Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Books: Michael Jarrett - Pressed for All Time: Producing the Great Jazz Albums from Louis Armstrong and Billie Holiday to Miles Davis and Diana Krall

This book takes a look at how jazz albums were made, beginning with a few examples of the pre-LP era and then continuing though the advent of the long playing record and analog tape to the use of digital technology in the present day. Along the way the reader learns a lot about the personalities of the record producers of different eras and some of the musicians that they helped to make famous. Different producers have their own manner of techniques when putting together a recording session. Some are very hands-on doing everything from choosing the sidemen for a particular musician and the songs they would record, while others are much more laissez-faire, allowing the musicians to take charge, only stepping into the fray to resolve personality disputes and other squabbles things that might keep a session from running smoothly. Certain musicians are willing to cede some control to the producers, notably Miles Davis, who trusted his producer Teo Macero to make some radical edits that led to electronic jazz masterpieces like In A Silent Way and Bitches Brew. Different record labels had different approaches to recording as well, whereas the Prestige and Verve labels feeling that music is best heard in an off the cuff jam session format, while Blue Note Records actually paid musicians to reverse before the final session in order to flesh the music out and be fully prepared for the main event. Overall this was an interesting and well presented book with the author staying out of the way and allowing the producers and musicians freedom to tell their own stories and keeping the narrative moving forward at a snappy pace. Pressed for All Time: Producing the Great Jazz Albums from Louis Armstrong and Billie Holiday to Miles Davis and Diana Krall - amazon.com

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