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MP3 MSM Schmidt - Arrivals

Jazz Fusion based on strong melodies and outstanding solos by world known musicians
like Abe Laboriel, Will Lee and Vinnie Colaiuta

13 MP3 Songs
JAZZ: Jazz Fusion, JAZZ: Smooth Jazz


Vinnie Colaiuta - Drums
Brandon Fields - Alto & Soprano Sax
Mitchel Forman - Piano & Rhodes
Wolfgang Haffner - Drums
Scott Kinsey - Synths & Piano
Abe Laboriel - Bass
Will Lee - Bass
Steve Tavaglione - Tenor & Soprano Sax & Flute
Ingo Bittkau - Piano
Lutz Büchner - Tenor Sax
Uli Gadau - Acoustic Bass
Holger Larisch - Guitar
Helge Mruck - Strings
Timm Pyttlik - Trumpet
Bernd Schlott - Clarinet
Kai Thomsen - Synths & Piano
MSM Schmidt - Synths, Programming, Drums

The Project

1. How it got started ...
2. Step Two
3. „Would you like to play to my music?"
4. The worst is the Wait ...
5. Before - After
6. Mission Impossible
7. Once in a lifetime?
8. No gig - No deal
9. Dr. Thomsen: Housecall, please!
10. A look into a hopefully not too distant future

1. How it got started...
„If you don''t like it, then tell us what you''d like to have changed" (an annoying remark of one of my fellow musicians sometime during the 80s).

At that time, I played drums in a band and had no clue of compositions. I was a frustrated, self-taught drummer, never had any lessons, simply playing along in two bands without knowing, how to influence the music I was supposed to be playing.

Helge Mruck was playing keyboards in one of these bands, and sure enough it was Helge, with whom I went about buying my first keyboard, the Roland D50 and who taught me the first steps. With his help, I started to learn an instrument that enabled me to express my musical ideas. During the long years of our friendship, we created an innumerable numbers of songs ... The numbers of keyboards grew, computers and samples were added. Together (with the help of the legendary Atari ST) we composed many songs and founded our own band: Walkin'' on Ice. With this band, we also recorded a CD: „Finally". Our music at that time was already very fusion-oriented . I still played drums in our band, but slowly but surely composing became my passion. When Helge moved to England, the band fell apart.

Composing, free from commercial purposes and constraints, is my hobby since. But I always felt that the songs I composed were too fast and too furious for anybody to listen to, not to mention musicians playing them. However, when playing them to friends, their reactions were surprisingly positive. (Which shows: My friends are all very polite.)

2. Step Two
Little by little, the idea to publish my compositions on a CD came to my mind. Therefore I worked hard on those songs, that were most important to me. In order to give these songs a human touch, I hoped that some of the tracks I had created on the computer would be performed by musicans from flesh and blood and their real instruments. With friends and musicians from my hometown Bremen, topmost with Holger Larisch, we started recording a number of sessions. Some of the tracks were also recorded in the then brand new studio of Ingo Bittkau, Fährhaus Tonstudio, in the coldest winter that we can remember. Among the freezing and shivering musicians that winter were Bernd Schlott, Timm Pyttlik and Lutz Büchner. Uli Gadau recorded at a later - warmer - date. Clever!

3. „Would you like to play to my music?"
I am a fan of fusion and I love the band Metro. Their sound was and is my ideal and my inspriation, too. I wished to win one or the other musicans from Metro for my project. Therefore, I had to overcome my timidness and finally sent an email to Wolfgang Haffner asking him: „Would you listen to my music?" and Wolfgang would. Wow! I sent him my CD immediately and Wolfgang spontaneously declared that he''d play drums on some of the tracks.

Through Wolfgang I got in touch with Mitchel Forman, Will Lee and Brandon Fields, and each time I asked „Would you like to play to my music?" I got a kind and positive reply. I always sent a demo CD first and then we discussed, which other material was neccessary, the format of their recordings and of course the financials. It b went marvelously well, the musicians were in top form. Thanks to Wolfgang.

At the same time, in a fit of megalomania, I contacted the brilliant saxophone player Steve Tavaglione and sent him a CD. Steve spontaneously joined the project as well, and since he was going to record with Scott Kinsey, the keyboarder of Tribal Tech, and do the recordings in Scotts studio, he suggested to ask Scott to contribute a few tracks as well. This is how Scott came to join the project, and it was him, who brought in Abe Laboriel and Vinnie Colaiuta. Sheer madness!

4. The worst is the Wait...
For each musician I prepared a CD . On the CD were the tracks I wanted each of them to play, once with the instrument as I had programmed it, and once without it as a kind of playback. Since I can'' t read or write notes, I asked Ingo Bittkau, who helped to write the charts for each track, a hard and detailed work. Without these charts, some of the songs might have sounded differently (but not neccessarily better).

Since my contacts with all the musicians were almost exclusively by email and I was not present, when they recorded, each of them had a lot of responability for their tunes. Their biggest problem however seemed to be to find time in between their studio appointments and gigs, to finally record my tracks. Waiting was the worst . But when the waiting was over and their CD with their tracks arrived, it felt like Christmas.

5. Before and after
Each time a CD arrived, I listened to the pure tracks first and was generally overwhelmed. Mitchel Forman, for example, had recorded a variety of tracks for each song. Not only did I have to make a choice between the different tracks for each song, but, as Mitch suggested in a later email, I had also the option to switch between the tracks, combine different tracks in the same song ...

In order to make room for each musician and his performance, I started to integrate their tracks into my songs. More and more of the tracks I had created on the computer became obsolete and consequently were deleted. Some songs really changed charakter, as may be witnessed on Before and After, a webpage which will be set up later on.

6. Mission Impossible
Between January and March 2002, Holger Larisch mixed most of the songs on this CD in his private studio in the quiet of the night. He would not do without recording a few extra guitar tracks. „Bouquet" and „Lullaby" were mixed at the same time in Ingo Bittkau''s Fährhaus Tonstudio. In March 2002, everything could have been finished, if I had not been infected by the typical artists'' disease. This infection, more commonly know as perfectionism, starts simply by making you listen to the songs over and over again, just to discover a little bit of something here and there and - finally - everywhere, leading to being dissatisfied with the production at the end (besides driving the partner crazy). Months passed simply by trying to optimize the sound.

In October 2002, the songs were finally mastered in the renowned Studio-Nord-Bremen (https://www.tradebit.com) in Bremen-Oberneuland. Besides the familiar atmosphere created by Bernd Steinwedel and Wolfgang Roloff, the studio owner (to some maybe better know as Ronnie) we shared a lot of cabbage soup, got the best coffee in Bremen and the magnificent ears of the great Bernd Steinwedel. I can only recommend any musician to have his or her CD mastered there.

7. Once in a lifetime?
Before we started to master the CD I had thought about the cover design, booklet and label. I am an admirer of the arts of Jean-Michel Folon (https://www.tradebit.com) and had the opportunity to visit the Fondation Folon in Belgium in Spring 2002. I treid to get in touch with him and hoped he would join the project as well. Unfortunately, this did not happen. Therefore, I asked my longtime soulmate Helge, without whom not one sound would have happened, if he#d do the artwork for the CD. Helge had created CD artwork before, for example also for Holger Larisch'' aArea 51 and for Walkin'' on Ice.

He was the one, who thought my CD title „Once in a lifetime" was not appropriate, because - who knows - maybe there''d be a second project following. So he suggested to call it „Arrivals" instead. I liked the idea, and Helge, who had become a professional photographer and teacher at the Glasgow School for Modern Arts started to go about looking for a motiv. Shortly after he found it, the Southampton airport, Helge became father. Ella was born and took Helge out of business for a few months. Finally, in June 2003, the draft for the artwork was finished.

8. No gig - No deal
I had contacted various record labels, but most of them informed me, that they only take up productions of artists, who do live performances as well in order to promote the CDs. This had not been planned. Therefore I made up my mind to publish the CD myself. This wasn''t too bad, since from the very beginning I had had little hope to find a record label. In the worst case, I would publish and distribute it via the internet only. I didn''t have to. By accident, I got information about the local record label Starfish Music. Its owner Frank Fiedler did not hesitate to listen to the CD and to publish and distribute it.

9. Dr. Thomsen: Housecall please!
Without the brave new world of computers, from Atari ST, Mac or Windows PC, which I used over the last twenty or so years, this CD would not have happened. Keyboards and computers are my means to express and record my ideas,. Internet and email enable me to get in touch with musicians at the other end of the world, whom I admire, but whose language I don''t speak well enough to converse with them easily - but can take the time to write them mails, that helps sometimes.

But moreover, without the support of my nephew „Dr." Kai Thomsen, talented keyboarder and gifted computer scientist, who was always there when digital trouble loomed darkest over the project and a housecall was needed, the computer chaos was solved and the project prevented from deletion.

10. A look into a hopefully not too distant future
Besides all the repairs to my computer and the musical support and input, Kai and me started to create new songs, which will hopefully in a not too distant future lead to a new project.

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