Monday, January 31, 2022

Don't give up your sound…FOR ANYONE!!!!

As someone who generally plays Jazz, I play for small audiences in small venues (COVID lockdowns notwithstanding). One great part of this is that I am rarely mic'd, so the drums are exactly as one would hear them acoustically in the room. So, generally I have been able to do my own "mix" with very little sound reinforcement. I think this is an important skill to learn that perhaps people that only learn and play on electronic drums or only play through a sound system miss. The relationships between the volume of your cymbals and drums, the amount they ring etc. are YOUR CHOICE, and good sound engineers will understand this. Occasionally when playing a festival, I may get an individual doing sound that maybe hasn't heard a lot of the type of music I play, and in that case, diplomacy and positive communication are the key. (Unfortunately, I didn't have many of these chops when I was younger.)

Quick example, I was working at a  Jazz festival once, and the house sound reinforcement people were generally people that only understood doing sound for big Rock shows, and the results weren't that good, .This was true from both the listener's and performer's perspective. During this festival I got to see Brad Mehldau's wonderful trio with Larry Grenadier and Jorge Rossy, and even though they were still dealing with the same sound people as everyone else, they sounded fantastic! Now, one factor is that they are all magnificent players, but another is that they played super quietly! There were lots of dynamics, but at a much lower level than most bands. When you play like that, the sound people aren't getting a ton of signal in their mics,  so it's very difficult for them to manipulate the tones they're getting, and all they can do is make them louder. :) A great lesson.

Okay, maybe this was a rant, but I'd call it a mini-rant! Work on your sound and I'll see you soon! 

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