Hot Club of Baltimore Recording Sessions!

The Hot Club of Baltimore began a 4-day recording session this past Saturday. This will be our first album together and we are extremely excited. The recording will feature 13 of the most talented musicians in the Baltimore area and one from NYC. We were very fortunate to have extremely rare vintage guitars to use for the recording courtesy of Michael Bauer who traveled here from Chicago. Sami used a 1950's Di Mauro known as HH with the heart shaped sound hole. There is a cool story about this guitar. Craig Bumgarner, our favorite luthier who happens to be based in Solomon Island Maryland, studied this exact vintage Di Mauro and used those same specs to design his model Corazón. Sami loved the Corazón so much he decided to buy it for himself. So it was only fitting that he play the vintage model for part of our recording session playing this vintage Django Reinhardt music.

Our rhythm guitarist Robert Cuellari chose a very old 30's Selmer-Maccaferri model D-Hole that once may have been played by Django's brother Joseph, and possibly by Django himself.  I played a few different guitars during the sessions, all with completely unique tonal characteristics. At various points I switched between an amazing Selmer Petite Bouche that sounds exactly like what Django would have played in the early 40's, a 60's Favino with a very brash and bold sound, and a very nice Busato. All of these guitars were not only a delight to play, they also really informed our music and brought a distinct and vintage presence to the overall sound. The guitars also affected the way we played and literally inspired us to play in a way that mirrored the style of the 30's and 40's. We are so grateful for Michael for brining his rare and unique collection for us to use.

Day 1 & 2 focused on the early Django sound featuring three guitarists, upright bass, violinist Patrick McAvinue, percussionist Dan Cohan, and clarinetist John Dierker.  We also added the wonderful vocals of Kerra Holtgren and Alexis Tantau.  Pianist Cesar Orozco and accordionist Thomas King joined us late Sunday to add even more dimension to the overall sound.  

Day 3 & 4 will focus more on the late 40's Django sound and include trumpeter Joseph Brotherton, drummer Anders Eliasson, and John Dierker, along with Seth Kibel on clarinet and flute for the 4th session.  In the end, we will have to choose from over 20 songs to decide which will make the final cut.  I can tell you right now that is going to be a hard decision.

We already have at least 10 keepers and there are many more left to record.  We will be using our Craig Bumgarner guitars for the next two sessions and I will also be using my 70's Di Mauro with a Peche a la mouche pickup through a Tone King Falcon amplifier on a couple of songs.

I cannot say enough about our recording engineer Ben Frock.  What a talented and gracious person.  His studio is called Heartwood, named after the very dense wood in the center of a tree.  The studio is filled with vintage microphones, hand made baffles and the room smells of a cedar cigar box.  
There is a gorgeous piano in perfect tune and we were able to have sight lines to each other because the baffles have built in windows.  

Keep in touch.  The CD release date should be sometime early June. We are so excited to share this unique project with you!!  

Michael Joseph Harris 

Michael Joseph Harris