Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Greg Adams's Short Story

Still trying to catch up to Greg we are posting another of Greg's short storeis.  Posted on East Bay Soul's facebook page September 5th 2010

Greg writes:  2003...Being known primarily as an arranger for horn oriented music is my legacy. And of that I'm very proud. It's both flattering and humbling when my writing is identified by listeners as "my sound". Over the last 40 years I've had the pleasure of participating on several major recording sessions and I still to this day get a thrill when I hear something I know is going to be very special. One of my true loves, though, is writing for strings. I caught the bug early when I did the strings for You're Still A Young Man on Bump City. From then on, it was always a thrill on each project the day arrived when we would be cutting the orchestra. Conducting is like a drug! I've had the good fortune to work with some of the finest string players in L.A. and New York. Also the Metropole Orchestra in Amsterdam. What a band THAT is...But Amsterdam is another story altogether. The food. The coffee shops. But I digress. Back to the strings.

One of my favorite two people in the world are Miwa Yoshida and Masa Nakamura. They are the super pop group Dreams Come True from Tokyo. I've arranged and played on numerous CDs with them over the last 15 years. I'm sure you can remember me talking of them in past SSS's. Miwa also has 2 solo projects to her credit. They are entitled Beauty And Harmony and Beauty And Harmony 2. The string date for B and H 2 was recorded at Sony Studios in New York City. Here is the story. Miwa and Masa, her producer on her B and H 2 lined up a stellar cast of musicians for this CD. We recorded in L.A. and N.Y.C. ( see the line up of players following ) She composed a song of but a single melody. No chords. She then asked me to write it for strings and take it where I wanted to. It was kind of like taking a charcoal drawing and making it into an oil painting. I spent alot of time on it because it just had to be right for her. It had to reflect her...

My role as an arranger is to become a chameleon of sorts and, while bringing my sound to the song, morphing myself into the artist's own sense of who they are and giving a proper representation of where they are going in their song. This can be the difficult part for some, but to me it comes very easy. Especially with Miwa. Day of session. Sony has very tight security and you have to go through metal detectors to enter the building. I got there early and as some the orchestra started to arrive, we learned of a commotion at security. We later found out that one of the violists was packing heat. I kid you not. Oh boy....And he was not giving it up. Scratch one viola from the date. Now you have to know here that Miwa has no idea what I've done here with her melody and I am not capable of playing this arrangement on the piano. I know what it sounds like in my mind though, and I'm anxious for her to hear it. The players are all in their seats and I go into the studio to discuss tempo and bow marks, etc. We do a couple of run throughs to warm up and get the kinks out. Al Schmitt, our engineer says, "Let's make one, then come in and take a listen". We do just that. I go into the booth to hear how it sounds. I ask Miwa, "Do you like it?" She turns to me with tear in her eye and a big smile. I have my answer. These musical moments are magic for me.

For more on Greg Adams go to http://www.eastbaysoul.com/ or http://www.gregadamsmusic.com/