Morrison and James Emma Pask When legendary international jazz musician James Morrison played in the Woollaston Nelson Jazz Festival, he specified an acoustic mix on stage and I knew we were in for a great night.
The Theatre Royal’s acoustics are particularly well suited for amplified music and with low monitor levels on stage I could use very open, sensitive microphones on the instrument sources.
In fact we had over $10,000 worth of mics on stage that night. The result was a beautifully produced sound worthy of any CD recording. James is not one to mess around in sound check, in fact after a few minutes he said it was starting to feel like a rehearsal, so that was that! Fortunately I had pretty much decided which mics would go where. I used a couple of Neumann KM183s as underheads on Ron Samson’s drum kit along with Sennheiser e602 on kick, a Shure SM7 on my ‘Jeff Berlin’ Markbass amp for bassist Olivier Holland, a Sennheiser e906 on Lance Sua’s guitar, Neumann TLM193’s on Roger Mannin’s saxophone and James’ trumpet, Microtech Gefell M300s on piano and Emma used her own Shure Beta87 on vocals.
With a little Lexicon 480 emulation reverb we were in sonic heaven for an hour or two. I loved the way James kept the band on edge, throwing lead breaks at band members to be learnt aurally before the show, starting ‘mystery’ songs where the band had no idea what was coming and even presenting a lead break to Roger on an iPad – now that’s jazz!