Sometimes playing and composing doesn’t feel like enough. Producing music can be the most satisfying musical experience, as the producer can not only play and compose, but harness the talent of a diverse group of artists, ranging from the sound engineers to the vocalists to the instrumentalists. Logistically and artistically weaving together musicians and technicians from different genres is, for me, where the challenge, and ultimately, the beauty is. If it works, one is forever linked to these partners with whom one has created a holistic expression. If it does not work, the pain of the failure makes me want another chance.
I have produced music with many artists, including John Scofield, Chris potter, James Genus, and Saul Kurtz. Their talent is there, plain and simple, and it is my job as a producer to shine light on their talent by guiding everything from the business process to the shaping of the sound with the help of skilled sound engineers. In the end, to produce, one must be willing to engage in the sometimes painfully circular process of listening and modifying, listening again, and modifying again. Eventually you have to accept some finished product and this acceptance is made so much easier when great musicians and engineers have done their level best.
I feel privileged to have worked with some great players and “techs” from whom I have learned the difference between an idea and a refined track.