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Jazz students record new CD – free to everyone at June 4 concert

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Music student Lara Patton works in recording studio on new jazz CD. (Photo: Johannes Wallman)

  • May 10, 2011

Imagine the opportunity to record in a professional studio.

That’s the reality for approximately 30 students in the Cal State East Bay Music Department.

“It was fantastic,” said Matt Roads, a senior who has turned his focus to jazz, specializing in the bass while also playing percussion. “We are really lucky," he added in noting the university’s music opportunities.

“All of our small (jazz) groups got to play in a real recording studio. We each got to play three or four tracks, and I got to play one of my own compositions,” Roads said of four days in February at the San Pablo Recorders Studio in Berkeley.

The fruit of their labor will soon be available to everyone.

Johannes Wallmann, assistant professor of music and director of jazz studies and jazz ensembles, has made arrangements to give free CDs of the music, “Six on One,” to everyone attending the CSUEB Jazz Singers with Jazz Improv Ensembles performance at 8 p.m. Saturday, June 4. The concert will take place at the Berkeley Yacht Club, 1 Seawall Drive, Berkeley.

About 400 students at East Bay high schools where the jazz ensembles (covering contemporary, electric, latin, composers, blue notes and standards) have played have received free download cards to access this music and everything else the Music Department has recorded.

“It’s really valuable for students to experience recording in a professional studio, and to get comfortable with the recording experience, because that’s where at least half of the music jobs are," said Wallman, who has five jazz recordings of his own. “It takes incredible detail to play a polished piece in a recording, and it’s valuable for the students to hear themselves back on tape.

“The students loved the experience in the recording studio. Most had never recorded before -- or, if they had -- it had been in a friend’s basement. This was a mid-range studio with high-end microphones, a nice piano, and isolated sound booths. Plus, the engineer who worked with us did an incredible job,” said Wallmann.

All this is cutting edge in two ways.

No other Bay Area university provides its small jazz groups with recoding experience, and no other university – perhaps on this side of the Mississippi – is doing drop cards (imagine a free iTunes) to its recordings.

A transfer student from Las Positas Community College intending to go on for an MA degree, Roads says that had he been aware of the music opportunities at CSUEB and known that music would be his path, he would have come to the Hayward campus sooner.

“The performance opportunities on this campus are far more than at San Francisco State,” he said. “And Johannes takes us to lots of competitions where we can showcase our bands and be exposed to what other colleges are doing.”

Anyone eager for the “Six on One” CD should attend the free June 4 concert, for which further information is available online at http://music.csueastbay.edu/events.php. After that, free copies of the CD will be available from the Music Department in the Music Building of the Hayward campus.


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