Temple University Jazz Band Records "COVID SESSIONS" During Quarantine Using New Technology, Bedrooms, Basements as Mini Studios Then Recording One Lone Player at a Time

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Grammy-winning engineer John Harris creates new technology that allowed Temple University Jazz Band to record an entire album remotely from their basements, bedrooms, closets and even a church! Experience brings musicians even closer together in time of Pandemic, says Terell Stafford, Director

“Recording this album was important for all of us, It was a remarkable experience from a technology and a music perspective. I am so proud of what was accomplished as the first-of-its kind new way to record in a pandemic.” Dr. Robert Stroker, Vice Provost and Dean, Temple University, Boyer College

The Temple University Jazz Band started the year off with a bang as they won first place at the inaugural Jack Rudin Jazz Championship at Jazz at Lincoln Center. Their calendar was filling up with performances and time in the studio to record an album of the material that had earned them their latest crown. Any plans were quickly upended when the COVID pandemic hit and quarantining was mandated. Feeling more disconnected and isolated each passing day, educators and students were determined to not let the pandemic prevent them from creating art. They just needed to figure out how they were going to record a Large Jazz Ensemble Album when no two people could ever be in the same room. And so that is what they did:

  • Engineer/Producer and Associate Professor of Music Technology David Pasbrig reached out to his colleague GRAMMY- and Emmy-winning sound engineer John Harris (Engineer, Non-Classical) who he knew had been working on new technology to record music remotely.
  • They used Harris’ technology and fine-tuned it specifically for their challenging situation and developed four mobile units that were mini recording studios for students
  • They sent boxes to students, trained students, no guarantees as to when they would be delivered.
  • Two engineers, along with Director Terell Stafford, started recording each musician’s individual parts for the entire album in whatever space they had declared the studio.
  • CHALLENGES: WiFi not good enough so ethernet cables had to be used….one student with no ethernet turned to a local church to set up mini studio. MORE CHALLENGES: Vaulted Ceilings, echoes, nat sound, stuffy closets, a ceiling fan.
  • Mixing and mastering took 3x the amount of time it would have taken if recorded together in studio
  • Something was wrong with final mix; they realized the base player had a ceiling fan going during recording session – back to the drawing board (sans fan).
  • 7 days to mix, master, create album artwork, liner notes, etc.

"I watched as each student became hyper aware of the intricacies and importance of each performer, which elevated their own performance. Although isolated as individual recordings, the members talked more and became closer as they helped each other figure out this new way of making music. A real testament to the power of music and the fortitude and resilience of young music makers.” Terell Stafford, Director

“Recording this album was important for all of us. It was a remarkable experience from a technology and music perspective. It was an honor, and I am so proud of what was accomplished as the first-of-its kind new way to record in a pandemic.” Dr. Robert Stroker, Vice Provost and Dean, Temple University Boyer College of Music and Dance, Founder/Exec Producer, BCM&D Records

Listen: https://tujb.hearnow.com/

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Ron Roecker
Be Differently
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