A Home for Serious Music Makers!

Hot! Episode #1

Episode #1

Recording Date: November 11, 2000
Location: Sigma Sound Studios, Philadelphia

Joey DeFrancesco – Organ
Tuck Andress – Guitar
Victor Wooten – Bass
Roy Wooten – Drums
Jeff Coffin – Saxophone
Kofi Burbridge – Flute
Derek Trucks – Guitar

I Wish                                       BUY
Back In The Chicken Shack       BUY
Oleo                                         BUY

Buy This Episode on DVD

This was the session that created Studio Jams. It remains to this day, for me, the most memorable session we have ever produced – for many different reasons. This is how it all came to be…

Back then, I was producing episodes for another music series…for a show called MusicMakers. Basically, it was a series of 30-minute, musically-themed television programs. I remember one day wishing I had some in-studio performance footage to serve as b-roll to cut into one of those programs. Well, I noticed that Bela Fleck & The Flecktones were soon going to be in Philly for 2 nights – on a Friday and Saturday – as was Joey DeFrancesco, for the same 2 nights. At that time I had known both Victor and Roy “Futureman” Wooten (bassist and drummer for The Flecktones) for a few months and thought, hey, maybe they will want to drop by the studio on Saturday to simply jam, if I could perhaps line up a few others that might inspire them musically. That way I could tape them all having fun, playing music and doing whatever they wanted, and thus have some great b-roll footage for MusicMakers. That was the original plan.

So, I first approached Joey, because his incredible talent can’t help but inspire any serious musician. To my surprise, he immediately said “cool…I’m in.” Great! That was the start. I then called Victor and invited him and Roy to join up as well. Upon hearing that Joey would be there, they both said yes, and asked if Jeff Coffin, their band’s saxophone player at that time, could come as well. Naturally, I said “sure, no problem…glad to have him.”

Tuck Andress

Then I thought it might be nice to add a guitar to the mix. I noticed that slide master Derek Trucks and his band would be in town for a Saturday night gig. I also saw that jazz virtuoso Tuck Andress (Tuck & Patti) was playing that Friday night in NYC and Saturday night in Atlantic City…and would thus have to pass through Philly on Saturday between gigs. So, I thought, who do I ask…Derek the rock guy, or Tuck the jazz guy? In the essence of time, I simply decided to ask both, just hoping that at least one of them – both total strangers to me at that time – might be interested and say yes. Well, lo and behold, they both did!

Derek Trucks

Furthermore, Derek went on to say that his keyboard player and flutist, Kofi Burbridge, was in fact a very good friend of both Victor and Roy Wooten and asked if he could participate in the session too. Well, knock me out! I was in heaven. While my initial hope was to somehow be able to perhaps attract a few seasoned players into the studio to play for an hour or so, I now had enthusiastic commitments from some of the very best in the business!

Victor Wooten

So here was my complete list of musicians that day…Joey DeFrancesco on Hammond B3 organ, Victor Wooten on bass, Roy “Futureman” Wooten on drums, Jeff Coffin on saxophones, Derek Trucks on guitar, Kofi Burbidge on flute and Tuck Andress on guitar. Wow…what a lineup.

After everyone arrived, it took a few minutes to work through all of the technical challenges that go with setting up a live recording session. As that was happening, I found it very interesting to see all of the musicians enthusiastically meeting one another and simply talking about music and life. I thought capturing some of that on tape might be interesting to viewers as well…so I instructed my cameramen to start rolling tape while we were all getting set-up. After 30 minutes or so, we were finally ready to begin.

Joey DeFrancesco

At first, the guys kind of just sat there, trying to decide what to play. So I went up to Tuck and quietly suggested that he suggest Stevie Wonder’s “I Wish”, remembering how blown away I was years before when I heard him perform it live – with it’s complete textured arrangement – on solo guitar. Tuck did just that. It was interesting to watch Jeff and Kofi work out the “horn section,” while Derek picked through the melody line. After 15 or 20 minutes rehearsal, we cut the track in 2 takes…with impressive solos by everyone. It is perhaps my favorite all-time Studio Jams track – and not just because it happened to be the very first Studio Jams track we ever recorded.

Jeff Coffin

After “I Wish“, Joey suggested “Back At The Chicken Shack.” No rehearsal was necessary and after but a few minutes we cut another fantastic track, highlighted by another round of terrific solos, included a section with Jeff playing two saxophones simultaneously (ala Rahsaan Roland Kirk). Next, and to wrap up the session, Joey suggested the Sonny Rollins classic “Oleo.”  Joey drove it hard with an aggressive arrangement that kept everyone on their toes. It was yet another truly great track.

It was clear to me that there was magic in the air that afternoon. All of the musicians had a blast. When it was all over, Victor made it a point to tell me that…”now, this is a show, Tom!” And so it was…and from this session, Studio Jams was born.

– Tom Emmi / Producer

“I am a huge fan of this show. I have been a musician all my life, but nothing like the artists you feature on this show. All of these artists are the best in the business and an inspiration to all of us to strive to do more. I love the show. Keep up the good work.”

— D.K.