Photo: Jeffrey Dupuis
“The process was basically, ‘Just play,’” says Tracey Freeman, who produced and mixed the Rebirth Brass Band’s latest release, Move Your Body. Freeman and veteran engineer David Farrell brought this rocking traditional NOLA band into Esplanade Studios, a one-year-old facility built into a mid-1800s church in the heart of New Orleans’ Treme district. Horns were set up in the main tracking room, which offers 3,400 square feet of space and 30-foot ceilings. Bass and snare drums were in a booth together, and sousaphone was in another booth. The band played basics live to Pro Tools with a scratch vocal; solos and keeper vocals were tracked later.
“The horn section was miked individually and as a section and with room mics,” Freeman says. Farrell put up Neumann M 150s as section mics; trumpet mics were Royer R-121s; sax, a Neumann TLM 170; and trombones were captured with Neumann U 67s. Drums and percussion pieces were also close- and ambience-miked.
“As far as the recording chain it was the Trident TSM console and a few pre’s that David brought with him,” Freeman says. “I also produced the first Rebirth CD. The only difference this time was that I also mixed this one, but my goal was the same: I wanted to hear every aspect of the band presented as I heard countless times live. I first heard Rebirth when I was a teenager, watching them in Jackson Square. This is a live band; they are used to playing together, [so I was] trying not to disrupt that, yet introducing some recording aspects that could help how they would be presented. Luckily the band was open to all ideas.”