Episode #38 – Summary

30 Mar

Recording Date: November 2, 2007
Recording Location: Star City Recording, Bethlehem, PA

Victor Bailey

This was another terrific session…one that featured 4 different A-list, first-call musicians who hadn’t worked together before. First, there was bassist Victor Bailey (Weather Report, Joe Zawinul’s Syndicate, The Brecker Brothers, Mike Stern, Chuck Loeb and many others). As I’m sure many of you know, Victor was the bassist who replaced Jaco in Weather Report after his untimely passing. Next, I brought in guitarist Jeff Golub (Rod Stewart, Billy Squire). Jeff is a rocker – no doubt about it – and a very accomplished soloist as well. I was so glad he was available for this one. It was the 2nd time Jeff appeared on Studio Jams. (He was also a part of Episode #33).

Jeff Golub

On drums, I brought back Anton Fig (The Late Show with David Letterman, Ace Freeley, Joe Bonamassa, and many others). I love Anton and his playing. He hits hard and aggressive, and can quickly create a tight groove and pocket for everyone to build upon. Plus, he is such a versatile musician – as he has to be every night on the Letterman show with Paul Shaffer and the band, who regularly back up musicians from every genre imaginable. I first met Anton years ago in a tiny club in Cape May, New Jersey where he was playing with the great South African bassist Bakithi Kumalo. Since then, he has appeared on the show on a number of occasions, and has been a total joy to work with each and every time.

Anton Fig

Rounding out the group was a keyboard player that guitarist Chuck Loeb had recommended to me…Matt King. Matt works regularly with Chuck (when Chuck is not on the road with Fourplay). He arrived at the studio a good 2 hours before his scheduled session – just to be ready – and simply sat and watched while we were taping another one. After a brief introduction chat, I was immediately impressed by his calm demeanor, warm personality and professional attitude. I knew that working with him would be a pleasure. And it was. Matt was terrific.

Having only 4 musicians that day was nice, as it allowed each of them plenty of room to stretch and contribute. Here is a little video taste from the session…

After setting up, it was Matt who brought up the first possible song to play. He suggested The Chicken – in part, I believe – because it is such a Jaco staple, and out of respect, thought Victor would simply tear it up. And so he did, along with everyone else. After about 10 minutes of rehearsal, we recorded a wonderful take of the tune.

Victor Bailey

Victor then suggested they cover Trouble Man, a soulful song made somewhat popular by the late Marvin Gaye. He took a lead role in this version playing the melody line for the first and last go-around of the form. In between, there were great solo passages by Jeff, Matt and, or course, Victor. We recorded 2 nice takes of this tune after about 20 minutes of fun and light rehearsal. Matt followed that by suggesting the classic Unchain My Heart…again, with plenty of great solos. We taped 2 takes of this.

We then took a short break to listen back to some of what we just recorded. Everyone seemed quite pleased with what we had done so far.

Jeff Golub

After the break, Jeff took center stage, first suggesting they play Rumble, and followed that with In With The In Crowd, a song that was a huge hit for pianist Ramsey Lewis. Each of the guys quickly fell right into place on both these tracks, and sounded as if they had been playing together for years.

Song Names

  1. The Chicken
  2. Trouble Man
  3. Unchain My Heart
  4. Rumble
  5. In With The In Crowd

No surprise, all of the guys were terrific in this session. The chemistry among them was great. For having never played together, they blended beautifully. I’m looking forward to working with all of them again.

– Tom Emmi / Producer



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