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Roundtable: Living The Sonic Dream – Who Would You Most Like To Work With, And Why?

"Inspired music and fabulous musicians – that’s the reason I do what I do… and if any of their production managers are reading, let’s talk!" -- Becky Pell
As you might imagine, this fellow (and his former band) are mentioned a couple of times in this article. (Credit: Steve Jennings)

Becky Pell: Ooh, fun question! Well, mine are all still alive and kicking – it would have to be Fleetwood Mac, Foo Fighters or Journey, for the reason that their music has that transportive effect on me that truly great music does, just making me feel so incredibly alive.

Inspired music and fabulous musicians – that’s the reason I do what I do… and if any of their production managers are reading, let’s talk!

Mike Sokol: In 1954 two interesting births occurred – me in June, and jazz guitar legend Al Di Meola in July. I mention this because the second great jazz album I was exposed to, in 1976, was “Elegant Gypsy” by Di Meola. (The first great jazz album was from Django Reinhardt.)

Up to that point in time I’d listened to and studied rock and Latin greats such as Hendrix and Santana. But when I first heard “Elegant Gypsy,” something new turned on inside of me and I began to love electric jazz. Fast forward some 40 years and Di Meola has released 20 solo albums as well as played on a bunch of other albums.

How the stage currently looks for Al Di Meola in concert.

Perhaps the biggest reason I want to run a show with Di Meoloa is that he now does an acoustic/electric show that uses a lot of the same monitoring and stage amplifier principals that I’ve written about extensively in my semi-silent stage articles. So he’s been on my “bucket list” of artists to work with for at least 20 years.

And just recently in some of the guitar forums, he discusses the fact that he’s pulled his original black Les Paul and Marshall amp out of storage but finds it much too loud for his stage right now. Check out the accompanying photo of his current stage setup with plexiglass gobos for monitoring control on stage. And check out the button accordion as well. (I love this guy…)

On a future note, I’ve contacted his booking agency to see if I can get him to lead a Master Class at Shenandoah University (where I teach) next year, followed by an acoustic quartet concert in Armstrong Hall. So with a little luck I may actually get to mix a live show with Al Di Meola and his band in 2020, plus have the opportunity expose hundreds of conservatory students to a jazz guitar great. Too much fun!

Jim Yakabuski: If I had the chance to run sound for any artist it would undoubtedly be Queen. From the time I was in high school and fell in love with their uniquely artistic and powerful music composition, coupled with amazing tones, effects and massive talent, I began to believe I wanted a career in audio production. It started out as a vision of working in a recording studio so I could learn how Queen and their producer Roy Thomas Baker created that huge vocal sound and massive instrumentation.

The amazing “flange” effect in “Killer Queen” was the catalyst that solidified my desire to know how it was all done. As it turned out, I made a sharp left turn in my first year of studio audio education and went out on the road to mix live sound. That began a 40-year love affair with making live music sound as big as it possibly can.

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