November 23, 2020. Imagine deconstructing an award-winning 21-piece band, scattering its members not just across the Delaware Valley but the country, having each instrumentalist record his/her parts individually, and then taking each of those individually recorded parts and surgically stitching it all back together to make it sound like the entire band was recorded in the same place, at the same time.
That’s what John Harris and David Pasbrig, faculty in Temple’s music technology program, were tasked with doing in order to make the latest from the Temple University Jazz Band, Covid Sessions: A Social Call, a reality during a pandemic. That’s why, aside from renderings of silhouetted musicians wearing N-95-looking face masks, there’s something else both unusual and striking on this album’s front cover: engineers’ credits.
Indeed, we are living in extraordinary times when “Recorded, mixed, and mastered by David Pasbrig and John Harris” shares front-cover real estate with “Director Terell Stafford.” But what Harris and Pasbrig were able to accomplish by putting this record out is about as close to heroism as one can get in the music industry.
But pros like these don’t need the plaudits; Harris has already got plenty of Grammys, Emmys, and Peabodys to his name anyway. No, the herculean task of putting a big band back together is worth the effort when the audio techs know how good the component parts are and how much better they can be when playing with that singular sound Stafford is always preaching. This is