Posted by: Steve Scherer | March 16, 2010

Geneseo B.P. – the studio story

In the studio.

We are in this recording studio.  It is a small stage and the band is sitting elbow to elbow, percussion with their backs against the wall, flutes and oboes seated on the floor in front of the stage.  There is theater type seating for about 100.  The room is also suitable for a recital or other small performance.  At the top of the seating in the back of the room is a recording booth, and the stage area is covered overhead with lighting.  The set up has taken a very long time because the performance area is so small.  It’s cozy, but everyone is in place.  Hope no one has to go to the bathroom.

Gabi Gueds (sp) is the celebrity drummer I have told you about, who is the leader of the group Orkestra Rumpelezz.  Abby has now posted a picture of the beach scene and the stage out on the water.  Gabri Just recorded a 2 CD set of music and drumming, that chronicles the sacred dances of the three major nationalities that populate this country.  It is a groundbreaking work for historical reference.  He is the man who is the highest authority in all of Brazilian drumming.

Jiba Conceicao is Gabi’s good friend and fellow percussionist.  He too is a very famous drummer in all of Brazil.  They came in to join us on our recording.  Their instruments were old, not fancy, some hand made, some from natural resources, like using switches from trees for a conga drumming technique.  And they brought many instruments to experiment with in finding what would help the band.  I greeted them both as part of the brotherhood of the travelling percussionists.  Their smiles and engaging personalities were very evident immediately.  They were most courteous and interested in what we were doing.  One of the songs we’ve played often is Sing Sing Sing, by the Benny Goodman jazz band, with the famous drum solo by Gene Krupa.  This was chosen to record because of the focus on drumming.  So it was my job to explain things to Gabi and Jiba, and work out the drum solo.  Once again, the effort needed to communicate is remarkable.  I would say something, and when one or the other of them got it, he would translate to the other.  Well, what ultimately worked best was to resort to “drum-speak”.  You know, the way drummers verbalize drum parts.  Immediately, we were communicating with total understanding.  There was much smiling, laughing, and jamming as we worked out the parts.

The band had to leave the studio for the sound engineers to set the microphones in place.  During this time, Gabi and Jiba demonstrated all of their instruments for us.  This was truly one of the most remarkable musical experiences of my life.  I was very humbled by their knowledge, their incredible musical skill, and the passion with which they performed.  So much fun to watch and listen to them make so much brilliant music with their hands.  They were making the music dance and sing.  The band came back in to record.  We ran a piece called Cuban Overture by Gershwin.  These two guys improved the atmosphere of the piece for the whole band.  We ran it twice, and it was better the second time, because everyone was more comfortable the second time.  Then we did Sing Sing Sing.  It always starts out with a big drum solo Gene Krupa style.  But this time, it started with only Gabi and Jiba playing, Gene Krupa style.  Then we joined them and mixed it up a little before the horns began to wail.  When it was time for the drum solo, we all traded solos back and forth with Gabi and Jiba.  This was just the ultimate music rush for me.  There are different kinds of music rushes, and honestly, for me it’s kind of rare to get that excited about playing, because I rarely play.  But this was exhilarating.  I was a child, and they were the teachers.  This one also was a little better the second time.  Less volume, more relaxed, and a better jam with Gabi and Jiba.  I’ll quit for now.  But if I don’t get video of these guys up on the blog (very slow to load), I’ll show you when I get home.  I’ve got a lot of great videos to show you.  Man, how corny is that.  I’m going to get home from a great trip and make you sit through my vacation pictures!




  2. *Note: Re-entering this comment and some others because they did not register when first entered*

    Wow… These guys must be really good. I can imagine it would be kinda funny to be feeling like a student after being a teacher for so long. Trading around solos sounds neat though.

  3. I think it’s really cool that music can be used to communicate, and better than translations in certain situations.

  4. sounds like alot of fun

  5. Wow! This sounds like so much fun. It would be so exciting to get to play along with famous people and just let loose. I am looking forward to seeing all of your pictures and videos.

  6. this sounds awesome! i think it’s cool how even though you come from completely different parts of the world, you can communicate through the music and make great things happen

  7. sorry, *whole language OF its own*

  8. It’s mazing how music can connect people. It is a whole language in its own.

  9. Definitely my favorite post so far!!!I love “drum-speak” because I find it funny how we recreate sounds with words or sounds effects I guess. That’s really cool how they make the music “dance and sing.” 😀

  10. That sounds like so much fun. I think I would be very intimidated to play next to him though. I love that feeling when you make music like that though.

  11. How exciting for you to be able to play! I guess you probably don’t have much time to actually sit down and just make music. It sounds like this was quite the experience for you and for the rest of the band. I am also looking forward to the video vitamins!!

  12. That version of Sing Sing Sing you guys played sounds pretty awesome! We all can’t wait to see some video vitamins soon, and I have to hear ‘Cuban Overture’!:):):) Cuban Gershwin is good any day.

  13. more video vitamins are good. And me and jim lol when u speak drum in jazz band. i smell a drum battle

  14. That sounds really amazing! I think it is so cool that you were able to communicate through the “drum-speak.” How interesting that even in different countries people are united through music and the way it is played. It sounds like we are going to have a lot of really good video vitamins when you get back!

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