This week Charleston Sound has been filled with the jazzy sounds of horns, drums, bass, and piano emanating from our live tracking rooms, as a cast of all-star musicians gathered for the recording of pianist Demetrius Doctor’s upcoming album. Demetrius lead these local legends – including Charlton Singleton (Trumpet), Mark Sternbank (Tenor Sax), Lavonta Green (Bass), and Calvin Baxter II (Drums) for an incredibly fun and energetic session filled with his new, original tunes. Charleston Sound’s engineer Mike Shear was at the helm.
During some down time we were able to sit with Demetrius, and discuss recording and the local scene. Here is what he had to say:
How did you put together the group for this session? What was the overall goal?
Demetrius: I wanted this project to showcase the Charleston Gullah/Geechee sound that has shaped me into the musician I am today and I knew these guys could accomplish that sound. All of them, with the exception of Mark, are from the Charleston area and are well versed in the sound. I knew these guys could quickly comprehend and perform exactly what I was hearing.
In your opinion, what are the most important ingredients for a great recording?
Demetrius: I believe the most important ingredients for a great recording are feeling, emotion, and lastly execution. Live music gives us, as humans, a feeling that no other art form can give us. In order to capture that into a recording, performers must exude emotion and the right “feel”, all whilst executing what they are trying to do. I can’t really explain the “feel”, but everyone knows it when they hear it. If it doesn’t feel good, there’s no need to do it,
Put us in the live room with you: How does recording make you feel compared to playing for an audience?
Demetrius: It’s definitely a different experience. A live audience gives off energy and a vibe that I, as a performer, can connect with and, most importantly, interact with. There is none of that in the studio. Haha! You have to create the energy within yourself and your band mates. There is a temptation for me to try to perfect in the studio, but I have to constantly remind myself that I value feel over execution. I love the challenge that each brings, though.
For you personally who are some of the artists that have influenced you the greatest?
Demetrius:I grew up playing in church, so the people I grew up listening to and emulating had the earliest influence on me. Min. Micheal Brown, Min. Robert Ford, Rogina Deas, Mrs. Bernadette Wrighten, and Pastor Vincent Simmons were all musicians at my church that learned something from. There have been so many other local musicians and legendary artists alike that have had GREAT influences on me, it would be impossible to name all. I’m just thankful to all who have contributed, knowingly and unknowingly.
In your opinion, what sets Charlestons jazz scene apart from other areas?
Demetrius:The level of musicianship in Charleston is amazing. Everywhere you go, you can find great jazz musicians. I don’t experience the level of competition I would expect in other places though. The most established jazz musician in Charleston is not unwilling to play with a beginning student and I think that is something to be admired. I have a long way to go in jazz music, but when I first began I wasn’t good at all. Even with that, the more established jazz musicians like Quentin Baxter, Mark and Charlton, Robert Lewis, Frank Duvall and others still treated me with respect and even called me to play with them, making me a better player of this music. Helping hands from up high to down low make Charleston’s jazz scene, in my opinion, different from others.
When will your next album release, and where can we find it?
Demetrius: The album will hopefully be available in early November and can be found on iTunes, Google Play, and all other digital outlets.