Monday, 15 July 2013

Bringing Us Together

Me and Scotty in Brooklyn
The daring engineer/producer Scott Harding (aka Scotty Hard) has worked with some of the biggest names in hip-hop, jazz, alternative and creative music. Over the last year, I have been producing Party Hard (for Scotty Hard) with the intentions of both helping out my friend and making a point about the value of intellectual property. Myself and the community of musicians behind Party Hard (for Scotty Hard) are proud to announce the release of this very special track in tandem with the Music Frees All Festival; a three day benefit for Scott happening this weekend (July 19th - 21st). Party Hard is a funky furlough that takes the listener through a gamut of musical territories, with spine tingling solos from John Medeski, David Tronzo and Marcus Rojas. All of the musicians played from their hearts, bringing a unique brand of soul and musicianship to every beat. The track is available here!
In 2008 after a near fatal car accident that left him paralyzed the eclectic engineer/producer Scott Harding spent many months recovering in NY hospitals. After being diagnosed with a severe spinal cord injury Scott worked his butt off in rehab to regain the strength, independence and skills required to start a new life. The outpouring of support on both coasts was immense. The Scotty Hard Trust was set up in his name to help raise funds that provide him immediate and long-term financial support. Unfortunately, not long after his recovery, his health took a left turn. For over a year a circle of friends helped Scotty get the rest he needed in order for him to heal from a pressure wound. While he had limited access to his wheelchair and thus less time to work, his trust has been depleted. Scotty’s patience has finally started to pay off! The wound is healing and he is slowly getting back to work.

Kingdom of Champa Session: Rufus Cappadacio, Billy Martin. Scott Neumann, Bryan Carrott, Tony Scherr
Scott Harding, Marcus Rojas, Teo Macero, David Tronzo, Thomas Chapin, Cteven Bernstein
Michael Blake

Scott and my relationship goes back to our college days but a pivotal recording - 1997’s Kingdom of Champa with the legendary producer Teo Macero at the helm - introduced Scott to a new generation of innovative musicians. Afterwards Scott recorded landmark albums with Medeski, Martin and Wood, Sex Mob, Charlie Hunter and Vijay Iyer, among others. I know that musicians will come together for big reasons and as much as I know Scott deserves an album - NO, a double album! - a tribute was in order. I want  to mention that the bed tracks were recorded by my NYC based band with Ryan Blotnick (guitar), Michael Bates (bass), Greg Ritchie (drums) and Landon Knoblock (fender rhodes). Because of the large line-up only Landon's tracks made it to the final mix but all of their energy and musical contributions are worth noting. I'm grateful to my boys for throwing down for Scotty that day. 

Scott with Medeski, Martin and Wood
Scott with guitarist Charlie Hunter
We recorded the bed tracks at our friend Leif Arntzen’s home studio, later adding Miles Arntzen’s driving drum tracks, John Medeski’s B3 organ and a horn section. When it was time to start editing and take the track to the next level I asked the versatile engineer/producer Teddy Kumpel to step in and help man the console. Teddy also added electric bass and recorded all of the remaining tracks. Scotty asked old friends Joel Hamilton to mix and Mike Fossenkemper to master. And just as the track was about to be released, musician/actor/artist John Lurie allowed us to use one of his beautiful paintings for the cover art! It is the cherry on top of a project filled with amazing surprises and world-class artists.

Like so many performing and recording artists I'm interested in the debate about royalty and licensing rights for Internet streaming. In light of new technology and distribution methods musicians are at a crossroads with the music business as to how much money should be allocated for musicians rights. All of us involved in this project think it's important to raise awareness about the negative effects and long term destructive nature of deeming our music an entitlement to a 'free culture' and not worth paying for. With all the funding from downloads directly funding Scott's trust its irrefutable that there is not only value in a recorded work (worth protecting) but it also proves that this money provides an important source of income for artists that we can't afford to loose.

"Party Hard was a pleasure to work on. All of the musicians and engineers donated their time to this cause. I am so proud and grateful that I can share the inspiration and influence of our friend Scott Harding with YOU!” – Michael Blake

Scott and Tom Camuso at their Brooklyn studio.