Not only is the jazz art form in good hands, so is jazz engineering. Jim Clouse, like Mike Fahie, is not famous. His Park West Studio is a small basement in Brooklyn. With modest older equipment (a Mackie console, Digital Performer software, affordable microphones) he achieves stunning results
The Angels' Share
Wes Phillips, December, 2003 Stereophile Magazine
It's only a CD-R with a self-adhesive label and computer-generated inserts, but it's what the major record labels are really scared of.
No, I'm not talking about downloaded MP3s of the latest pop hits, or pirated music stolen by offshore crooks and manufactured in the tens of millions. It's an "instant record," recorded in an afternoon at a professional studio and released a week later by the artist him- or herself. It will never qualify as platinum--or even gold--and it scares the pants off the major labels. But if truly is the future, then the majors aren't needed.
This all started at the gym. I kept running into Andy Gravish, a professional jazz trumpeter, in the sauna or steam room. We'd idly talk about where he was playing, music we liked, and mutual friends. On September 24, he told me he'd just recorded a disc; one week later, he handed me a CD.
Now, that's what you call an instant record! I took the disc home, brewed a pot of coffee, cued the first track, and very nearly did a classic coffee-spewing double take. New York/Rome Hook-Up is good. Actually, it's great . It sounds liquid, relaxed, and precise, and the playing is extraordinary. It's not "almost as good" as a major-label release. It's better.
I'm not saying that just anyone could have pulled this off. Andy's a working musician who has been playing professionally since he was 12. And the disc wasn't recorded in a project studio, but at Jim Clouse's Park West Studios (email@example.com), which offers a full range of facilities, including leak-proof isolation chambers and a panoply of microphone choices.
There's a reason New York/Rome Hook-Up sounds so good: It features great players and was recorded with care by an engineer who is committed to excellence. The band recorded the entire disc in about five hours, Clouse and Gravish spent about three hours mastering the final product, and it was in my hands within a week of the time the group walked into the studio.
From 20TH Century Guitar Magazine May 2004
Twentieth Century Guitar : The Surrealist Table is so expertly recorded. Where was the album recorded and were there any special recording techniques you used to get such a clean, clear sound?
Ken Hatfield : I'm very pleased with this recording. We recorded it at Jim Clouses's Park West Studios in Brooklyn.Jim's musicianship combined with his "engineering chops" make recording at Park West a joy. The Surrealist Table was essentially a live studio recording. Each musician was isolated, allowing us to play like we would on a live gig, yet still have maximum flexibility at mix time. Jim addressed that issue when he built his studio by giving each player a separate booth with windows that provided a line of vision between us, and separate headphone mixes that we controlled ourselves.