Jazz Lab at the BCA Center - Live on the Radiator

jazzlab1 Words and photos by Cheryl Willoughby.

For the last several years, the Discover Jazz Festival has sponsored Jazz Lab – an opportunity for a few select bands to work with professional audio engineers on their recording projects. The sessions (three, generally, one each spread out over three afternoons) are also broadcast live on the air in their entirety right here on The Radiator.

Last Saturday was the last of the sessions for this year’s Festival. The final band was the Burlington-based Afrobeat band Barika. They had been hand-picked to come in and record the final two tracks on their forthcoming album. By the time I arrived at the BCA Center’s second floor the main part of the session was just concluding and the engineers were working on a few overdubs with keyboardist Andric Severance and trombonist Gordo Clark. It’s a cool experience to be part of a live recording session, watching the creative process shape the sound and evolve as the music takes form.

That’s what Jazz Lab is about: along with being a valuable opportunity for the bands that are involved, it’s also an open setting that welcomes a transient audience. Visitors can walk right in off the street, come in and stay a while, learn a little about the recording process, and leave whenever they need to. Nothing formal.

In listening to Saturday’s recording session I have to think that kind of environment has potential to add a little edge to the performance, much as any other live gig does. Kind of like doing live radio!

Big thanks to Barika, the Burlington Discover Jazz Festival, Lisa Giordano, and the Radiator's own Brian Bittman and Chanon Bernstein for making Jazz Lab on the Radiator happen this year.