Ten Tips for the Jazz Musician

A few things to remember at the gig (or at the recording session)

  1.  Everyone should play the same tune.
  2. Always wear dark glasses, the darker the better.  You won’t be able to see a thing but people will think you’re deep and mysterious.
  3. When talking into the mic, always start with “Hey man…..”
  4. Carefully tune your instrument before playing.  That way you can play out of tune all night long with a clear conscience.
  5. If you play a wrong note, give a nasty look to one of the other players.
  6. If you can hear the guy playing next to you, you’re not loud enough.
  7. If you are completely lost, stop everyone and say, “I think we should tune.”
  8. Markings for dynamics, slurs and other expression marks should be ignored.  They are only there to embellish the printed score.
  9. A wrong note played timidly is a wrong note.  A wrong note played with confidence is an interpretation.
  10. When everyone else has finished playing, you should not play any notes you have left.


Featured Artist — Shane Cook – Canadian & U.S. Fiddle Champion

I’ve spent some time this week watching the winter Olympics on TV.  The skills and performances by the athletes have been truly amazing.  This has reminded me of three days at Studio  13 this past December recording tracks for Shane Cook and his bandmates Jake Charron, Emily Flack and Joe Philips — equally amazing musical skills and performances.  It was  a great pleasure for me watching this group of talented musicians work out arrangements on the fly and create some musical moments of pure magic.

I encourage you to check out Shane’s website at: www.shanecook.com and then get out to see him performing live.


Studio 13 — In Harmony with Nature

Studio 13 is located on a quiet and peaceful 40-acre nature preserve, a great place to get musically creative.  We are fortunate to share our property with a bunch of furry and feathered friends.  Here are photos of some of them.  Most of these photos were taken from our back yard; and others were taken with a motion-activated trail camera.

Featured Artist — Swingline, the Little Band with the Big Sound

YouTube is a great resource for musicians who want to showcase their music to find gigs and to build a following……..and you don’t even need a video.

Here’s a five-minute promo piece we recorded with SwingLine, one of our “house bands” here at Studio 13.  The music was recorded live off the floor in our big tracking room, with even the drums in the same space as the rest of the musicians.  Under these conditions all of the instruments are being picked up by all of the microphones, so editing out mistakes made by individual instruments is either very difficult or impossible.  Fortunately, with these great players there were no mistakes.  Vocals were overdubbed separately, so we had complete isolation and the ability to do edits on the vocal tracks as needed.

SwingLine uses this audio sampler on YouTube to help get bookings for the band.

SwingLine began as a project organized by Urmas Soomet and Darren Blundell. The original concept was to invite some capable musicians to come out to a “Little Big Band Session” at Studio 13 in Millgrove, Ontario about once a month to play some jazz and swing music. No one was asked to make an ongoing commitment or to “join the band”. It was simply an opportunity to play and to make some new musical connenctions. The lineup of participants was constantly changing, so each session was somewhat unique. Over time a core group of 9 or 10 musicians, supported by a great roster of substitute players, formed SwingLine — the little band with the big sound. The band is available for shows in southwestern Ontario. For further information contact Urmas Soomet at 905-690-0413 or email us at studio13recording@gmail.com

Featured Artist — The Amy Project

The Amy Project, with lead singer Marni Shuster, is a tribute to Amy Winehouse.  The band is performing and gaining a following  in the Golden Horseshoe area of south-western Ontario.

Here is a promotional video they made here at Studio 13.

The AMY Project with Marni and her band do an incredible job of paying tribute to Amy Winehouse. Band members include, Marni Shuster as the voice of “Amy”, Ian Taylor – Fretted & Fretless Bass/Vocals, Anthony Caradonna – Acoustic & Electric Guitars/Vocals & Special Guest drummer, Jeff Bonnyman.

Audio recording by Urmas Soomet of Studio 13.

Camera/Editing, Jim Unsworth – 905.745.6663, Camera Alex Zafer.

For information on Booking “The Amy Project” please contact: Live Booking Associates http://www.livebookingassociates.com 289.296.7917 905.321.3559

Studio 13 is Powered by the Sun


All the electricity we use here at Studio 13 is provided by two sets of solar panels which are programmed to follow the sun.  These solar collectors provide more than enough electric power to meet all of our needs, including running the high-tech heat pumps which drive our geothermal heating and cooling system.  Using clean energy from the sun is part of our commitment to protecting the environment.

Here is a link to a short video that we made using time-lapse photography. It shows our panels as they move to follow the brightest spot in the sky throughout one day.



Mp3 Audio

People have been singing and making music since the stone age.  It is a fundamental aspect of being human.   But for thousands of years, if you wanted to hear music you could only hear it live at the place and at the time where it was being performed.

Then, fairly recently, radio and telephone technology made it possible have music performed at one location and be heard by people far away.  Awesome!

At about the same time, technology was being developed which made it possible to store a musical performance for playback at a later time.  Think of the earliest recordings made on wax cylinders by Thomas Edison.  Think of your great-grandfather’s wind-up Victrola that played early 78-rpm records, which evolved into home stereo systems that played stereo LP’s.  Think of cassette and 8-track tapes that you could play in your car.  Even more awesome!

So, we learned how to capture and preserve musical performances for later playback far and wide, making much more music accessible to many, many more people — all based on analog technology.  Wonderful progress for humanity!

Then came computers and the digital age we live in today.  We learned to make digital versions of analog recordings.  We now have music recorded on CD’s and stored in computer files.  Unlike records and tapes, digital music can be played and copied repeatedly without wearing out.  Manufacturing and distribution costs for digital music are much lower than for records or tapes.

Then add the internet, a great medium for distributing all kinds of data, including digital music.  However, you want the smallest possible files in order to minimize computer storage space requirements and to make for the fastest possible file upload and download speeds.   Clever software developers learned how to “compress” digital audio files to make them smaller while still maintaining “most” of the musical content.  These are now known as Mp3 files.  Mp3’s are now replacing CD’s as a medium for delivering music to the masses.  Its becoming hard to find a new car that is equipped with a CD player and home CD players are becoming less common.

I’m not a fan of Mp3 audio because it doesn’t deliver all of the sound that was originally recorded.  Mp3’s are a pale imitation of reality, without the sonic detail that was inherent in the music as it was originally performed.

Having said that, the audio quality of Mp3’s has improved enough in recent years so that I have reluctantly surrendered to the convenience and speed they provide for delivering music over the internet.  The audio samples you will hear on this website are all Mp3 files.  Please understand that the original high definition digital audio files sound better.