The passing of the Jazz legend Chick Corea influenced some musician friends and I to record one of his classic tracks; 'Spain'. With current Covid restrictions it was not possible for us to get into the same room to record, but we recorded in our own houses/studio and electronically put it together at the end. Gavin Bushell (guitarist) from Godsticks put together a rough track together of guitar chords and a drum track for me to record my piano part to.
It's a tricky song to get right, even as a solo piece let alone with a band where the rhythms need to lock in exactly. The head of the piece is a syncopated riff - this really is the iconic, memorable bit of the piece. It took several days of practise to get this exactly correct. I wanted the two piano solos to have an improvisatory feel, however, they were worked out and practised before hand. The music moves so fast and I didn't want to "run out of ideas" so to speak if I completely improvised the solo.
Next, Gavin recorded his guitar parts. He doubled the piano riff of the head which I think was really effective. Then he worked out and recorded his solos, similar to me. We then removed the sampled drum track and invited Gareth Dylan Smith (Professor of Music at Boston University) to play drums. What is interesting, is that the drums I hear on the track now, are not the drums that I recorded to. It was great to have the sounds of a real drum kit and Gareth's technique took the track to a new level. Finally came the bass from Dan Nelson (bassist of Godsticks). This was the finishing touch of the track and made the sound complete, filling out the lower end of the track.
"Spain" turned out really well and has had a great response. It goes to show that even in a pandemic, musicians can still create great things together. Recording your own parts alone will never replace the thrill of playing all together in the same room, but allowing yourself multiple takes without holding anyone else up reduces the pressure of recording live.
It was a great experience recording "Spain" and I look forward to recording more songs in the future with these guys. Please subscribe to our YouTube channel by clicking here.
PS. See below Stevie Wonder's amazing recording of Spain below: