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It's all about the music, dude! Sit down, relax and listen to some tunes.

Good points. Both you and Allan are right.

I can't say what went down with that Pepper recording, but plenty of small group recordings which were made in one session actually had a lot of pre-recording preparation. In addition to live recordings, many studio recordings were done either during or after tours. The groups had a chance to hone their versions of standards and/or originals. Rehearsals may have preceeded recording, and numerous great small group jazz recordings are NOT one-take-we're-done affairs. But OTOH I think many recordings which turned out to be fantastic (like for ex. Sonny's "On Impulse", Gene Ammons' semi-jam session recordings with guys like McClean/Pepper/Idris/Byrd, many of Sonny Stitt's albums etc.) probably were made with virtually no rehearsing and little preparation before the guys got to the studio.

Larger ensembles are obviously different, and the more complex the music the more preparation/rehearsing it takes. Its one thing to record Oliver Nelson's smokin' but relatively simple charts for some of those Jimmy Smith albums, another for Sketches Of Spain. Duke, Basie, Woody, Stan, Ray Charles, Mulligan etc. all had working bands which got the music together at both rehearsals/gigs. Duke and others did bring new music to recording sessions, but the bands were well honed ensembles pre-recording.

Ornette's groups didn't just get together in the studio for a recording one day, nor did 'Trane's, Miles' '60's/70's/80's groups. Many recordings made in one session were played by musicians who played together often, were very familiar with each others' conception, and often included blues and/or standards. But its also true that the guys on, say, many Bluenote recordings were just plain amazing artists capable of meeting at the studio and burning from the git.

Randy Brecker told me a story about his Denon recording "In The Idiom" with Joe Henderson (which is a hard core jazz recording, and killer). The music was difficult, abnormal forms on some tunes, unusual chord changes, tricky heads. After Henderson agreed to make the recording, Randy told Joe the music wasn't easy and sent the music out to Henderson in California a couple months before the session so he could familiarize himself with it. Now comes the actual recording session, and Randy is on the edge of panic because he just found out that Joe had never looked at the music. The end result? Henderson played the living shit out of Randy's music with no preparation whatsoever prior to the session.


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