Today, I went back to 800 East Studios in Atlanta to mix Godfrey and Guy's You and the Night album. We reached the mixing stage about a month later than expected because our trumpet player, Hadrian Mendoza, was having some lip problems. It's a recurring injury that surfaces from time to time, and the only cure is to rest. Having experienced my own chop problems as a brass player, I could empathize, and I had no problem waiting for Hadrian's lip to feel better. It was worth the wait, because when Hadrian returned to the studio, he laid down some mighty tasty solos. Both Hadrian and the tenor sax player, Reed Lukat, did some great solo work.
As soon as we finished Hadrian's session, I scheduled two mixing and mastering sessions with Ken. Mixing is one of the final steps in the recording process. After recording all the vocal and instrumental tracks and then making fixes, the next step is mixing: adjusting volume levels so that instruments and voices are balanced, adding just the right amount of reverb, and generally fine tuning everything.
At the beginning of the session, I rerecorded my vocals. The night I laid down my original vocals, I was coming down with a fever, and we often had to back up and redo phrases in which I had started coughing. Listening to the playback a few days later, I cringed at my vocals. They probably would have sounded okay to most people, but I could hear myself holding back a cough. I wanted to redo my vocals right away, but my cold and fever turned into a sinus infection, and I was unable to sing for a couple weeks. It wasn't until last week that my voice returned to form, and I happily rerecorded my vocals before we began mixing this morning. I'm so glad we took the time. The difference between the two recording sessions is like night and day.
Listening to the mix in the studio and again at home, I'm really happy with the results! As I mentioned earlier, Hadrian and Reed played terrific solos, and they nailed the ensemble parts I wrote for them. The drums and bass playing are super tasty. I had written some horn soli sections, with the guitar as the third "horn." These sections turned out nicely, and listening to today's mix makes me feel motivated to write more of these types of arrangements. I'm pleased with my own guitar comping and solo work.
Even with the extra vocal recording at the beginning of today's mixing session, we managed to wrap up seven of the eleven songs on the album. Next week's mixing will be a piece of cake. I'm very much looking forward to sending this album out into the world!
- Tom Godfrey
- Atlanta, GA, United States
- When I suffered a lip injury that ended my career as a classical trombonist, I thought my life as a musician was finished, but I fell in love with music all over again when Santa gave me a guitar for Christmas in 2003. Even as I was struggling with my first chords, I was planning a new performance career. As a trombonist, I performed with the Heritage of America Band at Langley Air Force Base, the Ohio Light Opera, and in pick-up bands for touring acts that included Rosemary Clooney, George Burns, and the Manhattan Transfer. Reborn as a jazz guitarist, I sing and play my own solo arrangements of jazz classics, am half of the Godfrey and Guy duo, and hold the guitar chair in the Sentimental Journey Orchestra. I have been a freelance music copyist since 1995 and have been music director at Northwest Unitarian Universalist Congregation since 2011.