January 2015

Tom Graf Cuts “Smokin’” Jazz Album at Studio Trilogy

Pictured during sessions at Studio Trilogy are (L-R) Ray Obeido, producer; Billy Johnson, drums; David K. Matthews, piano, arrangements; Marc van Wageningen, bass; Tom Graf, composer; and Justin Lieberman, recording engineer.  Photo by David Goggin.

Pictured during sessions at Studio Trilogy are (L-R) Ray Obeido, producer; Billy Johnson, drums; David K. Matthews, piano, arrangements; Marc van Wageningen, bass; Tom Graf, composer; and Justin Lieberman, recording engineer. Photo by David Goggin.

San Francisco, CA, January 2015 – Popular jazz composer Tom Graf has completed his new album “Smokin’” at Studio Trilogy in the heart of San Francisco.  Graf steps out on his own after writing for groups such as Con Funk Shun and Angela Bofill, catchy radio commercials, and music for the “Dirty Dancing” soundtrack.  The album was produced by jazz guitarist Ray Obeido, who has worked with Herbie Hancock, Pete Escovedo, and Sheila E, as well as releasing five successful albums on the Wyndham Hill Label.

Graf’s new album is garnering steady national and international airplay.  “This album was a real joy to record at Trilogy,” remarked Graf.  “My solo career started out as a vanity project of jazz tunes that I had written over many years and decided to record.  They were coming out so well that the musicians were saying ‘Hey, you need to release this.’  I said OK, and then started getting great airplay on the jazz stations.”

Graf elaborates on the new album: “David K. Mathews, currently with Santana, arranged the compositions with help from, and overall production by, Ray Obeido.  This is the way smooth jazz used to sound when played by the likes of Freddy Hubbard, Milt Jackson, and Wes Montgomery. The musicians on my album expanded the compositions, added a sense of groove and delivered beautiful improvisations to create music with all of the verve and integrity I imagined from the very beginning.”

Trilogy chief engineer Justin Lieberman commented on the sessions, “I always love working with Ray Obiedo and Tom’s project was no exception.  He assembles the best musicians around and it makes my job super easy.  All of these musicians are so good at controlling and catering their tone for what they are playing that I just follow their lead.”

“We really enjoyed working at Trilogy,” added Graf.  “The vibe is very cool, the facilities are impeccable, and the people are bright and really take care of you. They also have a really fine grand piano.”

Learn more about Tom Graf and “Smokin’”:  http://www.tomgraf.com/

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Glenn Mack’s “Brujo” Film Scores at Studio Trilogy

Pictured (L-R) at Studio Trilogy are PC Muñoz and Jean Jeanrenaud recording a Vivaldi variation for “Brujo.”

Pictured (L-R) at Studio Trilogy are PC Muñoz and Joan Jeanrenaud recording a Vivaldi variation for “Brujo.”

San Francisco, CA, November 2014 – Director Glenn Mack’s feature directorial debut, “Brujo,” is currently in post-production with scoring sessions recorded at San Francisco’s Studio Trilogy by chief engineer/co-manager Justin Lieberman.  “It was PC Muñoz who suggested Trilogy,” commented Mack.  “He’s done a lot of work there and our sessions for the film were terrific, absolutely top-of-the-line.”

San Francisco-based PC Muñoz is known for genre-defying productions that stretch the boundaries of classical, funk, hip-hop, and the avant-garde. Muñoz’s past production projects include the Grammy-nominated 2008 album “Strange Toys” by cellist Joan Jeanrenaud and the award-winning multi-media project “Twenty Haiku.” His work has been praised by NPR, Performing Songwriter, DownBeat, URB, and many others. 

Mack had been using a classical recording of Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons” as a temp score for the film and went to Muñoz for a new recording.  “When I do interpretations, I always pretty much radically reimagine them,” explained Muñoz. “I said I’d like to do something completely different, almost render it in a jazzy style. I suggested to him that we do a drum set and cello rendering.”

“Brujo” (Spanish for sorcerer) revolves around the activity at a modern dance workshop. The story traces the arc of jealousy to its disastrous result and, at the same time, chronicles the creative intensity of artists coming together to collaborate on a project.

Muñoz met at Trilogy with former Kronos Quartet cellist Joan Jeanrenaud.  “We brought Joan in, had a brief discussion about it. Here’s the Vivaldi, we both know it, but we’re not going to try and play it as a strictly classical piece. We’re going to do it the way we do the music that we usually create. We talked a little bit about switching the time signatures and the kind of pulse it would have. Fortunately, for that session, Glenn was there. He’s super great to work with, just wanted to make sure that the vibe was right for his picture.” 

Muñoz describes the session: “We had the picture there on the big screen and just ran through the different ideas that we had for the arrangement until we landed on something, especially in terms of the drums, because obviously, there are no tracks of drums on the original Vivaldi. I had to figure out a way to make it rhythmically cool, and also useful for the scene, and something that Glenn would dig. We just sat there and knocked out a few takes.”

“The way Joan and I often work is with a beat that I make either acoustically or electronically,” Muñoz continued. “In this case it was all acoustic, and then Joan started to layer different cello parts — some rhythmic stuff, some long, legato stuff, some pretty stuff, and some stuff that evoked different types of moods for the scene. We also worked closely with sound designer Chris McGrew, who was there for that session, as well.”

After the tracks were completed and sent off to post-production to be mixed into the film, Muñoz commented on working at Studio Trilogy.  “It’s by far my favorite place to work in San Francisco, probably my favorite in California. It’s a fantastic studio – Justin Lieberman and Willie Samuels are great engineers, Cindy McSherry is a great studio manager, and they are always, always ready for whatever I’m looking for. I like looking for distinct and unusual situations in a musical context, and they’re always ready to go there with me.”

To learn more about “Brujo” : visit: http://brujothemovie.com/

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