Coming Soon -- (December 15, 2009)
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Why Make Time For Music? -- (November 28, 2009)
When we watch TV or go to the movies, or for that matter, read a book, we are captives of someone else's imagination. We see and hear what they want us to see and hear, and visualize what they want us to visualize. We have basically surrendered our consciousness in order to be entertained. And that's fine in moderation. But when we listen to music, our minds are free to wander and we can think about anything we want to, especially with instrumental music, although lyrical music often allows many interpretations. We are in control of our own imagination and free to make our own associations. Through music we can relive the happy times, and re-experience the bittersweet. So, we should make time for music. Our lives should not be spent in passive observance as spectators. We need to participate and think and feel for ourselves. Listening to music, we are encouraged to do so - the music stirs up emotions - and we are active participants. Music provides both entertainment and a catalyst for our imagination. Basically, music enriches our lives, intensifies our experiences, and gives more meaning to who we are. That's why we say: make time for music.
Coming Soon -- (November 28, 2009)
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The Impact of Music -- (November 13, 2008)
Humans are a musical species yet we all understand music differently. It's true that music is a way of communicating that crosses barriers, be them cultural, linguistic, or developmental. But it's more than that. There are several studies that suggest music is a healing force. For example, according to this article by the US News & World Report, "Music therapy has been practiced for decades as a way to treat neurological conditions from Parkinson's to Alzheimer's to anxiety and depression." Furthermore, the article offers that "the human brain is innately attuned to respond to highly rhythmic music." Perhaps this is why it seems music is found in more places than ever before. Music has infused television commercials and barber shops, waiting rooms and grocery stores. Everywhere we go, we are bombarded with messages.
So how are we moved by music, when our lives are cluttered with noise? If it's a healing force, do we innately seek it? An article in Wired explains that "most people in Western society use music to regulate moods." Whether or not we do it actively or passively depends on the person and the situation. Sure, going to the gym makes you seek upbeat music whereas a dinner party suggests some easy listening. And a heartbreak almost begs a sad song on repeat. At the very least, music enhances daily activities - from cooking and commuting to meals and cleaning. If listening to music ignites a chemical reaction and as a result makes you happier or healthier or more content in the now, then either set your playlist and enjoy - or embrace the playlist around you.
Behind the Scenes: Thoughts from Valerie -- (July 10, 2008)
Music has always been an integral part of my life. I started playing the piano as a young child, and quickly fell in love with the idea that I had the ability to communicate something words could never articulate. It was a freeing feeling to be able to manipulate the notes, rhythms and dynamics of each piece. As I grew older, it became a very competitive hobby and I got a thrill out of being judged on my performance. It then became a lucrative business, as I tapped into the wedding industry. And as I entered college, it became more than a leisure pursuit - but rather a calling. However, I never wanted to be a performer, I never wanted to be on stage. Rather, I wanted to make sure that others didn't miss the joy in truly experiencing music.
And that's honestly why I love working for GrandVista. It's a company that believes in making quality music. It's also a company that believes individuals - people like you and me - crave good music. That's why GrandVista only hires the most talented musicians in Nashville. That's why GrandVista uses the most up-to-date recording technology. That's also why GrandVista aims to develop its label as a brand you can trust to create music that is really good.
Music has always been a part of my life. It's written in my bones; it's in my blood. I hope if you are reading this, you are also experiencing the joy that music can bring to your life. Whether it accompanies an occasional dinner party, or it's the center of your days, I sincerely hope that you "Make Time for Music."
Behind the Scenes: Thoughts from Mary -- (April 14, 2008)
with Mary Moffet
Like most people in the music industry, music has always been a huge part of my life. Not only because I'm a musician, but because music for me is an emotional touchstone that can bring me back to certain events in my life without even being aware of it. Music paints vivid pictures in my memory.
My musical inspirations span generations. From being a classically trained musician myself, to a love of all things jazz, there are just too many artists that have been inspirational to me to list specifics. But, I can say that I basically came out of the womb listening to the Beatles and my favorite musician today (besides my lovely husband) is Pat Metheny. Metheny brings a fresh voice (along with technical brilliance) to each of his projects... without losing the core of his sound. I see some of the same in newer talents such as John Mayer and Norah Jones.
As the caretaker of GrandVista's "look", I use my passion for music to give our products a classic, modern feel. My grandmother was an artist and taught both art and photography for a living. I may have hated to go to yet another art museum, but the exposure to form, perspective and color must have stuck. Now I can't look at a CD cover, restaurant menu or an advertisement without thinking about that design and if it could be improved. Having worked in many record stores in my past, I was always moved by certain types of cover design. My inspiration is derived mainly from several record labels who really "got" how keep the design simple, while letting the music shine through... Windham Hill, ECM and Blue Note Records are fine examples.
I'm happy to say that I have a job that I love, in a company where everyday is an adventure. I feel lucky to be part of this great team of creative people as we chart a new course throughout the changing music industry.
Behind the Scenes: Thoughts from Beth -- (April 03, 2008)
with Elizabeth Deem
Music has always been a passion of mine. I listened to all kinds of music growing up - but the ones that made the most impression on me were "The Monkees." I watched the TV show and had all of their LPs. As a child, I sang in the children's church choir and played the Trombone. I had a music teacher that made learning music fun - and that really makes a difference. In high school, I participated in Marching band, Pep band and Jazz band. I also assisted the band director in teaching elementary students how to play their instruments. In the process, I taught myself to play most every instrument because I wanted to be able to show the kids how to do it. These things, collectively, have all influenced my appreciation for music today.
Music has a very prominent role in my life. When I think about some of my favorite artists, names like Mozart, Chicago, Glen Miller, Tina Turner, Billy Joel and Johnny Mathis come to mind. I could go on an on! I'm thankful that I get to work in such a changing industry. It's interesting learning how organizations within this industry are rethinking their approach to getting music out into the world. The music industry is really going through growing pains right now. One of the neat things about working here at GrandVista is it's like having an extended family. I love being a part of a company that prides itself in putting good music out there for people like me - people who just love music.
In the Studio -- (March 06, 2008)
With Tim Powell
He collected records throughout his childhood.
His family is a musical one.
He has brothers and sisters who are also musicians.
It is only natural that producer and arranger Tim Powell can't remember a time without music. "It's always just been a very big part of my life," Tim says. "I remember watching shows, and wanting to be a piano player. As I got older, I was able to learn the technical aspects of music. Orchestration was always fascinating to me. I loved learning about how all of the instruments sounded together."
Tim has been in the GrandVista studio recording several projects for Gaylord Entertainment, who he has worked with since 1989 when he auditioned for the Opryland theme park. He got the job as a performer on the General Jackson Show Boat. After four years, Tim moved to Texas to play for Opryland's new park, Fiesta Texas. It was also where he pursued his passion for orchestrating. "When I was in Texas, I worked with a musical director, and started arranging music for him," says Tim. Eventually, he found his way back to Nashville. "This city is a great place for someone like me to live and work."
Currently, Tim arranges and produces for multiple companies including Gaylord Entertainment, Gary Musick and GrandVista Music. He also serves as the Musical Director for the Alabama Theatre. "About 95% of the work I do is for music production companies." He handles all of the producing duties, much of the mixing and mastering, and often composes pieces for many of his projects. "I love what I do. I feel very fortunate to have done this for the last 20 years."
GrandVista Music is excited that Tim Powell is currently working on Orchestra Mastrangelo as an arranger and stage show writer. Stay tuned for more information about this new release.
Romancing the Night: From Concept to Creation -- (February 20, 2008)
With Bob Mater
Bob Mater offers a glimpse into his most recent effort "Romancing the Night," a three-disc series of themed music: "Dream," "Moon" and "Love
What is your musical background?
I took piano for fourteen years, but I ended up becoming a drummer because that's what I was getting called to do. I went on the road for a couple of years, and ended up here in Nashville. I've been doing sessions and gigs ever since and I'm known for being a reading drummer and a "jazzer."
Talk to me about the genesis of this project. How did it begin?
We had a meeting in the summer of 2006. We were talking about concept records. Dave got excited about this Dream concept. All of the songs would have the word Dream in the title. This is fun and exciting because it doesn't tie you down to a certain decade, artist or composer. So, you can have this great mix of familiar, great songs, without being too confined.
How do you typically approach arranging?
Well, a lot of it is just inspiration. It's kind of a hard process to explain. Something will click that will get you going down a road - an idea, a groove, maybe just a treatment for an intro or something like that. And that will spark the entire arrangement. And once you get going you just kind of hear it.
How would you describe the process of making these albums?
It evolved. The original concept was to do kind of a smooth jazz/easy listening. That's a little misleading because there's not really a contemporary label you can put on this thing. I wanted to feature piano, sax and acoustic guitar as our main voices. I also wanted to create something that I liked listening to, and that I thought my in-laws would also enjoy. I aimed to bring richness and a quality to it that would please all of us.
What separates this project from other projects out on the marketplace?
I haven't seen this particular theme idea out there. I think it is perfect for folks who are having dinner parties, that want to have a romantic evening at home, that want to take a drive and listen to music in the countryside, or take it on vacation. It's music that can be used in a lot of situations in your life. That being said, it's not just background music. There's some real meat on the bone. It's a rich thing that can be enjoyed on a lot of different levels.
How did you decide which songs to add vocals to?
Some of them are just plain vocal songs. It goes back to the tradition of a lot of arrangers' records, that I grew up listening to - particular in the Smooth Jazz era - even people like Chick Corea, would put out mainly instrumental records with a couple vocals. People like Quincy Jones would have Dee Dee Bridgewater sing a couple of songs. This is kind of an extension of that tradition.
Do you have a favorite song on this compilation?
Our Love is Here to Stay. That was my first dance at my wedding.
Which song was challenging for you?
The Dream. It's a big piece of music. The challenge was finding a form that would incorporate the sax, guitar, and piano in a logical way.
What inspires you now?
What's great about being here in Nashville is that the talent pool is just so deep and outstanding. They are not only great musicians but they are great people. I could go on and on about the musicians on each of these records. And all of the folks here at GrandVista really are the best.
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Behind the Scenes: Thoughts from Walt -- (January 10, 2008)
People outside of the industry always ask why I got into the music business. I have never had any musical talent (I tried piano lessons when I was about 6, going each Saturday morning for my 8AM lessons. As you can imagine that didn't go over well.) Music has always held an important place in my heart. When I bought my very first LP (Jimi Hendrix, Axis: Bold As Love) that started a continuing love affair with records. I lived in the record stores. I loved everything about them. I would save all my money just to be able to buy new LPs. I wanted to hear everything: all music, all genres.
My first two concerts were Iron Butterfly and the Temptations. I loved them both! To this day, my tastes are still very eclectic, from Bluegrass to Opera. I have been blessed to work and meet many great artists, from Dexter Gordon to Bill Monroe. The music business has fulfilled a beautiful destiny for me. GrandVista Music is a great, exciting new chapter. GrandVista is about people and the love of music. This company has genuine people who really care about the music; people who are open minded about the approach we take to market. This is a team that generates passion with what they do. With this type of energy, you know that this music has been cared for and nurtured to provide a moving musical experience. We love what we do. We hope you love it too.
Producing How Sweet the Sound -- (November 29, 2007)
with: Chris Walters
Chris Walters, co-producer and pianist for "How Sweet the Sound," sits down and talks with GrandVista about his musical upbringing and his latest creative endeavor.
Tell us, Chris, about your musical background?
I started playing the piano when I was 7 and studied piano and liturgical organ. I started playing the organ and the piano in church services at my parish when I was eleven or twelve, and continued my studies through high school and into college. I studied the pipe organ with an accomplished musician in St. Louis, Marie Kramer. I studied a varied of works by classical composers including Bach's Orgelbuchlein, a series of chorale preludes based on hymns.
Who are your greatest musical influences?
I can't think of who has not influenced me. If I had to narrow it down, I would say George Gershwin was really important, and Chick Corea. But those are just two among many.
How would you describe your style?
A gumbo mix of traditional bebop jazz, baroque and romantic classical music, and New Orleans hoodoo R&B and Funk.
How did you come to produce "How Sweet The Sound?"
David Mastran, the Chairman of GrandVista, was appreciative of the approach I took arranging and playing piano while recording one of his original songs and thought I might do a similar treatment to well known hymns. My approach to the music on "How Sweet The Sound" began as a personal journey to delve into this music that is so deeply imbedded in our culture. With the brilliance of the other musicians, what began as jazz trio arrangements soon blossomed into fully realized orchestral excursions.
Describe the process of making this album.
I wanted to do something different that had a jazz feel yet was true to the hymns and still respectful. I was familiar with the songs in a variety of different situations - in church, on tour, in every different key, with vocalists, without vocalists, etc. I know them inside and out, just through life experience. That part was simple: I knew these songs deeply going into them. But I approached these songs with a specific intention: I wanted to get to the bare essence - the skeleton - of each song and build from that. I tried to make it easier for the listener to connect the dots from jazz improvisation to a melody they knew and loved. Hopefully this provides a new facet of these hymns and a wider audience can appreciate them.
What do you feel is unique about "How Sweet the Sound?"
The integrity of the melodies that have been so pervasive and important to our every day life has been sustained. But through the different ideas of the musicians involved, it approaches these same melodies with various styles and emotions. The various instruments showcase a diverse emotional content that the musicians are feeling. There are 36 hymns, and they all have their own uniqueness about them.
What was your favorite song to record on "How Sweet the Sound?"
Let There Be Peace on Earth. It's a song that I have never liked. I didn't like the melody, I didn't like the way the message was said in the lyrics. It's a great song, but I disliked it for my whole life, until now. Recording the song was a totally different experience. Now, I totally love the song, the lyrics and the message it conveys.
What song was the hardest to conceptualize?
Hark the Herald Angels Sing was the hardest song to make cohesive. I wanted bell tones heralding the entrance of Christ into the world. I also wanted innocent, naïve, angelic voices, singing the melody. But I went into a Cuban feel with the piano - and it was fun. It just felt good. Conceptually - it was very interesting. But the disparity between the two feels was probably the most challenging part - to make it really feel natural, good, and fun.>
Any closing words?
I wanted to embrace the listener, and I feel like we have accomplished that.
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