I’m reminded of the line from Dylan’s “When I Paint My Masterpiece” — “on a plane ride so bumpy that I almost cried.” The air is choppy, the seat is flexing, and I’m thinking about how great the last 17 years at Berklee have been. And how much I don’t want them to end here, above the Maryland countryside, in an Airbus.
But the skies clear, we land at National Airport, and in 45 minutes, we’re at Sirius XM, unpacking gear and testing mics. It’s good to be back here. Such a beautiful room, the gear is first-rate, and Greg Chaplin, our bassist, is simpatico with “Bob” the rental upright. It’s going to be a good session.
After some commissary chow, and some very funny, spot-on impressions of fellow students who are not present, time to start recording.
The room sounds warm, the mics are right, and the mix is good. Jack MacInnis has made another superb, safe place for these young men to create and for him to capture, their art.
15 minutes in, the band has hit their stride, and into the control room walks Mark Ruffin, Real Jazz program director. And soon, despite all he has to do today, editing, voice-tracking, and hosting radio programs, he’s fixed right on the band, almost inside it, he’s listening so intently. Dreads swinging a little as his head dips and tips with transitions and riffs he particularly likes. Clearly enjoying himself.
“Momentum.” “Desahogo.” And a tune with a Louisiana connection, the band’s nod to the Duke Ellington Festival’s New Orleans theme this year. Gottschalk was the composer.
An hour is gone almost before we know it, congratulations and smiles go around. And then Roy is sitting with Mark in an interview studio. I hope you get to hear their talk.