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Hot! Episode #4

Episode #4

Recording Date: March 17, 2001
Location: Sigma Sound Studios, Philadelphia

Musicians:
Stanley Jordan – Guitar
Victor Wooten – Bass
Roy Wooten – Drums
Jeff Coffin – Saxophone
Bill Jolly – Keyboards

Songs:

Overjoyed                                     BUY
Cousin Mary                                 BUY
Take The A Train                           BUY
Mercy, Mercy                               BUY

Buy This Episode on DVD

This was a pretty cool session. Despite the fact that it was only the 4th episode of the series that we were taping, and we were still ironing out some of the technical and logistical kinks involved in its production, it still was a lot of fun. It really helped that 3 of the 5 musicians at the session were also involved in the very first session we taped 4 months earlier, so they were all hip to what was happening. More specifically, they were 3 of the 4 members of the popular jazz-oriented “jam” band, Bela Fleck & The Flecktones (basically, it was The Flecktones minus Bela Fleck)…bassist Victor Wooten, his brother, drummer Roy “Futureman” Wooten and Jeff Coffin on saxophones.

Since that session, Victor has become one of finest bass players in the world today…a virtuoso, and a true master of his instrument. Jeff officially left the Flecktones in late 2010 to become a member of The Dave Matthews Band. I have had the pleasure of getting to know Jeff a bit more over the years, both personally and professionally, and he has fast become one of my favorite people. He is so creative and approachable. He is also a very active and extremely dedicated educational clinician. Jeff is a great inspiration to me.

Jeff Coffin

Joining the 3 of them in the studio that day were both innovative guitar master Stanley Jordan and Philadelphian Bill Jolly on keyboards. Stanley is such an extraordinary musician. His unique and unorthodox style sets him apart from so many of his peers. Bill is a very proficient and experienced musical director, having served that roll for years with the late great Grover Washington, Jr. He is currently quite involved with legendary Hall of Fame songwriters Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff at Philadelphia International Records (PIR).

Victor Wooten

One moment I clearly remember that day was as we were setting up and getting ready to record, Stanley suddenly put down his guitar, walked over to the sink in the studio’s lounge/kitchen area, filled it with warm water, and simply immersed his hands in the water for 30 or 40 seconds. When I asked him about it, he said it was important for his hands to physically be “warmed-up” as well…so as to ease blood flow and sensitivity from the brain to the fingers. Interesting, I thought. But then again, I find most all of Stanley to be quite interesting. He is a very deep, yet personable man…extremely intelligent and spiritual. I loved my time with him in the studio that day. I only wished for more. Looking ahead, I would have him back for another session in a heartbeat.

Stanley Jordan

The first song they decided to play was a nice rendition of Stevie Wonder’s classic Overjoyed. After 10 or 15 minutes of rehearsal, they were ready to cut a track. And so they did. Wow. The musical exchange between Stanley and Victor was mind-blowing. Both these guys are so proficient on their instruments, I found myself literally staring in awe as I watched them perform. It was truly amazing. Next, Stanley suggested John Coltrane’s Cousin Mary. That too, was an incredible performance by everyone…especially Stanley and Jeff during their solos.

It was then time for a short break to listen back to some of what we laid down. (We taped this session in the A-room at the infamous Sigma Sound Studios in Center City Philadelphia, home to all the great music of Gamble & Huff in the 1970’s. We all felt a special vibe in the air all afternoon.) So after the break, all the musicians came back into the studio and proceeded to record a quick take of Ellington’s classic Take The A Train. As expected, it was pretty straight-forward. Nicely played, but I thought the performance was a little too safe…on everyone’s part. Then to wrap it up, Bill put on his Musical Director’s hat and lead everyone through a nice arrangement of Mercy, Mercy, Mercy. It was a nice way to close out the session.

– Tom Emmi / Producer


“Thank you for such a great, and inspiring show. It is awesome to see some of the world’s best musicians write and play together. The wood shedding is awesome. It inspires me to write more great music.”

— P.W.