Kekkonen elää! #4
Joakim Berghäll & Aki Rissanen: Bamboozle!
This time we're proud to present you another jazz duet session, this time the fantastic saxophonist Joakim Berghäll and someone you know from our previous session, great pianist and keyboardist Aki Rissanen! The duet was - conveniently for all! - recorded on the same day as the Verneri Pohjola & Aki Rissanen session.
The duo collaborated on Joakim's Dialogues I album (released in september last year, it's first in a series of duet albums) on the track "Bamboozle!" which they also perform here, although with a slightly different choice of instruments: Joakim plays baritone sax instead of the alto. Also, on the album Aki plays grand piano.
Performed by Joakim Berghäll & Aki Rissanen
Written by Joakim Berghäll
Recorded by Mikko Raita & Julius Mauranen
Mixed by Mikko Raita
Video by Luomustudio
In association with Soundtools
ABOUT THE RECORDING
The performance was pretty relaxed, Joakim & Aki laid down a couple of takes and chose their favourite. As this was a duet with only a single instrument each and no multitasking, it was a focused and concise session.
The setup was very similar to Verneri's & Aki's session (watch and read more about it here), as a matter of fact the piano setup was identical: A-B pair of Neumann CMV-563's in the back, a pair of AT4081 ribbon mics in the front side aiming at the hammers and a pair of workhorse SM-57's very close to the body of the piano in the back. Neumanns and AT's went through Knif Audio V804 mic preamps of which we have two at the studio.
Joakim's baritone sax was miked with our vintage crown jewel Neumann U48 just above the bell and a supplementary side mic (Audio-Technica 4047) to pick up some more body.
There were a pair of ambience mics: AKG C414 XLS behind Joakim and Line Audio CM3's facing away from the piano (see pictures!).
ABOUT THE MIXING OF "BAMBOOZLE!" (by Mikko)
The mix here is quite similar to the one we already documented earlier about mixing “Hyperballad”, recorded the same day and with the same piano recording, and again with wonderful world class musicians just doing their thing.
I actually started the mix by importing some mixer settings from the “Hyperballad” session, though obviously it had to be tweaked to work here where the whole arrangement is just the piano and sax. I kept the same master section (Vintagedesign SU-1, McDsp AC-1, Waves SSL, parallel DUY DaD Tape & L2007) as well as moderate HEAT processing.
For the piano, I had to tone tone down the large low end boost I had created for the prepared low end on Hyperballad for a more natural upright sound, though in the end Aki ended up requesting slightly more low end hype - their album version was recorded with a quality grand piano after all! To sweeten things I again used a hint of my EMT 140 Plate and Valhalladsp’s ValhallaVintageVerb, as well as some room mics. Here I ended up favoring the 414’s behind the sax despite having the more piano-centric Line Audios available as well - the 414's just had a nice combined room tone. Due to the full acoustic nature of this track I ended up dropping the KNIF Vari-Mu parallel compression I had on the piano in the previous mix, though I did keep slight group compression on it from the Masssey CT5.
For Joakim's baritone, I ended up using both mics with the low side mic -10db, from which I also cut some low mids to make it less boomy. I then grouped these and added very mild compression with both the Massey CT5 (actually added already during recording) and a Softube TLA-100A, as well as just tiny midrange dips in the 750 and 1900 Hz ranges. To “top” things off I added a few dBs at 10k on the Softube Trident A-Range.
For spatial effects I again used the prerecorded Stocktronics plate but also added some EMT 140 Plate as well as Softube TSAR & ValhallaVintageVerb, both at a darkish setting and hovering around the 2,5-3s range. I also used the “1970s” color preset on the Valhalla.
From there, it was just a matter of balancing the 2 instruments with very small rides, mostly to get the end of the piano solo and the transition to the sax solo to really gel. I wish all mixes were this simple and enjoyable!