For the last several years, the Discover Jazz Festival has sponsored Jazz Lab – an opportunity for a few select bands to work with professional audio engineers on their recording projects. The sessions (three, generally, one each spread out over three afternoons) are also broadcast live on the air in their entirety on Burlington’s community radio station, The Radiator – 105.9FM.
Today was the last of the sessions for this year’s Festival. The final band was the Burlington-based Afrobeat band Barika. They had been hand-picked to come in and record the final two tracks on their forthcoming album. By the time I arrived at the BCA Center’s second floor the main part of the session was just concluding and the engineers were working on a few overdubs with keyboardist Andric Severance and trombonist Gordo Clark. It’s a cool experience to be part of a live recording session, watching the creative process shape the sound and evolve as the music takes form.
That’s what Jazz Lab is about: along with being a valuable opportunity for the bands that are involved, it’s also an open setting that welcomes a transient audience. Visitors can walk right in off the street, come in and stay a while, learn a little about the recording process, and leave whenever they need to. Nothing formal. In listening to today’s recording session I have to think that situation has potential to add a little edge to the performance, much as any other live gig does. Here’s one of the takes:
Barika’s new album is expected to be released next month.