A week ago I found myself in the studio recording with the infallible rhythm section of Dunkan Robertson [bass] and Fraser De Banzie [drums] (both of Kung Fu Academy fame) recording an old Jeff Beck track called “Play With Me“. This track will be part of my professional portfolio that I am compiling for a university submission.
Having played with both of these musicians for years now there is a natural dialogue and chemistry that unfolds whenever we play together. I was keen to capture this performance entirely live in a single complete take without a click track. (Keyboards were overdubbed by FDB at a second session.) While we did cover this song quite literally, I feel the lack of imagination in arrangement is made up for by the personality of the performance.
One unusual twist of the sessions was finding myself plugging into the rig of my KFA comrade Laurence Murray: a Fulltone Full-Drive 2 straight into a floored (2nd channel on 12) Fender Blues Deluxe which – as is always the case – ended up sounded exactly like my usual rig in the final mix.
I particularly enjoy improvising over this track as the solo section, which is actually alternating between F7 and C7, can simply be treated as a vamp over F7 which offers a plethora of exciting harmonic possibilities for the improviser. For those interested (form a cue, please!) I’ll be posting a transcription and analysis of my solo at some point in the near future.
As a brief postscript to the evening: adding an element of tension to the recording session was our self-inflicted race against the clock. I had to be back home in Falkirk the following morning so I was planning to catch the last train (which leaves at 11.30) which was a challenge given that we had booked the studio from 10-midnight. After the usual prolonged set up, we managed to track the master at around 11.10pm. Leaving most of my equipment in the studio I ran for the train, making it to the station within ten minutes. Awaiting me was the news that someone had been struck by a train. The result? Last train had been cancelled and a rather expensive taxi home had been ordered for me…