Jonas Hemmersbach Group – Gegenkonzept
INTENSE JAZZ RECORDING WITH AN ANALOG VIBE
Moving between sweet guitar melodies and rough jazz explosions with the Jonas Hemmersbach's new quartet at Maarwegstudio 2.
The 4-piece ensemble led by the guitarist Jonas Hemmserbach from Düsseldorf, Germany, combines melodic themes, driving rhythms and captivating improvisations. Joined by Felix Fritsche (sax/clarinette), Moritz Götzen (double bass), and Philipp Klahn on drums they create their own unique, fresh sound. I already knew Jonas from working with Frau Karo, but of course this was an entirely different kind of project.
Right from the start it was crystal clear that all four musicians would be performing at the same time. I also sensed from the first conversations with Jonas that an organic yet tight sound would be the right fit for his music. We talked about influences like Brian Blade & The Fellowship Band, Aaron Parks or Robert Glasper. As a result, I immediately envisioned a sound akin to jazz records I know from New York or Brooklyn. Once again, Maarwegstudio 2 in Cologne ticked all the boxes for this project. We ended up booking just three straight days during which the guys managed to knock out all the nine compositions for the album. We also got into cooking our own meals quite a bit and generally had a great time. I couldn’t ask for more!
During the sessions, choosing microphones, microphone placement and the entire signal chain are the key to the game. But quite honestly it all doesn’t matter if the energy and quality of improvisations doesn’t translate into the recording. So getting the monitoring mix for the musicians right is more important than anything else. Unfortunately, this aspect often doesn’t get the attention it really needs. Consequently, I worked hard to get the monitor mixes and daily rough mixes as close to the finished sound as possible.
For mixing I went back to my own Satellite Studio as usual. This proved to being a straight-forward process since we had captured really great sounds during the tracking sessions. The group’s music lives on the energy and character of the individual musicians. So the mixes had to represent this concept rather than overwhelm with flashy effects. Ultimately though, I wanted each composition to develop and engage the listener. A completely natural sound can sometime be shockingly boring and not do a song justice. For “Strange Days Blues” for example I decided to let the drums pump a bit more than usual to contrast them with the dirty sax playing.
In the end, Alex Kloss delivered a tasteful mastering job that perfectly matched our sonic vision. I’m particularly proud of the fact that the Cologne-based hallmark jazz label JazzHausMusik picked up the album and has released it in April 2017. Sound samples can be found below, but you definitely should try to catch these guys play live so go to the band’s website (link below) to find out more.
AS A COMPOSER AND BANDLEADER IT'S GREAT TO HAVE A PARTNER WHO ALWAYS TRIES TO PERFECT EVERY SOUND FOR EVERY SONG AND INSTRUMENT. THANKS TO THE DETAILED PLANNING AND THE RELAXED VIBE IN THE STUDIO WE COULD JUST LET IT ALL GO AND ENJOY MAKING MUSIC.
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