Cinesamples Piano in Blue v2.3b KONTAKT
We were provided a unique opportunity to preserve an important piece of musical history in its final days. Word had come to us that the historic Clinton Recording Studios in midtown Manhattan was forever closing its doors, destined to be transformed into a modern condominium complex. One of the many treasures contained therein was this particular Steinway Model D Concert Grand which used to live in the Columbia Records 30th Street Studios. The CBS 30th Street Studio, “The Church” was perhaps the most influential recording studio of the 50’s and 60’s producing dozens of legendary albums in various genres. Of those recordings this piano played a critical role in two albums which are still considered among the finest recordings of all time. First being the original Glenn Gould “Goldberg Variations,” the most critically received classical album of all time. Four years later came Miles Davis’ “Kind of Blue” which forever altered music.
THE STORY CONTINUES…
A friend of ours, John Davis, did a scoring session at Clinton and let us know about the closing as this day was to be the final date. As the conversation drifted from the saddening state of affairs for large stages we came to talk about why this particular stage was a special place. Although I had previously worked at the this studio I was never aware that the grand in the corner was the “one piano” used in so many of my favorite recordings.
At the time we were in Seattle conducting some non-cinesamples recordings. Mike and I walked over to secure a copy of Ashley Kahn’s paperback Kind of Blue: The Making of the Miles Davis Masterpiece. This book pushed us across the threshold and the vision for this session started to become a reality.
As Patti headed back home to put the finishing touches on the Seattle project Barry caught a red-eye that night for Manhattan. We had arranged to extend the closing date of Clinton by one day, just ensuring us enough time to sample this extraordinary instrument. Much of the gear being used was already up on Ebay. It was the last session ever recorded at Clinton.
ABOUT THE RECORDING
With a mind to the handful of historic pictures from the recording Kind of Blue our engineer Tim Starnes (Drums of War, HollywoodWinds, Cinesnares, Cinetoms 2, CineCrash) set up three sets of microphones. The first pair – the M49’s from the old Columbia set up in historical position (note that the original was in mono), the two other pairs each set back a touch, each further from the previous.
We recorded two signal chains for each mic, a clean signal going through the Neve console and one going through a historic tape machine and finally into Pro Tools. We highly suggest exploring the charming colorization of the tape signal but both are provided for your convenience. For some of the youngsters out there – note that tape will alter the sound of medium to high gain velocity layers and that often engineers go through great lengths to achieve this distortion.
The piano was sampled chromatically exposing delightful variances in timbre with each key. This was the only way to get a true representation of the instrument. Barry was the pianist for the sampling and he employed a unique strategy.
– 1949 Steinway D via Neve 8078 Console
– 8 Velocity Layers Sampled Chromatically
– 9300 Samples
– 3 Microphone Positions
– Close/Vintage – 2x Neumann M49 near the lid
– Mid – 2x B&K 4007 at the tail of the piano
– Far – 2x Sennheiser MKH20′s in the hall
– 2 Processing Paths (Tape; Direct in)
– Studer A800MKIII 24 Track Analog Tape Machine
– Programmed by Sam Estes; scripted by Greg Schlaepfer; recorded by Tim Starnes
– Fixes for distorted tape samples
– Fixes for image shift issues