Paul Van Ross meets the Cuban musicians for his album

August 29.

At noon today I got to meet most of the band that I will be recording with and discussed a little about each tune. I managed to have recordings of most of the tracks for the musicians to listen to. Thank god for my iphone and ipad which I had previously uploaded music / video on.

Was a good start. These musicians were at the top of their field, and they liked my music. After a few listens The Cubans were gathering ideas for each piece. I would throw them some ideas and tell them what I wanted (not jazz sounding). Lets just say they didn’t need much encouragement for ideas. I was getting vibes that this was going to be a great recording session. Each time a Cuban would listen to a track on my phone they would start listening with a dead pan face and end up smiling as it finished. 🙂 🙂

I had charts for everyone, and by end of day had cd’s burnt with sample tracks for the Cubans to listen to. (This was quite an effort to do in Cuba…..should have done this beforehand!!)

Musicians so far:
Changuito – timbales, of Los Van Van fame in 70’s & 80’s
Yoraldy – congas, of Chucho Valdes’ current band
Gaston – double bass, of Chucho Valdes’ current band
And me – flute / saxophone

Musicians met (except pianist – well, actually met an awesome pianist, however he wasn’t available Monday for rehearsal)
Music heard, ideas initiated
Studio seen / booked
Still trying to meet Jose Luis Cortes

Pay deposit for studio
Book taxi for the rehearsal day to pick up musicians and gear on time -Monday
Work out catering for musicians/taxi driver/Jacinto for rehearsal day
Find pianists(s) for rehearsal / recording
Work out money withdrawals as the ATM’s don’t like my visa travel card.

The two Australian percussionists (Steve & Nui) studying here also have offered to used their HD video equipment and cameras to document the rehearsal and recording of my album.


Paul Van Ross records album in New York

August 15.

Well, finally the great day arrived.

Recording in the New York studio for my new album.

A few Australian musicians had recorded with the best of the best in New York before, it’s something I had always dreamed of. You never think you are ready enough. In any case, NOW was the time.

The band was top class:

Ari Hoenig – drums
Mike Moreno – guitar
Matt Clohesy – bass
Paul Van Ross – saxophone / flute

In retrospect it was a well chosen band, not only for their musical talents but because they had played together frequently and had also just been on tour in Europe the week before.

Started the day recording a flute track, a bossa nova which will feature Ari playing the melody on drums.

Midway through the day the ensemble started sounding like a “band”. Lots of interaction, a tight ensemble, everyone listening. This is exactly what I was after!!!!!!!!!! Yeay!

I won’t go into too much detail about the tracks as I don’t want to give too much away. However I will say that:

– Recording and playing with these musicians is probably the highlight of my career.
– I learnt a great deal about being professional and preparing thoroughly for the recording.
– It was inspiring being able to capitalise on individual talents (something Duke Ellington was famous for).
– All musicians wanted to create the best music possible.
– There were NO egos.
– Prior experience in the studio paid off.

Was a sensational day. Wish I could do it again! I’m extremely happy with the recordings.

Thanks to Veronica Hodgkinson Lockett for taking some great photos on the day.

Many hurdles jumped.

I aim to have the album released in early 2014.

Dream came true 🙂


Paul Van Ross featured artist on new Caitlin Smith album

So proud to be part of a New release called “Stories to tell” an album under the name of Caitlin Smith.

The album beautifully presents 9 songs of expression and emotional honesty. Including songs from the pen of such greats as Steely Dan, Elvis Costello, Leonard Cohen and Declan O’Rourke.

This album was recorded in April 2013 and features the talents of:

Caitlin Smith – vocals
Mark Lockett – drums
Paul Van Ross – sax / flute
Alan Brown – Hammond C3 Organ

read more

interview with Caitlin Smith