Sometimes it's okay to be your own fan.
Yeah, yeah, narcissist... but it's true. Some of my recordings go back a while now, and even though I've not made (I mean me, Nathan... there are other tracks out there) many recordings recently, my heart is still in making music and I swear I'll get back in the studio one of these days or another. It's not out of lack of desire or laziness, or maybe it is. Who knows... but I have a good number of albums in me yet.
All the same, I look back at my limited output and most of the stuff I love. Mostly I love it because these recordings were done in a time that was still ruled by chance and circumstance. The career was just starting to take off and my friends were all coming into their own too. Some seriously amazing classical music came out of KC in the late 90's and early 2000's. It wasn't just my tribe, but there were also really hip and dialed-in groups all over the city.
This particular time was quite extraordinary. We were in the heart of the renaissance of Downtown KCMO! The Crossroads was just picking up and YJ's Snack Shop was newly minted, with its dank and terrible hipness facade, actually a little Mecca for working artists who stopped by to chat and drink coffee and eat amazing pre-Succotash comfort food cooked up by Beth and then some.
This is more a book that should happen. There are scintillating stories of the good and the bad times wrapped up in the very very loving glow of growing up Artist in KC. WOW.
Well this one time, and I literally do not have the chutzpah to bring in ALL the context right now. But to be short, the Tango Scene in KC, popped off at one point. It began for me by a phone call from a couple friends while was doing a major career step gig. Come back to KC. We're putting a Tango Group together.
Christine Brebes and Beau Bledsoe.
These two music lovers were forming a group called Duo Lorca and they asked me to join them. I was honored and intrigued and the very week I got back we started working on a big set of Carlos Gardel pieces.
Lots of music happened in and around Beau and Christine. They're the real reason I got signed to Sony Classical, which sparked more music and more energy as other friends began to make their way into producing amazing work.
The Duo Lorca (trio) grew and became Tango Lorca. Some amazing artists came through that band. Players and composers alike and singers too, folks you wouldn't believe if you weren't there.
At once point though the core group plus us satellite folks like myself got good enough to cut a record. One of the most unsung and enigmatic heroes of this passell of dire artists was Korey Ireland, who at Wheeler Audio engineered some of the most amazing music I've heard in classical chamber music to date. God this guy was amazing. If i'd really know what we had in this man's ears, I would have could have... moved mountains. He was in my honest opinion one of the most important figures in the KC Classical scene.
Well, I came into town and our Bass Player Pablo Motta had made this arrangement of Vuelvo al Sur, by Astor Piazzolla. I'd listened to this track sung by Roberto Goyeneche and just about died. It was so plaintive and filled with life and regret and humility and pain and defiance and desperation...
In my line of work that's just considered sloppy singing, but to my ears it was magic and I wanted to have that level of pathos, both in joy and in sorrow, when I played my characters on the opera stage. And it's what I go for to this day. I have to keep within the musical boundaries of beautiful singing, but I am just a paesano, singing of life, just like anybody else. This is what I wanted to capture.
Given the opportunity to go back to Wheeler Audio, even after recording in some of the most major of major studios was highly anticipated by this operatic tangoisto. Indeed, the gang was there. Dimly lit, with cool bottles of Boulevard Pale Ale in the fridge and a Neumann mic in the northwest vocal studio, I went to work.
Pablo, who was producing the session was in and out of my booth and the control room. He gave me a pointer here and there, and once we got the arrangement down, just let everyone do their thing.
The deep plush of the studio enveloped us, this KC Clatch. And we vibrated with the essence of Tango.
Thank you ...
for putting this track together and sponsoring and working overtime to support Tango in KC.
This track, Vuelvo Al Sur in this film... It is without a doubt, unforgettable, not only because it is truly an amazing recording, but because it happened during one of the best times in our lives. Peace and prosperity reigned.