|CARROLL MUSIC LATE SUMMER NEWSLETTER
Some gigs have better scenery than others. This wedding on top of Rockefeller Center was definitely one of those. :)
The summer heat has been abating, for a little bit, but we're surely in for more... and the pace at Carroll Music and Boulevard Pro certainly hasn't cooled off, at all.
BOULEVARD PRO UP FOR FoH MAGAZINE AWARD:
Before we get too far into this -- Front of House Magazine just nominated our New Jersey wing, Boulevard Pro for the Northeast's "Hometown Hero Sound Company of the Year," again, this year!
Blvd Pro has won this thing before, a few years back, and it's both an honor we're all super proud of, and voted on by the public. So please, if you have a few seconds, click over to FoH Online and vote for our team! Everyone can vote 3 times, and we'd love you all just a little extra, if you would. Thanks so much!
CLIENTS: Since we talked to you last, we've already equipped The O'Jays, Lucinda Williams, Brian McKnight, David Sandborn, our old buddy Little Steven Van Zandt, Donovan, Josh Groban, Gavin DeGraw, The Smithereens, Chaka Khan and DeBarge, Dishwalla, Aimee Mann, rehearsals for the legendary Shawn Pelton, ongoing gigs with Michael Bolton, Bell Biv DeVoe w/SWV at NJPAC, Neil Sedaka, Sonny Landreth and so many more -- and that's just the backline division!
MUSICALS! Our rehearsal studios on 55th St. have been busy as well, with rehearsals and sitzprobes for Bubbly Black Girl, Really Rosie, Assassins, Prince of Broadway, Happily the Musical, New York Public Theatre and scores more, or at least more scores, as far as musicals go -- we've even backlined rehearsals, across town, for Disney's Frozen - The Broadway Musical, opening February 2018!
A throwback Studio 3 Sitzprobe pic from The Public Theater NY, courtesy of Michael Cerveris
SUMMER CONCERT SERIES: Our friends at Lincoln Center have kept the studios full as well, as they prep different shows every week for a multitude of different series, around their neighborhood -- just this week we hosted both rock and roll songwriting legend Nick Lowe and the full-orchestra rehearsals for "a suite for Ma Dukes," featuring 'chamber music' interpretations of the late J-Dilla's vast library of vaunted beats and songs, arranged by and featuring multi-instrumentalist Miguel Atwood-Ferguson. It was all we could do to keep our staff from leaving the doors to the studio open, so we could all listen in, at full volume! :)
We provide backline gear and Rehearsal Studios/Techs -- Lincoln Center provides amazing Free Shows (Ma Dukes pictured) at Damrosch Park
TV/PROP RENTALS: We've kept up our TV work as well, sending gear everywhere from Killer Instinct to The Jerry Springer show, The President show, and another season supplying Mozart in the Jungle.
ANNUAL TRADITIONS/FAVORITES: Some of our favorite gigs, though, are the longer term, more vast jobs you only get to work on in places like NYC, and a couple that take us way outside of the city:
In the latter case, we've been working with Boston University's Tanglewood Institute for more than 40 years, and it's become a very happy tradition for us. Every June, we load a semi-trailer full of classical percussion (this year it was 13 timpani, 4 marimbas, 3 vibraphones, 4 concert bass drums, 5 gongs, xylophones, concert chimes, snare drums, field drums... on down the line to the smallest bits of percussion), bound for Boston U's Young Artists Orchestra program for exceptional high school musicians from across the country. The musicians receive intensive instruction through private lessons, solo master classes, and rigorous training across all other aspects of musical performance. The institute peaks with performances at Tanglewood Estate's gorgeous venues, including Seiji Ozawa Hall, and outdoors at Koussevitsky Music Shed, through the Boston Symphony Orchestra's Tanglewood On Parade. We're always happy, if a little teary, to wave goodbye to *our* babies, for a couple months, as they travel east to serve the future of classical music across the US, in so many able hands.... :)
Another series we've been super excited to be a part of is the "Music Of..." tributes at Carnegie Hall, in conjunction with our friends at City Winery. We've already talked about that spectacular Aretha Franklin tribute, earlier in the year, and have since also had the pleasure of providing a full backline, and a tech to the tribute to songwriting legend Jimmy Webb. Just check out this list of performers(!):
Hanson (yes. *that* Hanson)
Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis, Jr.
...and Jimmy Webb, himself!
From the shock of Hanson singing a Highwaymen tune to Art Garfunkel sharing the stage with Michael Feinstein, Jimmy, and Catherine Zeta-Jones at one point, to the all-star backing band, anchored by Saturday Night Live legend Shawn Pelton, there was an utter embarrassment of talent onstage, and few dry eyes for the entirety of the show.
There's been a ton of press coverage on this one, but following the untimely death of Glen Campbell, in the last month, Dwight Yoakam's rendition of "Wichita Lineman," from this gig, has been garnering particular attention, as it should be. What an honor to be a part of this one, and all the other ones.
You can watch that particular song, right here:
GIG OF THE MONTH: Maybe our most widrespread, and enjoyable, this summer, though, was the Red Bull Music Academy, New York -- It's not our first year with a hand in this month long, ultra-eclectic festival (both in venues, scope and in the artists involved), but the gigs this year were just exceptional:
We went small, doing a piano-only hip-hop set at the Lower East Side's diminutive The Box, with Gucci Mane and beatmaker extraordinaire Zaytoven, within the same week we both hosted Solange Knowles in our Studios, and backlined a full, now fairly legendary concert at the Guggenheim museum. This ultra-unique show featured a full horn-section, her band, dancers, and a wardrobe, set, and carpet so frequently bright-white that all our techs had to load in in socks! -- This is *not* recommended for the faint of heart, or the nervous of toe.... ;) A few days later we were able to stock the stage for, and witness an enrapturing set by Brazilian Icon Elza Soares, at equally legendary Town Hall.
We wrapped the whole series at the closing night event, at Ridgewood's still new-to-many music and arts compound, The Knockdown Center -- featuring utter royalty in Ravi Coltrane, as he paid tribute to his mother, Alice Coltrane Turiyasangitananda, through a two-stage event:
First, the utter champs at Trevanna Entertainment transformed the 'back' room of Knockdown into a full-on Ashram (Temple), including carpeting the entire room, hand-stringing flowers, crafting an incredible hanging art-piece, and setting the right incense-laden vibe for a shoes-off, seated meditation service, featuring the late singer's unique genre of music -- a blend of the Detroit gospel of her childhood and the devotional music she came to love through her journey through eastern religion, -- with the full band and choir necessary to do it justice. Each audience member was provided with a pillow and matching shoe bag, and a samosa or two. When the devotional service was through and everyone was properly centered, the crowd moved into the main auditorium, where Ravi and his all-star band (including the likes of Jeff "Tain" Watts, Sonny Fortune, Brandee Younger and more) played through a number of his mother's compositions, and just utterly brought the house down on a rainy sunday night.
It was an utter pleasure to be involved with, from the spectators' point of view to the performers' ...and very definitely to our two very happy, and tired techs, who went so far as to network with a neighboring rehearsal studio to provide a few extra pieces of gear, before showtime, just to make absolutely *sure* that everything went off without a hitch. We won't try to post them all, but Brooklyn Vegan published a great little write up, with 100 pics just from that night here. It was an exhausting and exhilarating day and night, and week, and we're all beyond eager to see what next year brings! We can't thank our friends at Trevanna, and RBMA in general, enough for having us back!
GEAR SPOTLIGHT - TRUCKING EDITION: Once again we're playing it cool on the gear front, while we focus on building out our new, giant studios, but we have again expanded our Trucking Fleet, with this new 26' Hino box truck, in addition to the 18' Hino we talked about last time, and our varied fleet of box trucks, Sprinters and Vans, which we believe is now the biggest Backline fleet in NYC... (and thank you all for helping us keep them busy and full of gear!).
Did we mention our Studios?
REHEARSAL STUDIO CONSTRUCTION UPDATE:
It's been flooring month at Carroll, as we've laid down the hardwood flooring in all three new studios -- and just as quickly covered it back up, so we could safely and thoroughly attack all the little bits of the 'guts' of the studios that make the experience a total 'win' for our customers: the HVAC ductwork, the CAT-5 wiring, the acoustically-sound windows to Studio 5 and the Studio 6 Production Office, the sprinklers -- all the bits that don't seem exciting, but make everything tick! As we type this, the studios are being painted, and getting ready for the Mirrors and curtains, and for all the acoustic treatments to make them really sing... but not too wildly.
We've finished converting our old timpani and piano room into another big lounge, to accomodate large ensembles and touring parties, we're adding counters (and a comfy couch!) to our old dispatch area, and what used to be a narrow hallway full of decades of paperwork and Carroll history. :) Further behind the scenes, we're about to tear into rebuilding the two remaining storage rooms in what used to be our warehouse, to house our state of the art audio gear, our house guitar, bass and keyboard gear, and the array of percussion everyone has come to expect from Carroll Music, over the past 70 years.
It is, as it has been, a very exciting process to watch, and it's already paying dividends, as we've already had at least one of our favorite A-List artists block out all three new studios (5, 6 and 7), for an entire month of early 2018, exactly as they were designed to be (most completely) used! We're beyond excited to welcome their band, their array of dancers, and whoever else may be twirling across our new studio floors, watching from our new Production Office, or just hanging out and/or working in our new East Lounge, enjoying all the new tech... or maybe just the view up the hill towards Times Square and Lincoln Center.
By the time this newsletter reaches you, we'll already have clients in the new rooms -- and we'll send out another update with all the shiny new pics, at that point. We can't wait for you all to see and experience our new facilities, the improvements to the services we've always provided, and the hugely expanded depth and breadth of what East Coast Entertainment Group can do for you, as a whole!
Until next time......