Joel says pianos aren’t that hard to mic up if they’re nice instruments. I’m still on with piano recordings. Maybe one day I’ll get bored, but I’m not there yet. Sterile piano recordings are the worst (except for R&B/Hiphop sometimes). Lately I keep hearing Jazz recordings where the piano sounds so pure and wrong. Jazz recordings aren’t supposed to sound so lifeless! They should sound like a train intercom! Ok maybe not completely like that, but maybe a bit?
I’ve been singing with the MIT Vocal Jazz Ensemble, we have a good time and John is an incredible mentor, director, composer (duh) and player. I usually end up recording our concerts so I thought it might cool, given that perfection isn’t really the goal– its personality and interestingness, to set up mics without listening to them and record the show. Instead of putting on headphones, I’d look for meters and stick my ears where the mics were being placed. Basic dead reckoning.
Anyway, I shoved a mic in the piano (Earthworks SR25). A couple for voices (Senn MKH40, Audix VX5, Shure Beta58a), drums (AT 4041) and bass (Radial DI). And tried my best to massage them together after the fact. And it worked pretty well! Not as well as if I had listened on cans and moved things around. But who has time for that?! Point is, rather than going for a perfectly even, incredible piano sound, I compressed it probably more than I should have and pushed the mids a bunch. The recordings aren’t necessarily ‘pretty’ but they have life and personality (because the performance did) and that makes me happy! Rather than make it boring, shlocky and perfect, the recording aesthetic keeps a bit of funkiness too. Check ’em out…
Photo of John by Kojo!