal spot and we went out to dinner with the drummer at a Peruvian-themed taco restaurant that served great hamburgers
By showtime the theater was filled – sold out. The Luis Shatter band took the stage and impressed us all with their melodic, emotional jazz, sometimes fused with love songs tinged with emo, Excellent musicians all – we should record them some day.
After an equipment change and recording test, Triologo launched into their 8 -song set and blew us away with their musicianship, the emotion they put into their music, and their joyous engagement with the audience.
Sophia’s keyboard and vocals sparkled, practically emitting an animated stream of rainbow colored notes that floated through the theater. Gilberto moved the baseline smoothly along with the double base and wowed us with creamy but energetic solos on both instruments. Angel pitched the drums exactly right for the rest of the band, poring on the electricity during solos. And Chuco’s world-class saxophone playing moved from heart-rendering emotion to blow-your-socks-off wailing. Modern dancer Leonor Zertuche De Perez Nafarrate performed during three of the songs.
It is going to be a great album of a superb live performance.
The concert ended with many “otra!”s –another! and encores were produced, although I did not see the Sound engineer set up , so they may not have made it onto the audio file and thus into the album. More on that in a future column.
After the last bow, many hugs, kisses, abrazos, selfies, photos, and congratulations, the bands packed up and we schlepped everything up and down the stairs and out the (now fully open door) and repacked everything back in my and Gilberto’s car, plus Emelia , and hit the road.
It was a happy band that arrived in Ajijic a little after midnight and unloaded before heading for bed. Now, the files have to be uploaded, edited and cleaned of extraneous noise, equalized and mastered before release. The video files have to be edited into a music video. Soto tells me the release date is in about 30 days. I don’t have a title yet, but when it is ready for release, I will let you know. Watch this space.
(All photos except banner by Diego H. Leon)
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