Charleston-based musician Kevin Patton recently recorded his first full-length studio album at Charleston Sound Studios with engineer Jeff Hodges.
The album is set to release on August 30th, 2015 at The Simons Center For Arts. After wrapping album production, we sat down to discuss the Charleston Jazz scene and recording process with Kevin. Here is what he had to say:
How has playing jazz music within the community impacted your life?
Kevin: Playing jazz in the Charleston community has given me a wealth of contacts. In the jazz scene, it’s very possible that a gig could have different band members every week. As a result, I get to network with a lot of great musicians that I can learn from.
What makes your sound unique?
Kevin: No matter what setting I’m in, I make sure to play from my spirit. I’m a devout Christian and I believe letting God use me for His will helps produce sounds that have never been heard before. That is what makes my sound unique.
How do you feel the Charleston jazz scene might differ from other cities you’ve played and recorded in?
Kevin: In the Charleston jazz scene, you have a lot of real jazz musicians. In other cities, the jazz scenes are decent, but the players are mostly trying to play the style just good enough rather than mastering the style. I can truthfully say that Charleston has some jazz masters that have dedicated their lives to becoming the best overall musicians they can be. What you’ll also find is that these great musicians are also the professors at colleges such as College of Charleston and Charleston Southern University. As they teach up and coming musicians, they help make the Charleston jazz scene not just decent, but great.
When you’re not playing, what is your favorite spot in Charleston to see live music?
Kevin: My favorite spot in Charleston to see live music is definitely The North Charleston Performing Arts Center. There aren’t many local groups that perform there, but there is always a diverse blend of music. In The Performing Arts Center, I’ve seen all styles of jazz, blues, gospel, country, and I’ve even seen a musical there. It really is a cultural melting pot.
In the studio, do you feel like recording is an emulation of live performance or its own artistic medium?
Kevin: Recording in the studio is such a broad topic that I can’t narrow it down to just one or the other. However, for me personally, it is an emulation of live performance. I don’t want to sound any different on a record that I wouldn’t sound in a live performance. Now of course there are a variety of tools an engineer can use to enhance the actual frequencies of my instrument. I do employ these tools, but I don’t believe they should make me sound better from a skill point of view. For what I want to do and for who I am as an artist, my album and my live performance should be equivalent.
What advice do you have for up and coming musicians in the area?
Kevin: My advice to up and coming musicians is just to study the greats and stay focused. Have an individual and detailed practice regiment. Find out what you need to work on and be diligent to make that area one of your strengths. Also remember, practice doesn’t make perfect, perfect practice makes perfect. There are a lot of great teachers in Charleston. Find a teacher and strive to become a well-rounded musician.