Cheek, Rossy, Cardenas and all that Jazz

A story of recording our first commercial session in the new studio

Cheek, Rossy, Cardenas and all that Jazz - A story of recording our first commercial session in the new studio - by Simon Campbell

After nearly twelve months of building, our first commercial session in the Supertone Records Studio was totally amazing. For 40 years I have gently simmered in a pot of Blues, Americana and Rock whereas Jazz has been a bit of a mystery to me. So, when Chris Cheek said he wanted to record his latest album with us, there was more than a little trepidation in the household. Of course it was totally unfounded, as when you are working with some of the best jazz musicians in the world, sound recording is easy.

Valencia is a City packed with musicians; not surprising when you consider how many excellent learning establishments are based here.

Also, virtually every town in Comunidad Valenciana has a brass band, which has led to a veritable army of accomplished brass players who inevitably turn to Jazz.

Since moving here in 2013, we have met many great players. One in particular, saxophonist Javier Vercher, has become a great friend and he introduced us to percussionist and drummer Jorge Rossy when they mixed their latest record with us; he in turn recommended us to Chris.

The Band

Chris lives in New York and put a band together for his dates in Spain consisting of Jorge (drums), David Soler (pedal steel), Steve Cardenas (guitar) and the enigmatic Jaume Llombart (multi-instrumentalist but in this case bass).

They rocked up to the studio and set up the evening before the three day session. I asked Chris how many tracks. "Just 12" he said... Before they arrived, they had rehearsed for a day and played a gig.

OK. I have been used to working in or with bands that would take three days to set up a drum sound, but these guys had an air of professionalism and confidence rarely seen nowadays. What could possibly go wrong?

The Session

In the morning Chris wanted to get cracking immediately and no sooner had we checked the microphone lines, Jorge was in. 1, 2, 3, 4... No time to trim the gain or adjust microphone placement and consequently the console lit up like a Christmas Tree :)

After one run of the first track, it was all sorted and sounded fantastic. Apart from moving one of the Coles drum overheads to detail the ride cymbal, miraculously the microphone placement was pretty much spot on. However, sound recording is easy with a band of this quality.

They laid down between two and four takes of each track and were finished in two days and the third they spent listening and sunbathing. Amazing...


Yes, recording is supposed to be fun!

I have always loved residential studios and when Starlite and I were planning Supertone we wanted to make sure that everyone had fun.

There is no doubt that the ability to relax in a tranquil and beautiful setting with bandmates and loved ones enhances your creativity and performance.

The guys really embraced this and in between takes were relaxing outside in the grounds and chilling out in the pool. In the evenings we all piled out for dinner at the local bar. Fabulous times.

Bobby and Hummock also give plenty of love to everyone, especially if they have food!

One other thing that really struck us was how fabulous and caring these musicians were. Without exception, everyone was totally wonderful and of course this led to a fabulous kama.

Supertone, is not only a residential studio but also our home; which as you can imagine can be very tricky :)

Listening Back

In the weeks following the session Suzy and I gave it a good listen and were really happy with the results. Chris and the guys were also delighted and gave us a great review.

During the mix in New York Chris wrote and said:

Everything sounds great! All the instruments sound beautiful, the drums do too and think you'll be really pleased with it. The guitars sound great together and it was nice to have so many mic options... I'm really happy with the music we made, and I'm really grateful to you and Suzy for making it possible!

And all that Jazz...

This picture of Jorge and his partner Berit Dencker says it all about the session, the ethos of Suzy, myself and all that is Supertone Records...

And finally, for the recording geeks out there

This is what we used:

Other than the Coles (see above) all microphones and DI were recorded via our Trident Vector 432 into AVID HD I/O and Pro Tools 11.x.x running at 24 bit / 96 KHz. Monitors are ATC SCM25A.

The full equipment list can be found on the Supertone Records site!


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