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Apollo Artist Sessions Vol. XII: Che Pope w/ Preservation Hall Jazz Band

Che Pope w/ Preservation Hall Jazz Band

The ’60s Recording Challenge

In this Apollo Artist Session, Universal Audio traveled to New Orleans and gave Grammy-winning producer Che Pope (Kanye West, Dr. Dre, The Weeknd) a unique challenge — record a killer, '60s style funk/soul track using the real-time processing and authentic analog emulations of the Apollo interface to record the masters of swing the Preservation Hall Jazz Band.

Live Tracking

Exclusively using Apollo 8p and Apollo Twin Mk II Audio Interfaces, Che and engineer Eric Corson created a virtual Universal Audio 610 mixing board by running all of the mics through Apollo's Unison-enabled UA 610-B Tube Preamp & EQ plug-in. A Fairchild 660 compressor plug-in also resided on each channel along with the plug-ins. Top and bottom-end EQ on the 610-B was boosted slightly on the drums, and a top boost was added to the brass section. Only nine tracks were required to record the entire ensemble into Pro Tools.

Che leaned heavily on vintage mics that would be right at home on a classic ’60s funk/soul session: a single Coles 4038 on the drum kit; a Telefunken U-47 on the upright bass; a Telefunken U-48 on the Hammond B3; a Coles 4038 on the brass section (with a U47 for that section's vocals); an RCA 44BX on the reeds (with a U67 for their vocals); and an AKG C-24 stereo room mic which captured the tone, essence, and space of historic Preservation Hall, deep in the heart of New Orleans’ French Quarter.

The Mix

Inspired by the sound of Duke Ellington’s classic “Perdido,” Che kept plug-ins to a minimum on the final mix, relying on the Ampex ATR-102 Tape Recorder plug-in for vintage analog tape warmth and saturation. As for reverb, Che initially experimented with some plate reverb on individual tracks, but concluded that the room’s natural ambience was hard to beat. “We recorded right in Preservation Hall, which was built in the 1800’s,” says Che. “I mean, you can’t get more character than that.”

Title “Higher Ground”
Mixer Che Pope
Recorded by Che Pope & Eric Corson
Talent Drums – Walter Harris
Bass – Ben Jaffe
Trombone – Ronell Johnson
Saxophone – Charlie Gabriel
Trumpet – Branden Lewis
Saxophone – Clint Maedgen
Organ – Kyle Roussel
Mastered by Paul Blakemore

— James Rotondi