Kirsten Edkins – Shapes & Sound
- Release details
180-gram LP, pressed at RTI
Deluxe tip-on gatefold jacket
AAA vinyl release
Debut album recorded for launch of new record label by award-winning mastering engineer Kevin Gray!
Recorded all-analog/all-tube at Gray's new studio, Cohearent Recording, for Cohearent Records!
Shapes and Sound by jazz composer/saxophonist Kirsten Edkins
"If you start with the final track, Wabich's "Hula Hoop" (Do younger readers even know what that 50's era "starter hump toy" is?) when you hear Turkmenoglu's stand-up bass actually sounding like a stand-up bass playing in a room, with its attack and timbral character so naturally presented, you'll realize how rarely contemporary recordings manage what Gray gets on tape here. And a shout out also to all of the musicians for their willingness to record this way!" — Music = 8/11; Sound = 11/11 - Michael Fremer, TrackingAngle.com editor. Read Fremer's entire review here.
Shapes and Sound from jazz saxophonist Kirsten Edkins is the debut LP release from Cohearent Records — the new record label companion to famed mastering engineer Kevin Gray's latest enterprise, an all-valve (vacuum tube) recording studio (Cohearent Recording) adjoining his home-based mastering facility in California.
"It's the 'essence of an era' we are trying to recapture with today's musicians, not the sound of specific spaces, engineers or recordings," Gray told music reviwer Michael Fremer.
This album was produced all-analog/all-tube at Gray's Cohearent Recording on December 10 and 11, 2021. Dave Connor produced, while Gray and Ryan Wirthlin co-engineered. Edkins on sax was joined by Gerald Clayton (courtesy of Blue Note) on piano, Ahmet Turkmenoglu on bass, Lemar Guillary on trombone and Chris Wabich on drums.
Edkins, a composer and saxophonist from Los Angeles, graduated from Eastman School of Music on scholarship. She studied composition and arranging with Bill Dobbins, as well as Walt Weiskopf and the legendary Ray Ricker. Before her time at Eastman she studied with Bob Sheppard, a jazz recording artist and woodwind specialist. Edkins is a sought-after improviser who has performed with Arturo Sandoval (Al "Tootie" Heath), Tim Hagans, Clay Jenkins, John Beasley, and Geoffrey Keezer.
She has performed with the Clare Fischer Big Band, Bill Holman Big Band, Bernie Dresel Big Band (The BBB), Sara Gazarek and others. She's appeard on television shows such as American Idol, Duets, Knight Rider, Glee, and Bones, plus The Tonight Show. She's also a music educator whose associations include Cal State Fullerton, Stanford Jazz Workshop, Saddleback College and Golden West College. She also direct the American Jazz Institute's community outreach program and teaches saxophone at Occidental College in Eagle Rock.
The album is an excellent showcase for Gray's new recording studio. Cohearent Recording was born from Gray's relentless passion to create the best sound recordings. It was that passion that has inspired Gray's long career cutting lacquers for such noted labels as Blue Note, Music Matters and Analogue Productions.
He spent 15 years building gear for the project. "I had a novel idea: In order to get the vintage sound we all love, (I'd) design and build an all-valve (vacuum tube) recording system from microphones through to the disc cutting head, NO transistors or IC's anywhere in the signal path. That took much longer than anticipated but it is finally complete."
Gray was inspired to use his own living room as the studio space when he realized it was similar in size and shape to legendary jazz recording engineer Rudy Van Gelder's Hackensack N.J. parents' home. Many classic jazz albums were recorded there by Gelder.
Some of the same microphones used on those earlier Gelder recordings are in use in Gray's setup. The custom vaccum tube electronics are different and for Shapes and Sound Gray used a tube-based Studer C37 rather than an Ampex.
Gelder's Hackensack recordings for both Blue Note and Prestige, Gray says, are "some of my favorite jazz records, and they are also exceptionally good sonically."
Kirsten Edkins, saxophone
Gerald Clayton, piano
Ahmet Turkmenoglu, bass
Lemar Guillary, trombone
Chris Wabich, drums
Ratings from Michael Fremer @ trackingangle.com