Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Years Flew By

Having discovered that I enjoyed producing, I followed up the Frugal Jazz Project with other recordings of my own as well as producing the Atomic Scissors album "Cover".
What I came to realize was that I have little tolerance for listening to the same track over and over. It took a lot of the joy of music out of me.
Paying for studio time was also something that I could ill afford.
But I loved being a producer.
I had been a volunteer on a live TV show called Homegrown and when the chance arose, I became the producer of that program. Homegrown was not very expensive because we utilized the facilities of the local cable access provider in Greenfield Massachusetts and the crew and guests were volunteers.
Quality was the issue, and in an effort to raise money for better equipment we decided to hold a benefit concert at the Greenfield Energy Park. The Homegrown Music Festival featured many area bands including the Frugal Jazz Project.
After expenses, the benefit raised a little over two hundred dollars. It was enough to buy an analog to digital converter, but did little to improve the quality of the program. Homegrown, now known as Valley Homegrown improved because of the efforts of the crew under the leadership of the new producer Travis Roy. I left because my wife was expecting our first child and I was frankly burnt out on producing a weekly music show.
The rebirth of the Frugal Jazz Project was a direct result of producing Homegrown. I met hundreds of musicians during my involvement with the show and was able to call on many of them to play gigs.
Incidentally, the theme music for Valley Homegrown comes directly from the original recording of the Frugal Jazz Project, and while I never sold more than a hundred copies, thousands of viewers have heard a portion of the project each week without knowing it.
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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Welcome to the Frugal Jazz Project Blog

n the winter of 1998, I visited my friend Joe Podlesney at Avocet Recording Studio while he was engineering a hip hop recording. I don't recall the his name, but I liked the way the producer handled his crew and thought that producing an album was something I would like to try.
I had been sitting in with a band called Life on Mars that played at The Peoples Pint in Greenfield once a month. I suggested to Matt Kim, the leader of the band that he record the band, but he had no interest. I asked if he would play on a recording if I produced it, and he said yes.
I grabbed many of the members of Life on Mars and asked my friend Richard Mayer to play drums. I then bumped into drummer Marcel Farrington who was my band mate in a group called the Effect of Rhythm which also included Matt and Pete Kim, and had broken up years earlier. I asked Marcel if he would contribute some tracks, including an original from our earlier band and he agreed.
I called Joe Podlesney and booked the studio. We recorded for six hours and Joe and I mixed the tracks for four hours. What came out of that June session was the original Frugal Jazz Project, and more importantly the realization that I enjoyed being a producer.
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