An Unforgettable Musical Journey: Spanish Breeze
In 2009, a remarkable chapter of my musical journey unfolded within the walls of Westlake Studios in Los Angeles. It was a year of immense gratitude and inspiration as I had the privilege of collaborating with two titans of the music industry, Walfredo Reyes and Bruce Sugar. This momentous collaboration led to the creation of an album that I hold dear to my heart – “Spanish Breeze.”
A Groove Master’s Arrival
In 2009, in the heart of LA, I had the privilege of working with the legendary Walfredo Reyes, known for his epic contributions to Santana and Chicago. This maestro of groove stepped into the studio to record my album, “Spanish Breeze.”
Before this incredible collaboration, I hadn’t met Walfredo in person, but his reputation preceded him. His name came up in conversations with Weather Report’s bassist, Alphonso Johnson, and my dear friend Cristina Abaroa, the Executive Producer at Moonsonic in L.A., known for her Latin Grammy Awards productions.
Cristina and I share a musical journey that began when we studied together at Berklee College of Music in Boston during the ’90s.
Unveiling the Magic
When I walked into the studio, I was pleasantly surprised. Walfredo had delved deep into my music, familiarizing himself with the melodies. He was ready to breathe life into my songs with unwavering confidence.
The recording process was a blast. I firmly believe in capturing music authentically, with all band members playing together. That’s precisely what we did. We played in unison, repeating each take about three times until we achieved perfection. Walfredo took my compositions to new heights, exceeding my expectations.
One remarkable lesson from Walfredo was his approach to tempo. He didn’t shy away from using a metronome, but he illuminated a new perspective. He taught me that it’s okay to have the metronome in front of you, its light guiding us as we dynamically flowed through each song.
Our collaboration extended to a full week, and later, he offered to join me for our European tour. It was a moment of pride when Carlos Santana himself called Walfredo to inquire about his activities, leading to a legendary introduction.
To this day, I listen to “Spanish Breeze” with immense fondness. Walfredo’s groove, precision, and sheer brilliance on the drums continue to amaze me.
Walfredo Reyes, you’ve etched your mark on my music and my heart. Thank you for the unforgettable experience. 🥁🎶
Less Compression, More Kick Drum:
Bruce Sugar, My Favorite Recording Engineer from L.A., U.S.A. He is a Grammy-nominated engineer known for his work with Ringo Starr, Paul McCartney, Joe Walsh, Guns N’ Roses, and more, joined my team to produce my album ‘Spanish Breeze’ at Westlake Studios in L.A. in 2010.
We opted to record the album live, with Bruce’s expertise in capturing the live feel. Recording at 96kHz and 24-bit resolution allowed the nuances of my dynamic music to shine with clarity and depth.
Bruce’s greatest impact came during the mixing process. After my initial mix in Barcelona, I wasn’t satisfied. Bruce’s improved mixes revealed the issue: the kick drum lacked presence. He revitalized it, infusing the mix with dynamic energy and minimal compression, making the band groove around it.
The album reached #36 on the Top 50 U.S.A. JazzWeek World Music Album Charts in 2010 and was #32 on the U.S.A. College Music Journal Jazz chart.
Later that year, Bruce visited Barcelona, and we celebrated the album’s success with delectable Catalan cuisine and fine wine.