It's always best to start these off with an action shot, right?
Happy New Year from everybody at Carroll Music! We hope your holidays have been warm and filled to capacity with happiness... maybe a little bit over capacity. The last half of this year has been so full of action for us that we haven't had time to kick out a newsletter for a much longer stretch than usual -- but we're hardly complaining about that! So sit tight, if you'd be so kind, for a much more extensive than usual Carroll Music Newsletter! The biggest news of the year, without a doubt, is our merger with Boulevard Production, and the creation of East Coast Entertainment Group -- you can read up on all the details at carrollmusic.com, but the gist is that we'll still be operating as Carroll Music, same as always -- but with a greatly expanded backline inventory, and we'll also have Boulevard's full Audio, Production and Installation capabilities, to provide a cohesive, full-spectrum experience for our clients and their crews. We're wrapping the build-out of our new, huge, combined warehouse, and are in the process of moving our gear into the new building as we speak. Equally exciting for everybody involved is the expansion of our rehearsal studios, right here at our 55th St. location. We've got our soon-to-be Studio 5 roughed in, and are prepping for its rebirth as the first of our new hardwood floored, full mirror wall-equipped big rooms. Stay tuned for updates on our website, and for more frequent ones on all our social media pages.
CLIENT SPOTLIGHT: Speaking of our studios, they've been packed with more awesome acts that we can name, From David Byrne to Dar Williams to Regina Spektor (all on the same day!), from Conor Oberst to Ween, Andrew Bird to Gogol Bordello, and far beyond. We had the pleasure throughout November and December of hosting the rehearsals for Chick Corea's residency at The Blue Note -- with different backing bands each week -- so in addition to Chick himself, we had legends like Steve Gadd, Lenny White, John McLaughlin, and any number of other amazing players coming through. Our friend and another jazz master Eddie Palmieri stopped by to blow the paint off the walls of Studio 3, a few different times, sometimes bringing another of our old friends, living legend and infallible groove machine Bernard Purdie along for the sessions.
We're always happiest, though, when our customers rehearse here, then take our backline gear out with them, be it for TV gigs, Carnegie concerts or full tours. Since you heard from us last, the list of clients who've taken us up on both fronts is also pretty fantastic -- from a few more runs with Chance The Rapper, for SNL and The Tonight Show and more, to Tony Bennett for his Duets gig at Radio City (with Stevie Wonder, Lady Gaga, Eric Bublé and more guests(!)), and from a fantastic performance by Hugh Jackman at The Metropolitan Opera, to all-star guest line-up with Fishbone, as they geared up and played the Hendrix in Harlem gig at the Apollo Theater.
Our Live Technician's-eye view of The Metropolitan Opera, as we readied our full backline for a surprise Hugh Jackman headline set
This summer, we hosted Rufus Wainwright in rehearsal, and then delivered his orchestra's full array of percussion to Carnegie Hall, for the 10-year anniversary of his "Rufus Does Judy (Garland)" Tribute, and then, in a wonderfully sharp contrast, had the pleasure of backlining the full east coast run for noise-rock legends Drive Like Jehu -- but not before listening in on one of the loudest rehearsals we've ever had in this building (the Black Crowes may still hold the title, though ;)). In the last month we've had Steve Miller and Jimmie Vaughan in Studio 4, dialing in their set for Jazz at Lincoln Center, the amazing Neil Diamond and his orchestra readying Christmas tunes for The Tonight Show, Today Show and the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting, and have continued to enjoy hosting various rehearsals for Trey Anastasio and Phish -- including listening in (and hushing up!) as they prepped both their now-legendary Ziggy Stardust set for Halloween in Las Vegas, and their New Years Run at Madison Square Garden... to which we sent a pretty extensive percussion setup, as well!
All-around legend Neil Diamond brings his Acoustic Christmas, and our full backline, to The Tonight Show
...and then to the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting, in a downpour, the following night -- fortunately our techs were able to keep our vintage Gretsch Round-Badge drumset, and all the other gear dry, with a little frantic effort, and a gigantic helping of holiday spirit. :)
Our old friend (and father of our favorite Percussion Intern!) Bill Hayes provides percussive perfection for Rufus Wainwright at Carnegie Hall.
Drive Like Jehu blasts smiles onto the faces of a packed Bell House in Brooklyn, as they wind down an east coast mini-tour, powered by our DW black sparkle Collectors kit, our massive 8"x14" Starclassic Bubinga snare drum, and a wall of our Marshall, Mesa Boogie and Ampeg amplification. Our staff was particularly thrilled to be a part of this run!
A somewhat unconventional amp placement for Steve Miller and Jimmie Vaughan, backed by lots of Yamaha and Zildjian gear for Sonny Emory... They brought all of this, two of our newly refurbished Hammond B3s and Leslies, and a Yamaha grand piano, to Jazz at Lincoln Center, for a very special show in December.
Phish brings down the ball *and* the house in their annual New Years Eve run at Madison Square Garden
This shot, from "Petrichor," minutes before 2017 kicked off, shows the full percussion rig we sent, as well as just a little of the extravagant stage show their legions of fans have come to expect.
If you'd like to check it out in a little bit more depth, here's some pro-shot video of the entire sequence, before, at and after midnight:
If we step outside the studios, altogether, we've backlined Kamasi Washington, The Head and the Heart, Herbie Hancock, Living Colour, Sun Ra Arkestra, The Robert Glasper Experiment (with a show-stopping, unexpected guest-appearance from Common), Lucinda Williams, Smokey Robinson, Jamie Lidell and The Royal Pharaohs, Amos Lee, Dr. John, Macy Gray, Corinne Bailey Ray, Max Weinberg, Lynda Carter, Paula Cole, Eric Burdon & the Animals, the Robby Krieger Band and so many more. We doubled up on Sting as well -- both as a Special guest with Huey Lewis and the News, in the fall, and at Avatar Studios, where we sent Vinnie Colaiuta our favorite Gretsch USA Custom kit, and a battery of Snare Drums, for a session in the spring. We'll never tell which ones he actually used. ;)
Kamasi Washington and his band play a wall-shaking show at Greenpoint Terminal
Herbie Hancock, captured by our stage right Backline Tech, at Prospect Park Bandshell, this summer
Two Legends - Sting and Vinnie Colaiuta
When Vinnie Colaiuta's tech asks for "a few assorted snare drums," you send in the A-team. The *whole* A-team. :)
...and here's Vinnie's kit (our staff favorite Gretsch USA Custom), set up by our most mobile of Percussion Techs, Russ Nyberg, at Avatar Studios.
As always, we've got a huge list of Broadway (and off-Broadway) shows passing through, and/or taking our gear with them, especially taking advantage of our enormous array of percussion and Foley / sound effects. Some of our recent runs have been An American in Paris, Irving Berlin's Holiday Inn, Illa - The Hip-Hop Musical, Kristin Chenoweth's Love Letter to Broadway -- check out a great little piece on that show, shot mostly in Studio 4, here! Annie, the new Cats, A Bronx Tale, and the much raved about mini-run of Sunday in the Park With George at City Center. It's always a very happy kind of 'strange' to see Stephen Sondheim pass Jake Gyllenhaal, in the hallway. Regardless, we're excited to be re-constructing the massive percussion rig for Kory Grossman, and putting together everything else they need, as we gear up for a proper Broadway run, starting this February!
Kory Grossman's 360º percussion rig for the recent, *and* upcoming runs of Sunday In The Park With George
Another of our favorite longtime guests, Ed Shea, manning the percussion station for Irving Berlin's new musical, Holiday Inn.
We've been thrilled again, this year, to backline the Grinch musical at The Grand Ol' Opry in Nashville, with another identical set up traveling simultaneously with their touring company. Once again there's an extra bonus for us, as our percussionist and technician extraordinaire, Russ Nyberg, held down the Drums and Percussion for the full run in Nashville. We're busy, right now, prepping for a new run of Miss Saigon, which we're obviously also super-excited about. STAFF SPOTLIGHT: We've had a happy and eventful year, when it comes to our staff, as well. While our longtime Shipping and Receiving Guru, Jeremiah, left us for an exciting opportunity across the river at Vice, Kameron has moved from our Cartage team to help take over his duties, along with our newer face, Jake. We've added Edwin and Juan to our Technician and Cartage crews, as well, and are getting used to our much bigger Boulevard Pro family, as we start to really get into combining operations. GEAR SPOTLIGHT: We'll keep this short, after all of the above, but among many other additions, we're extra happy about a few of these: We've added a butterscotch Fender Telecaster Elite, a black Fender (USA) Fat Strat, expanded our SPD-SX inventory, and added a pair of Arturia Keylab 25 Keyboard Controllers, as well as beefing up our Pioneer DJ inventory, with a new pair of CDJ2000NXS2 Multi Player units.
On the drum and percussion side, beyond the never-ending quest for more snares, cymbals and exotic percussion and effects, we've picked up this gorgeous DW Satin Tobacco Collectors kit. We'll be adding to it, continually, but at present we have the following sizes: 14" x 18" bass drum 16" X 20" bass drum 8" X 10" rack tom (2) 8" X 12" rack tom 9" X 12" rack tom 14" X 14" floor tom (2) 16" X 16" floor tom 4.5" X 14" Snare, and 6.5" X 14" Snare drums. As with anything and everything in our inventory, you can call us at 212-868-4120, or shoot an email over to firstname.lastname@example.org, anytime, to reserve some of these badboys, and take them for a spin at your gig! In the meantime, stay tuned to carrollmusic.com, and to our social media versions of ourselves at facebook.com/CarrollMusicNY, instagram.com/CarrollMusicNYC and twitter.com/CarrollMusic, where we'll always try to keep you entertained and informed, in much smaller intervals and installments. :) And -- we promise -- we'll be back much sooner with the next newsletter! Thanks as always (maybe a little more loudly than usual, this time!!), and Happy New Year!!!