Clark Media Productions

Clark Media Productions is a place for me to share my love of audio production, music, trombone, and music technology. Subscribe to my email list for late breaking blog posts, videos, and educational content!

Filtering by Category: Trombonists

Great 3 days of recording with Stiletto Brass

I recently had a chance to record and produce for an outstanding brass quintet, Stiletto Brass. This ensemble has been around for quite a few years, and has been a consistent presence at international brass festivals and workshops. They have a previous album, featuring none other than Doc Severinsen on trumpet, and they contacted me this spring about putting a new album together this summer.

I simply love recording brass quintet. The ability to hear the sonic blend and resonance of a great brass ensemble, hearing the overtones produced when all the voices are in tune and balanced, is truly a special experience in the musical world. Stiletto Brass has the enviable trait of having 5 individuals who each have a stylish musical voice of their own, able to stand out as soloists, yet still come together to produce a beautiful, sonorous, and blended sound quality that fits the various styles they recorded perfectly.

Speaking of style, Stiletto Brass is able to play anything from jazz, to baroque, to modern music composed just for them, in a convincing way. It was a treat to hear a new work commissioned by the ensemble by Drew Bonner, as well as a jazz tune called Boy Meets Horn (nicknamed Girl Meets Horn by both the group and me), a baroque standard by William Boyce, and a piece by Andre Lafosse that I wasn’t familiar with called Suite Impromptu. Lafosse was professor of trombone at the Conservatoire de Paris from 1948 - 1960, and contributed some important works to the trombone, and brass quintet literature. The piece Stiletto found and recorded is an absolute delight.

For the recording, I covered all my bases and used two sets of main mics (omni and cardioid), plus my stereo ribbon mic to gather the sound in the room where we recorded. Flank mics to add width, and spot mics for any minute balance adjustment in post production rounded out the mic-ing plan. The chapel at Mt. Vernon Unitarian Church was a beautiful venue for us to record in for the three day session.

Oh, and did I mention that this ensemble is all WOMEN?!?! I figured you might guess that… ;) I have to say it is wonderful to see these musicians leading the way as brass players in a field that is starting to see greater numbers of women as professionals. I can only imagine the young girls who might be inspired to know that they can play trombone, tuba, horn, or trumpet, and that they have professional role models to hear and emulate. A discussion about the title of “Boy Meets Horn” needing some reworking for this recording just might have taken place… I can’t wait for you to hear it!

Release details will be forthcoming, and I will certainly make an announcement here when the finished recording is ready. I’m excited for you to hear and to get to know Stiletto Brass.

Stiletto Brass is Amy Gilreath and Susan Rider (trumpets), Rachel Hockenberry (horn), Natalie Mannix (trombone), Velvet Brown (tuba)

You may find their website HERE.

Their first album is HERE.

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Happy faces when the producer says, “OK, that’s a wrap!!!”

Happy faces when the producer says, “OK, that’s a wrap!!!”

Posaune Decuple, Live at the Glencairn Museum

Last April, Posaune Decuple, the trombone super group formed by the late Glenn Dodson, played a concert at the beautiful Glencairn Museum in Bryn Athyn, Pennsylvania. The video excerpt is from a very interesting piece from Brazilian composer, Fernando Deddos.

I give thanks... for tape transfers! (Students of Neill Humfeld, you will want to read... ;)

I have many things to be thankful for this Thanksgiving.  A wonderful, healthy family, colleagues that are the absolute best to work with, and a job that I love.  However, on the music front, one thing stands out to me this November that I didn’t see coming, even a month ago.

I have previously written about my teacher, Dr. Neill Humfeld, and his influence on me, and a little about his musicianship and teaching.  When Dr. Humfeld passed, my dad and I came into possession of a couple boxes of analog tape (the reel to reel kind) containing all kinds of recordings of Dr. H from many years of recitals and concerts.  It has been one of those things that  I look at and say, “man, we really gotta get that transferred so we can listen to it!”  I never knew what that entailed, or how you would even go about doing it, until recently...

Fast forward to the past year, where my own interest in audio, especially in producing and preserving live performances, has come into play.  This fall, coincidentally, I have been taking a course online through Berklee College of Music called Audio Mastering, taught by an expert engineer, Marc Dieter-Einstmann (check out Marc’s mastering studio HERE).  Mastering is the final step in the production process for any audio recording.  A recording gets made (live or in studio), and then gets mixed.  In the mixing stage, the mix engineer takes all the audio that was recorded (sometimes as many as 100 tracks or more), and essentially places all those voices in the stereo field (where you locate that sound when you hear the recording) and gives the recording it’s tonal shape, and many other musical variables that make a certain record sound unique.  In mastering, the engineer takes the fully mixed recording and puts the finishing touches on it.  These can be musical or tonal adjustments (maybe something the mix engineer missed or didn’t hear), technical corrections (bad edits, noise removal), and general quality control.  Finally, a mastering engineer will set the loudness level of the recording, and produce a “master” containing all the tracks of the album, in the correct order, and with great care to ensure there are no functional errors.  

To hear these performances come back to life, after over 50 years for some of them, is truly a delight.  To hear Dr. Humfeld’s sound, in performances I’ve never heard before, is truly something to be thankful for.  

So, what to do with these?  Well, after speaking with Dr. Humfeld’s daughter, Nancy Jo Humfeld, I would like to continue to transfer more of these recitals and create a “BEST OF” album of Dr. Humfeld’s recitals over the years.  On many of these tapes, he speaks at length to the audience about the music he performs, and many of the recordings reflect his warm sense of humor that many of us came to love from knowing him.  

Stay tuned, there is much more to come.  I plan to make this project a major focus of my 2019.  

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.  May you all be blessed to love, make music, and enjoy the people in our lives that are important to us!



Posaune Decuple, Trombone "super group", Performs near Philadelphia

I had a wonderful experience this past April. Wonderful in many ways, not the least of which was a chance to honor my former teacher and former Principal Trombone of the Philadelphia Orchestra, the late Glenn Dodson. While Glenn was alive, he nurtured a passion for trombone choir music among his students and colleagues. Glenn spearheaded the ensemble Posaune Decuple. The choir consisted mostly of Glenn’s former students at the Curtis Institute, but was also honored to have colleagues and friends perform on many occasions. Since Glenn’s passing, the group has endeavored to keep performing, even if they are only able to gather once per year or so. Joseph Alessi, Blair Bollinger, and Darrin Milling have been stalwart supporters, organizers, and performers for many years with the ensemble, and they are continuing the hard work of organizing concerts and coordinating the schedules of so many busy performers. I was fortunate to be invited to play this year, and due to an abundance of players (and having some pieces off on the concert), I asked if I could record audio and video for this year’s concert. I’d like to share the first video I’ve put together of the concert. There was so much fantastic playing, it was hard to choose what to showcase! I hope you enjoy!

Posaune Decuple 2018 Roster:

Tenor Trombones:

Joseph Alessi - Principal Trombone, New York Philharmonic

Eric Carlson - Second Trombone, Philadelphia Orchestra

Chris Clark - "The President's Own" U.S. Marine Band

David Finlayson - Second Trombone, New York Philharmonic

Nitzan Haroz - Principal Trombone, Philadelphia Orchestra

Mark Lawrence - former Principal Trombone, The San Francisco Symphony, currently faculty at The Colburn School

Carl Lenthe - former Principal Trombone, Bamberg (Germany) Symphony Orchestra, currently faculty at Indiana University

Jim Nova - Second Trombone, Pittsburgh Symphony

Matt Vaughn - Co-principal Trombone, Philadelphia Orchestra

Colin Williams - Associate Principal Trombone, New York Philharmonic

Bass Trombones:

Blair Bollinger - Bass Trombone, Philadelphia Orchestra

George Curran - Bass Trombone, New York Philharmonic

Darrin Milling - Bass Trombone Principal, São Paolo State Symphony

Music by:

Anthony DiLorenzo

G.F. Handel/arr. Carlson

Steven Verhelst

John Williams/arr. Glenn Dodson

Audio/Video recording: Clark Media Productions

Photography: Steven Osborne, Matthew Lynch, Chris Clark

Ever hear of HER???!!!

So, after my David Bowie post recently, I came across another amazing musician that I'm mortified to learn I had never heard of, nor heard... My wife and son brought home a book from our public library today called "Little Melba and Her Big Trombone".  What an amazing story.  I actually thought, when we began the book, "this must be fiction..."  Once again, truth is stranger than fiction... That an African-American woman could do what she did in the 1950s and 60s, is amazing.  She went on the road with Dizzy, Duke, Quincy, and many others. There's a great NPR profile called "Women in Jazz", as well as another NPR Music piece called Melba Liston: Bones of an Arranger.  Check them out!  

Here's Melba Liston, 1960, Lausanne, with Quincy Jones...


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