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Chris Cacavas/Ed Abbiatti “Me and the Devil” is Released in the USA!

Just picked this up off Ed Abbiati’s Facebook page. The record Ed did last year with Chris Cacavas of Green on Red, “Me and the Devil,” which features yours truly playing harmonica on two tracks, has been released in the USA by Burnside Distribution. Let Ed tell the story…
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Audio/Video, Blog, Pro Tips & Techniques, Recommended Artists & Recordings, Recommended Gear, Recorded Performances (live and otherwise)

“Blue Monk” on the Country-Tuned Harp: It’s All About the Chords

I last recorded Thelonius Monk‘s “Blue Monk” (which Monk originally released in recorded form in 1954) for my solo acoustic CD “The Act of Being Free in One Act” in 1994 as part of a medley that included Jimmy Reed’s “Let it Roll” and “Bright Lights, Big City.” That recording was done on a standard-tuned Lee Oskar G harp played in second position.
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Audio/Video, Blog, Hunter's Effects, Recommended Artists & Recordings, Recommended Gear, Recorded Performances (live and otherwise)

Looping Setups Old and New and a Couple of New Loop Jams

I decided in the last couple of days to buy some new gear for looping. The main idea with this gear is to sync everything to everything: loopers to each other, loopers to drum machines, drum machines to sequencers–you name it, I want it synced up.
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Blog, Hunter's Effects, Recommended Gear, Recorded Performances (live and otherwise)

Playing the Regionals for the Inc. Magazine Battle of the Corporate Bands

I was contacted earlier this year by Mike Corso, who like me works at Gartner, Inc. to ask me if I’d like to play with a (mostly) Gartner employee band in the Inc. Magazine Battle of the Corporate Bands. Mike, who is a frontman in the mold of Peter Wolf–I actually like his voice better than Wolf’s–also recruited Ira Langstein to play guitar, Steve Danyko for drums, and fellow Gartnerite Bill Burkhardt for bass. We played the regional semifinal competition in Washington DC today (May 30, 2015), and we’re one of two bands from this regional competition (the other is Detached Retina) going through to the finals on September 12 at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio.

So I’m going to play the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Cool.
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Big Shimmering Textures: Comin’ Home Baby Looped Live

I recorded this performance of “Comin’ Home Baby” live, using Lee Oskar natural minor harps in G and F, an Audix Fireball mic, a Digitech RP500 running my patch set, a Digitech JamMan Stereo looper, a Peavey KB2 keyboard amp, and a Zoom H4 to capture the sounds on the night of March 7 2015.

I obviously like this tune a lot–I think this is the third time I’ve posted a live version of it to my site, and I recorded it live in the studio for my first CD, “The Act of Being Free in One Act.” I’m posting another version because I really think the sounds on this one are new and different, and very beautiful. The piece is a good example of how a multiFX device and a looper can produce some striking layers of sound. I wouldn’t mind if I’d played it a little tighter on the groove, but the feeling is strong. The harp sounds include a double octave down, a chorused sound with prominent delay, and a tenor sax sound that’s remarkably accurate in the lower register of the harp.

One technique is worth calling out. On the first 12 bars, I alternate between a bass note and chords. I use two natural minor harps, in G and F, to give me the right bass notes and chords (nice fat minor 7th and 9th voicings). I have the Digitech RP500 set up to shift the pitch between two octaves down and an octave down, and I rock the pedal from toe down to toe up to shift from one to the other, playing the bass notes two octaves down and the chords one octave down. That’s an example of how you can use the RP’s expression pedal to change the sound dramatically. (The RP500 offers lots of ways to change the sound instantly and dramatically. I’ve started programming all the FX for all my patches because I can turn them off and on so easily.) Of course, I could do the same thing by setting up an octave down patch and a double octave down patch side by side on the RP500, and in fact I’ve used that approach on occasion–it’s how I configured the bass layers for my performance of “Early to Bed.” But I think the sound of the pitch sliding by is pretty cool for this song.

It’s fun to compare this version of the piece with the duet I recorded live with Wim Dijkgraaf in a performance in Sao Paolo, Brazil in October 2014. The duet is more about lines, and the looped version is more about textures. Both versions make their respective emotional points.

Enjoy.

“Comin’ Home baby” recorded live by Richard Hunter 7 March 2015

Audio/Video, Blog, Hunter's Effects, Recommended Artists & Recordings, Recommended Gear, Recorded Performances (live and otherwise)

4 Years After: Mississippi Queen Redux

I recorded myself performing Mountain’s “Mississippi Queen” about four years ago, and I happened to record it again last week while I was running through my solo repertoire. This performance is backed by the same recorded arrangement I used four years ago, so it’s easy to compare the performances.
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Blog, Hunter's Effects, Recommended Gear, Recorded Performances (live and otherwise)

Big Sounds Looped and Unlooped: Zoom G3 and Digitech RP500 Combined

I’ve been jamming with my new rig, and as usual I’m recording those jams. The new rig lets me get big tones in two different ways: first, I can combine the amp modelers and the iStomp running SwingShift to get big textures with lots of motion in them in real time; then, I can loop those sounds and add more on top.

The rig that makes the amazing big sounds

The rig that makes the amazing big sounds

Here’s a cool sample that combines the Zoom G3 with the Digitech RP500. The Zoom is running a patch from my new set for Zoom G3 that features an autowah with a Twin Reverb amp model. The Digitech RP500 is running the patch called “TuffSli” from my patch set for RP500, and it’s also getting its input from the iStomp running SwingShift, meaning that there are multiple octaves in the signal. You can hear the pitch of the RP500 moving up and down against the G3’s tones as I work the expression pedal to shift the pitch.

This one uses the same patches on the same devices as the first, but the lines are played in chords. The pitch on the Zoom G3 doesn’t change in tandem with the RP500, but because the RP500 patch has a stronger tone than the G3, you hear both sounds as shifting pitch, with the autowah putting more attack on the tone.

This sound is created by looping a phrase from the Digitech RP500 using a single patch from my RP500 patch set, MA816D, which shifts the pitch two octaves down or 1 octave down depending on the expression pedal. I record a phrase using both, then play over that using a very nice clean amped tone based on a Fender Twin amp model with a big medium-length delay.

And finally, a nice funky phrase that uses a Zoom G3 patch that combines a Bassman amp model with the G3’s very funky phase shifter, over which I play various tones from the RP500.

All these samples were recorded with a Zoom H4 parked a few inches from the front grill of a Peavey KB2 keyboard amp. Sample volumes were normalized to the same level; otherwise there was no post-recording processing applied.

Enjoy!

Blog, Hunter's Effects, Hunter's Music, Recommended Artists & Recordings, Recommended Gear, Recorded Performances (live and otherwise)

“Keepers of the Streak” Is Totally Cool, Whether or Not You’re All About Football

As readers of my blog know, just before the end of 2014, I did a couple of recording sessions for an ESPN documentary called “Keepers of the Streak.” To my surprise, the show, which I watched last night from start to finish, turned out to be a very cool piece about four very accomplished photographers who’ve collectively photographed every Superbowl from the start. The music included a lot of nice stuff that I didn’t know about when I recorded my own parts, and most of my favorite harmonica cues from the sessions ended up in the final cut, with the harp positioned nicely up front in the mix. I enjoyed every minute of it, which is saying a lot, because I’m not really a bigtime football fan. (Beyonce won the SuperBowl last year, right? I wish I’d seen that…)
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Blog, Hunter's Effects, Recommended Gear, Recorded Performances (live and otherwise)

Keepers of the Streak Part 2

I reported on this blog not long ago about a session I did for an ESPN movie called “Keepers of the Streak.” I spent Christmas in Idaho, and not long after I arrived there I got a call for a second session for this movie. The composer, Brian Keane, specifically asked if I could do acoustic tracks, and mentioned that he wanted something along the line of Toots Thielemans, meaning of course some cool-toned chromatic harp.

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