News / Arts & Entertainment

Making an Album -- The Way It Used to Be Done

Patrick Williams
Patrick Williams
Mike O'Sullivan

The Big Band sound -- the kind of jazz popular in the 1930s and '40s -- can still be heard today.  Some of the top musicians in Hollywood got together recently to record a new big band album, produced by composer Patrick Williams.  

It's the kind of music that musicians love, a big band jazz sound that fills the room and gets it swinging.

Two dozen of Hollywood's top studio artists -- all together in one room -- were recording tunes by Hollywood composer Patrick Williams. 

"These are some of the best players in the world, and we had to use all but military strategy to try to figure out how we were going to get them all in the same place at the same time," Williams said.  "They're very busy."

The unprecedented session was held at Capitol Records in Hollywood, where classic artists used to record in the past.

The musicians say the acoustics here are among the best in the world.   Veteran recording engineer Al Schmitt says this session is special because sound from the instruments is mixed as the music is played.

"It's all live.  It's going down [on tape].  There's no overdubbing.  It's all live to two-track [tape].  So it's special.  There's no room for error.  You have to be on your toes," Al Schmitt, recording engineer said, "It's the way we used to make records years ago."

The musicians and engineers are longtime friends and say this is a chance to make music together.

Some of these musicians, including Pat Williams, compose and write scores for film and television.

Sax player Tom Scott says they're happy to work with Williams, who spearheaded the project. "It's great fun to play with Pat because he writes so musically," he said," and so everything is just so right on."

Arturo Sandoval
Arturo Sandoval

Renowned Cuban-American trumpeter Arturo Sandoval says he loves to play jazz, which he calls a classic American art form. "I was born and raised in Cuba, but I'm a jazz musician, yeah, at heart. In my heart, I am a jazz musician.  And this is what I'm going to play here tonight, just jazz - jazz," he said. "I love jazz."

Most songs on the album are recent compositions.  But Williams wrote one, the theme to the TV show "The Streets of San Francisco," nearly 40 years ago.

The new album is called "Aurora."  It will be available in October and will be sold on an Internet website called ArtistShare.

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