Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
Teasing the Korean

Let's Talk About Gary McFarland Now!

61 posts in this topic

12 hours ago, Shrdlu said:

"Bloop Bleep" has a superb bass riff that Mongo Santamaria later used on "You And Me Baby". 

That bass riff is a standard montuno tumbao (bass phrase) - you can already hear it on Mongo's "Mazacote" from 1958 which is from a Blackhawk recording session of the Cal Tjader group of the time. Not invented by either musician.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 hours ago, Shrdlu said:

...and the music for the "13" movie (which is strictly listen-once for me).

What don't you like about "13?"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, it's movie cues etc. Not as enjoyable as his other work. The actual theme was recorded several times by Gary and is fine.

I might have figured out what caused the pitch mismatch on "Soft Samba Strings". I read years ago that if a 78 rpm record was recorded in America and played in the U.K., then it was slightly off-pitch. That had to do with the gear ratios of the turntable mechanism and the fact that the U.S. uses 60 cycles power while Britain uses 50 cycles. In the case of the McFarland album, a tape was recorded in England and the rest was dubbed in in America. You would have the 50 vs 60 cycles issue, and perhaps the U.K. tape, on playback, was not running at precisely the right speed. That is purely a guess, but recall that the first session for "Kind Of Blue" was recorded at the wrong speed and the issued LP was a quarter-tone sharp.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, Shrdlu said:

Well, it's movie cues etc. Not as enjoyable as his other work. The actual theme was recorded several times by Gary and is fine.

Well, you're talking to someone whose music accumulation is primarily film scores.  I think 13 plays very well as an album on its own terms, and for a guy who scored only two films, Gary shows that his dramatic instincts were dead-on. He also eschews many of the gothic/macabre/supernatural cliches. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Fair enough, and yes, Gary was an excellent scorer. But that album made no impression on me, and there are very many albums of his that I like a lot.

It was interesting to hear where the Latin bass riff comes from. I have only heard it on "Bloop Bleep" and "You And Me Baby". Gary and Cal Tjader were very tight (later forming Skye Records), so no doubt Gary got the riff from Cal. Gary turns up on some bonus material on the CD of Cal's "Soul Sauce".

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That bass riff is really a standard tumbao (the Cuban term for a repeated figure on hand drums - tumbadoras - and other bass instruments, marimbulas, botijas, and string basses). It can also be heard on the famous LP "Puente In Percussion" on which Mongo and Willie Bobo participated. 

McFarland's presence as an arranger on "Soul Sauce" is not confirmed, although it is probable he wrote some arrangements, especially since one of his tunes was recorded. McFarland and Tjader recorded vibes duos for Verve that were not issued; On "Solar Heat" they play together on two sets of vibes, on two tunes.

McFarland had a far better knowledge of Cuban and Brazilian music than most of his contemporaries, an innate feeling for the music. Listen to "Sting of the Bee", which could have been written by a Brazilian. 

He could have heard the Mongo and Puente LPs just as well. Tjader used that tumbao on a track on a Verve LP, I just can't recall right now on which.

What struck me about the soundtrack for "13" is that he developped the whole score just from that one theme - really outstanding.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
18 hours ago, Shrdlu said:

Well, it's movie cues etc. Not as enjoyable as his other work. The actual theme was recorded several times by Gary and is fine.

I might have figured out what caused the pitch mismatch on "Soft Samba Strings". I read years ago that if a 78 rpm record was recorded in America and played in the U.K., then it was slightly off-pitch. That had to do with the gear ratios of the turntable mechanism and the fact that the U.S. uses 60 cycles power while Britain uses 50 cycles. In the case of the McFarland album, a tape was recorded in England and the rest was dubbed in in America. You would have the 50 vs 60 cycles issue, and perhaps the U.K. tape, on playback, was not running at precisely the right speed. That is purely a guess, but recall that the first session for "Kind Of Blue" was recorded at the wrong speed and the issued LP was a quarter-tone sharp.

Soft Samba was one of the few GM LPs I never bought. Something sounded wrong with it. Thanks for articulating what it was.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is so frustrating, because Gary's arranging is superb. "Soft Samba Strings" should have been a major album for him. I can't understand why the serious error was not noticed immediately. 

It was a bad idea, in the first place, to record part of the mix in England and part in America, and the England musicians add nothing special. It should all have been recorded at Rudy's.

If the separate parts still exist, it might be possible to adjust the tape speeds and make the album properly.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
18 hours ago, Shrdlu said:

This is so frustrating, because Gary's arranging is superb. "Soft Samba Strings" should have been a major album for him. I can't understand why the serious error was not noticed immediately. 

It was a bad idea, in the first place, to record part of the mix in England and part in America, and the England musicians add nothing special. It should all have been recorded at Rudy's.

If the separate parts still exist, it might be possible to adjust the tape speeds and make the album properly.

Yeah, I can't listen to it as it is. GM had bad luck, especially at the 55 Bar.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On October 28, 2019 at 5:48 AM, Shrdlu said:

This is so frustrating, because Gary's arranging is superb. "Soft Samba Strings" should have been a major album for him. I can't understand why the serious error was not noticed immediately. 

It was a bad idea, in the first place, to record part of the mix in England and part in America, and the England musicians add nothing special. It should all have been recorded at Rudy's.

If the separate parts still exist, it might be possible to adjust the tape speeds and make the album properly.

I have wondered this too.  It is so obviously bad, how did no one in the chain catch this? 

Even if the multi-track masters exist, would there be enough of an audience to buy this album even if it were fixed?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Im a  "newbie" & big band fan and therefore I do have also these  McFarland's on vinyl and enjoy them very much.

McFarland,Gary    Bigband Bossa Nova feat. Stan Getz    1962    Verve(jap)    3006
McFarland,Gary    Point of Departure    1963    Impulse    46
McFarland,Gary    Soft Samba Strings    1964    Verve    8682
McFarland,Gary    The In Sound    1965    Verve(jap)    3161
McFarland,Gary    Profile (live recording)    1966    Impulse    9112

Edited by jazzcorner

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.