Photo by Logan Grendel
For his debut album, pianist/keyboardist Michael Gallant (gallantmusic.com) collaborated with bassist Linda Oh and drummer Chris Infusino on 10 tracks (including nine original songs) that meld melodic, propulsive jazz piano-trio improvisation with a gritty, forceful rock ’n’ roll attitude. “I wanted [the album] to draw in the musical influences that really got to me personally,” Gallant says, citing jazz pianists McCoy Tyner, Herbie Hancock, Art Tatum, Erroll Garner and Bill Evans, as well as the bands Pearl Jam, Phish, Metallica, Aerosmith, and Medeski Martin & Wood. “I knew that the way that I wrote, arranged and played music can be aggressive, and I wanted that to be reflected in the recording and mixing.”
Gallant teamed with engineer Mario J. McNulty (a Grammy Award winner in 2008 with Angelique Kidjo) and recorded in New York City’s MSR Studios (msrstudiosny.com). “They have a beautiful 9-foot Yamaha grand [in Studio A],” Gallant says. “I liked the fact that it challenged me a little bit.” Gallant also played a Nord Electro 3HP through a vintage Leslie speaker.
McNulty recorded the trio to Pro Tools using five microphones on the piano: “Schoeps for the main stereo pair, plus a Neumann FET 47 for the low end, then two stereo room mics, which were probably 414s,” McNulty says. Drums were in a large iso booth with multiple mics for a rock/pop approach, while Oh was in a smaller iso booth playing an acoustic upright bass miked with a KM 84 on top and U 47 on the bottom, and electric bass going through an Ampeg B15 cabinet. “I used all of MSR’s vintage Neve  preamps with EQ,” McNulty says. “I also used some mild compression on several things, like Distressors on kick drums, snares, a little compression on the bass. Nothing too drastic there, but I do try to EQ to tape the sound I want for the mix.”