Drop the Needle Round 1: The Daniel Clarke edition

We asked for submissions of home recordings, jam sessions, rehearsals, and more, and we got tunes aplenty. Our featured judge, Daniel Clarke, listened and selected his favorites. The result is our very first round of Drop the Needle.

Editor’s note: We had 34 submissions for our very first round of Drop the Needle. Our enthusiastic judge, keyboardist Daniel Clarke, narrowed the list down to his favorite 14 tracks before leaving town for a touring gig with the Dixie Chicks. The tunes are presented here for your listening pleasure, along with Daniel’s notes and the artists’ remarks, if they cared to share. Thanks to Daniel for putting his time into this new project and the musicians for sending their works in. We look forward to hearing more submissions in future rounds!

The hardest thing for me as a judge was trying to hear the intent of every piece. This was really interesting to specifically listen for the intent… There might be a “silly” sounding piece that may just sound silly out of context… but if it was titled “The First McDonald’s Playground on Mars” then it would be flat out brilliant. You know? I dug all of the entries…really great stuff. The lack of jazz from the entries was surprising… I love jazz…

I miss jazz. Come back! Ha! What do I mean when I say jazz??? I don’t know! What I do know is that there is a lot of music happening in Richmond, VA and I’m so excited to hear what will be happening in the coming years. I’m so proud to be a part of this music community. It’s like no other in the world.

A quick shout out to my man Bob Hallahan! A great friend, musician and teacher. His duet with Dave Douglas [on the VCU Jazz Orchestra I concert] brought tears to my eyes. What is jazz? THAT is jazz!! What a farewell Bob! A huge heartfelt thank you from all of us to you man. Richmond was lucky to have you. NAHALLAH!

Listen to the entire playlist:

[audio:http://rvanews.net/sounds/Jazz/droptheneedle1/Droptheneedle1_podcast.mp3|titles=Drop the Needle #1|artists=Various Artists]

Download the entire playlist

1. “Reflective” – Taylor Barnett

Daniel Clarke says: Just plain great trumpet playing! Beautiful melodies.

The artist says: This is a textural composition that I did in GarageBand. I started with a short, echoing keyboard loop that was in the Garage Band library (it’s the first thing that you hear). I added several layers of midi instruments and changed the tonality of the original loop by going into the midi controls and moving things around. After all of the layers were in, I improvised the trumpet part over top of it all.

I used my iMac, Presonus Firebox interface, and an Audio Technica mic.

The musician: Taylor Barnett (trumpet).


http://rvanews.net/sounds/Jazz/droptheneedle1/taylorbarnett_reflective.mp3|titles=Reflective|artists=Taylor Barnett]

2. “Elgin Parks His Car” – The New Belgians

DC says: Go ahead cats! Sounds awesome!

The artist says: Recorded at ALB Tech.

The musicians: Todd Herrington (guitar – mostly, bass), Brian Mahne (keyboard, organ bass), Joel DeNunzio (drums), Marcus Tenney (saxophone), Charles Arthur (lap steel, guitar).


http://rvanews.net/sounds/Jazz/droptheneedle1/08%20Elgin%20Parks%20His%20Car.mp3|titles=Elgin Parks His Car|artists=The New Belgians]

3. “Outlaws Of The Sea” – Boas

DC says: Oh! This beat is bad!

The artist says: “Outlaws Of The Sea” was spawned from a day I spent going through random cassettes at my house that my roommate had picked up for their rediculousness. This one in particular sampled from an opera tape, then from a informational kids tape about kids hanging out with dinosaurs. opera+kids talking about dinosaurs+vicious drum n bass

The musician: Tyler Newbold.


http://rvanews.net/sounds/Jazz/droptheneedle1/Boas%20-%20Outlaws%20Of%20The%20Sea.mp3|titles=Outlaws Of The Sea|artists=Boas]

4. “Joe Love” – Tom Beekman

DC says: Beautiful chords, some freaky noises… that makes people happy.

The artist says: Logic Pro was used, as well as I believe Amplitube, a guitar modeling software. The original idea was to put a track of answering machine messages to it. There isn’t any synth until after the crazy guitar part (it’s the static sound). The rest of it is all re-workings of three different riffs, sometimes played backwards.

The musician: Tom Beekman (guitar, bass, synth)


http://rvanews.net/sounds/Jazz/droptheneedle1/JoeLove.mp3|titles=Joe Love|artists=Tom Beekman]

5. “Give Me Life” – Bryce McCormick

DC says: I love this! Oddly enough… the spirit of this really reminds me of McCartney.

The artist says: This was recorded in my home studio.

The bass was me on the floor playing organ pedals with my hands. The wah wah lead line is my Rhodes Mk1 fed through some distortion and wah. The software I used is Sonar 6 with a little help from Reason. Allen Sleeman played a Yamaha Oak custom kit with a 10, 12, and 15 inch floor tom. Hi hats are K 14 inch light. Only 1 cymbal was used, a 21 inch HHX Groove Ride. Snare is a Yamaha maple snare(this snare was used by Antonio Sanchez when he came to Richmond with Pat Metheny… he borrowed it from Richmond Music Center). The mics that I used are the Rode K1 Tube Condenser, Se Electronics r1 ribbon, sm57, Peluso matched pair of small condensers. Wave, API and SSL among others were the plug-ins used. The samples heard throughout came from vinyl records of the ‘Mama’s and the Papa’s'(female voice)- and ‘the Last Poets'(poetry style speaking at the end). Synth is a Korg MS2000. My vocals are very processed(as you can hear) through reverb, delay, distortion, eq, and compression…

The musicians: Bryce McCormick (all instruments, keyboards, percussion and effects), Allen Sleeman (drum set).


http://rvanews.net/sounds/Jazz/droptheneedle1/Bryce%27s%20Instrumentals%20Give%20Me%20Life.mp3|titles=Give Me Life|artists=Bryce McCormick]

6. “Get Down” – The GetDowns

DC says: Time for the GET DOWN YA’LL!!!!

The artist says: I make little songs in my free time….Just for fun…..as a palate cleanser from all the jazz and brass band stuff..this is strictly for fun. I wrote all the music using synth patches, drum samples, electric bass and live percussion. I put it together using garage band. Lauren did most of the lyrics..me and Ballard contributed. This is in the same boat as the Supa Fly Floosies…..making pop songs using no money..showing how lazy and lame the big budget pop world can be.

The musicians: Reggie Pace, Lauren Serpa, Ballard Midyette.


http://rvanews.net/sounds/Jazz/droptheneedle1/get%20down.mp3|titles=Get Down|artists=The GetDowns]

7. “Pentatonic 01” – Martin McCavitt

DC says: Patient, in the moment, in the groove… wow. This blows me away!

The musician: Martin McCavitt (pianet).


http://rvanews.net/sounds/Jazz/droptheneedle1/06%20Pentatonic%2001.mp3|titles=Pentatonic 01|artists=Martin McCavitt]

8. “The Ride” – Bryce McCormick

DC says: Well done!

The artist says: Lots of plug ins, samples, effects, evolving beat patterns… make sure you stay tuned to the track. At about 3 minutes, it goes into 5. Vocals and rhodes were the only thing recorded live… everything else is programmed… Track is called ‘The Ride’. Hope you like it…

The file is called Chick Corea because I used his Electric Band as the very first sample of the track…

The musician: Bryce McCormick (keyboard, vocals).


http://rvanews.net/sounds/Jazz/droptheneedle1/Chick%20Corea%20Final.mp3|titles=The Ride|artists=Bryce McCormick]

9. “Smell Ya Laser” – Aquafuture

DC says: Great band having fun. Gotta love that. Fun tune.

The artist says: This was recorded in our practice space as a rough demo, all one live take with a few room mics.

The musicians: Evan Howard (keyboards/piano), Nathan Koch (saxophone), Adam Bonini (bass), Randy Bradley (drums/percussion).


http://rvanews.net/sounds/Jazz/droptheneedle1/Smell%20Ya%20Laser.mp3|titles=Smell Ya Laser|artists=Aquafuture]

10. “Pianet 1.13.09 #1” – Martin McCavitt

DC says: Man… This is such great music. Listening, freedom, melody…

The musician: Martin McCavitt (pianet).


http://rvanews.net/sounds/Jazz/droptheneedle1/01%20Pianet%201.13.09%20%231.mp3|titles=Pianet 1.13.09 #1|artists=Martin McCavitt]

11. “What We Had” – The New Belgians

DC says: If the Crusader’s had a baby with Curtis Mayfield, and that baby moved to Richmond, VA and recorded a rehearsal… this is what it would be. Workin it out! This is a fabulous song!

The musicians: Todd Herrington (guitar – mostly, bass), Brian Mahne (keyboard, organ bass), Joel DeNunzio (drums), Marcus Tenney (saxophone), Charles Arthur (lap steel, guitar).


http://rvanews.net/sounds/Jazz/droptheneedle1/06%20What%20We%20Had.mp3|titles=What We Had|artists=The New Belgians]

12. “Words About Richmond Off The Top Of Our Heads” – Park Avenue Players

DC says: This captures the spirit of what this whole project is about. Here is a song being born. Hilarious and awesome!

The artist says: Our Music Circle meets once a month to record harmony-heavy music together, usually improvisational in nature. We like mashups and adaptations of dance club hits. This track is from March 31, 2010. This track was recorded with an Olympus WS-321M handheld digital voice recorder receiving input from an AT2050 condensor mic hooked up to a PV10 soundboard, and converted from WMA to MP3 using Audacity. The entire rig fits in a duffel bag.

The musicians: Mark Schairbaum (guitar and vocals), Becca Hankins (djembe), Kim Forquer (violin), Benji Tull (guitar, percussive chains, and vocals), Aaron Roth, Kerri Pritchard, Robin Pritchard, Tim Reed (vocals and harmony).


http://rvanews.net/sounds/Jazz/droptheneedle1/01%20Words%20About%20Richmond%20Off%20The%20Top%20of%20Our%20Heads.mp3|titles=Words About Richmond Off The Top Of Our Heads|artists=Park Avenue Players]

13. “July 7” – Elliott Shelton

DC says: Again… kinda reminds of some obscure tracks on McCartney II. Cool!

The musician: Elliott Shelton (EH2880, Wandering Genie, keyboard, and garage band).


http://rvanews.net/sounds/Jazz/droptheneedle1/july72edit.mp3|titles=July 7|artists=Elliott Shelton]

14. “Meditation words #4” – Martin McCavitt

DC says: Still freaking me out! Dig the fanfare at 40 seconds! I’m so glad this music was submitted! The Rhodes (I assume) sounds so amazing and has so much personality. The recording quality is also amazing! I just think it’s the perfect combination of elements! I love following these melodies… it’s always surprising where they end up…

The musician: Martin McCavitt (pianet).


http://rvanews.net/sounds/Jazz/droptheneedle1/09%20Meditation%20words%20%234.mp3|titles=Meditation words #4|artists=Martin McCavitt]
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