From the cover of "Young and Foolish"
About the Album
In 2002 I recorded my first solo album with the Glenn Miller Orchestra. Since that time, I have been looking forward to working on a second project that would be a bit different than the first, but still showcase my singing with a big band. After the first project, I became interested in the production style of the early stereo recordings of my favorite singer, Frank Sinatra. Along with studying those phenomenal recordings from the late 1950s and early 1960s, I began listening more intently “past” Sinatra’s voice to the musical arrangements and orchestrations that supported his singing. And so, two strains of interest began to develop: production and orchestration. The result is this album.
The music chosen for this project is the music I grew up with. There is a wide variety of songs on this album, spanning from Hank Williams, Sr. and Roger Miller’s country music to Elvis Presley and Buddy Holly’s early rock and roll style to the Nat “King” Cole Trio, the great Cole Porter, and the recording industry’s first gold record of Glenn Miller’s “Chattanooga Choo Choo.” The title track, “Young and Foolish,” was introduced to me by my dear friend and musical mentor, Harris Wheeler. It is a lovely song that I feel stands alone on this album. Bob Thornton did a beautiful job accompanying me, making for a wonderful intro to this largely up-tempo big band album.
The musical arrangements and orchestrations on this album are a result of the influences of my three favorite arrangers who wrote for Frank Sinatra: Nelson Riddle, Billy May, and Neal Hefti. Other influences are the music of Ray Charles and recordings of my favorite big band, the Count Basie Orchestra. These musicians are some of my biggest heroes in the great world of music. They created much of the musical ideas of this particular genre and have given me great happiness in my life. I am forever grateful to them.
The sound production of this album is a result of hours and hours of listening and study involving the early stereo recordings that came out of Capitol, Reprise, and Verve records. Those particular recording sessions were tracked “live” in the sense that all of the musicians were present, including the vocalist, and recorded all at one time. During Frank Sinatra’s recording sessions, he would sing live with the band in the same room…with no headphones. The trumpets and trombones were recorded as one brass section, with one microphone in front of the entire section. The saxophones were treated the same way, with one microphone recording them. There were typically one or two microphones to record the drums, one microphone to record the acoustic bass, and one microphone to record the piano. There was not much isolation to be had in such a situation. The sound of the brass section would bleed into the saxophone and piano microphones and the drums would bleed into all microphones, etc. Some of the most exciting recordings that I’ve heard come from this period and were recorded this way.
I am very grateful to have worked with Kendall Thomsen on this project. Kendall is an extremely talented musician and recording engineer, with great ears and a personality that made this experience very enjoyable. When I expressed to Kendall that I wanted to pattern this album after those early stereo recordings, he was happy to oblige and take on the challenge. The end result is a beautiful “hi-fi” recording enhanced by our modern technology. The actual session was set up like those early stereo sessions, as explained above. The recordings were tracked “live” and I sang “live” with the band…no headphones. The piano and acoustic bass were recorded with one microphone on each instrument. I am very pleased with the warm and “woody” sound of the acoustic bass. Two microphones were used on this recording to pick up the drums. The brass section was recorded with one microphone and the same technique was used for the saxophone section. One stereo microphone was setup in order to pick up the overall sound of the band in the room. We needed a large room to accommodate the number of musicians and the “big” sound of a big band. Starke Lake Studios was the perfect room for this project. Also, with such a setup, the band has to be made up of expert musicians that are able to perform the music with little to no rehearsing and superb musicianship. Many thanks go to Greg Parnell for putting this ensemble together. I truly believe that all of these elements will make for an exciting musical experience for you, the listener. I hope you enjoy!