The magic was discreet but immediate,
with Nir Sabag on drums and Max Schlegel on bass.
This was actually my first session at this studio in Kreuzberg, in February 2015,
testing the set-up and enjoying those great microphones.
And it was our first session together with Nir.
Nir is from Israel, and I have yet to have one bad session or rehearsal with him. There might be days with more or less energy, but the feeling is always there. It’s a kind of magic.
Moments are grounded in time.
Common Sense is spoken.
I might start calling him the Rhythm and Groove Prophet.
On bass, Max always surprises me with his ability to make those a latin beats grooove. He’s been hanging out with Argentinian – and fantastic – pianist Carly Quiros, says he.
It’s was difficult that day, being on both the technical and the musical side. Testing and checking out the set-up, signal flow, headphone mixes, etc. In fact I was terribly disapointed with the upright sound. An AKG was probably moved away from its position, or Max changed position while rehearsing.
I proposed a rhythm changes in Bb, with a Bossa-nova feel on the A’s and a swing on the B’s.
It became “TEKILA”, which also is a phonetic for “T’es qui là ?”, which means “Who are you now ?” in french.
Some come out of the closet.
We will come out of the Keller!
A Berlin K’ller.
And – à propos – it was grrreat fun getting to know Mackie Messer, along with Nir Sabag on drums and Florian Kolditz on bass. I love to record parts of those Keller rehearsals, and we happened to have a Canon (camera).
So we shot.
Such songs are part of our retro swing program when we play for parties and events, in Berlin and beyond.
I used my old ADAT Blackface to track the drums, the bass, guitar, and vocal,
along with a Mackie 1604Vlz3 and some nice microphones. I mixed in ProTools.
Americans do it in their Garage.
In Berlin, we have Kellers (cellars).
It’s been tremendous fun practicing and rehearsing with Nir Sabag and Florian Kolditz in my Berlin Keller. We’ve been preparing ourselves for a recording session at the Goldfisch, tomorrow the 28th of May. Rehearsals are recorded and will probably become the backbone for my Berlin K’ller videos and recordings. We did record a cue down here for Ben Mergelsberg “Meine Oma in Schlesien”: it sounded just great.
All you need is a 12m2 cellar.
And some gears.
We’ll talk about that, among other things, in my Vlogs.
Those were the first sketches, for the opening sequence of Ben Mergelsberg documentary “Meine Oma in Schlesien”. I first tried to associate the idea of road movie, with that nice old gypsy feel. I wanted to avoid getting too pathétique, by overly emphasizing the already sad voice-over text. So I seeked a happy-sad compromise with the swing feel.
It was great working with / for Ben. It only took a little while for us to tune into the same wavelength, so to say. And then it was just great fun.
Here is a first version of the main theme I proposed.
The documentary revolves around Ruth, Clara’s grandmother, as they drive back to Schlesien: Ruth’s native region.
“Der Film will nicht belehren, nichts Erklären, sondern zeigen was passieren kann wenn eine Enkelin die Oma fragt: Woher kommst Du ?”
I invited some of my new acquaintances and favorite musicians to participate on some parts of the soundtrack, such as Florian Kolditz and Nir Sabag, respectively on bass and drums. Daniel Weltlinger – photographed with his violin – from Australia, blessed us with some awesome violin playing. I had not heard Daniel before that studio session. I had met him once over a year ago, and I just knew. Sometimes you just know, you don’t even need to hear the cat play. The vibe, and a nice conversation are enough. And even then, I was happily surprised…
In any case, thanks to all of you musicians, and Ben and Clara for the chance to work on this lovely project.