"A Friend Stops By..." • Hookist
  • “A Friend Stops By…”

    Alvaro Alencar is a 12-time Latin Grammy winning producer and mixer with 30 Grammy nominations and multiple gold and platinum awards. He has over 100 credits for albums, movies and TV tracks for Brazilian, Latin, US and European markets and has extensive live recording experience for TV and DVD projects.

    On this other occasion, we were tracking for a few days. One of those records where it all happens in the studio as we rehearse and go over the songs and the vibes, and we record it all until it’s right.  One great take, live, band and singer energizing off each other. Unusual to see nowadays, as it can be expensive to stay in the studio for what can be weeks building the complete sonic and musical imagery of an album with the whole band setup in a high standards tracking room.

    That afternoon we were trying a hand at this one song that everybody loved. And every time the band played a take, it was good. Very good. Fun. But never brilliant. Not close to the potential of the song and of the fantastic singer and musicians in the room.  At that level, it had to shine. And it normally did. Those are blessed artists who are deep into their thing. But not that day, though. Despite our excitment.

    Frustration was sinking in bit by bit when we got an unannounced visitor. The lead singer for another famous act stopped by. We’re all friends, he lives nearby, knew we were there, so he went to his favorite wine shop, but a few bottles, some nice glasses and came over. Literally taking over the whole session. His presence was refreshing. We drank, listened to music, drank more, he showed us a couple of new songs he’d been working on. The vibe was excellent. Nobody from the label was around so there was no one worrying about the cost of this wine break.

    After a few bottles we were about to call it a day when the drummer walked back to the studio, started a groove, and was soon followed by the pianist and the bassist. In a few minutes the singer was next to me belting out the song on a hand held mic over this super cool new groove idea. It was a jam. A superlative jam. It opened the door to a song that was to become one of the top ten hits in this artists’ discography. Maria Rita’s Ciranda do Mundo, on Warner Music – Brazil. We were standing inside the fence and our friend consciously or not helped us get back outside, where stuff happens without control for a purpose.

    You can’t reproduce that moment at your heart’s desire. You are lucky enough if you get to experience or witness it at all.  No imitation or reproduction of it is really possible. In certain ways, its magic is all around us. The artist is the camera that can reveal some of it. Every time such moment happens we learn more about life. And we even get a paycheck every once in a while 🙂

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