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Hot! Episode #7

Episode #7

Recording Date: April 1, 2003
Location: Sigma Sound Studios, Philadelphia

Musicians:

Vernon Reid – Guitar
Oteil Burbridge – Bass
Derek Trucks – Guitar
Jeff Coffin – Saxophone
Kofi Burbridge – Keyboards, Flute
Yonrico Scott – Drums

Songs:
Butter Biscuit           BUY
Dahlia                       BUY
Red Baron                 BUY

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I didn’t really know what to expect from this session. It was a very eclectic mix, that’s for sure. I can’t remember where I started when I put this one together, but I think I started with guitarist Derek Trucks and keyboard player Kofi Burbridge, two musicians who were part of the very first Studio Jams episode I taped a few years before. This time Derek asked is he could bring his band’s drummer, Yonrico Scott, with them. I had no problem with that at all, for I knew he was a terrific player as well.

So with them on board, I then thought it would be a great time to try to finally add bassist Oteil Burbridege (The Allman Brothers Band, Col. Bruce Hampton, Vida Blue, Oteil & The Peacemakers, etc.) to a session. I learned that he had a gig that night with the Allman Brothers Band in New York City so I thought he could perhaps simply take a late morning train down to Philly, do our Studio Jams gig, and make it back up to New York in plenty of time for his evening gig. So I gave him a call and, without hesitation, he graciously accepted the invite.

Oteil Burbridge

Oteil was a name that bassist Victor Wooten first mentioned to me years ago – as someone who would be great for the program – so I had his name in the back of my mind for quite a while. Oteil is also Kofi’s brother, so it would also be a nice opportunity for them to re-connect.

Next, I thought it might be nice to add a second guitarist, so I set my sights on NYC-based guitarist Vernon Reid (Living Colour). Vernon can freely improvise, so I knew he would be an interesting addition. He also brings a lot of energy to the table. So I worked out the details with his manager and arrangements were made for Vernon to also take a train down to Philly that day. Interestingly, unbeknownst to either of them, Vernon and Oteil were on the same train from NYC and had met each other at the train station as they waited for me to pick them up.

Vernon Reid

Although I had heard that Vernon could be either red-hot or ice-cold in the studio, I didn’t hesitate at all to make the call. Nine times out of ten, I would much rather make decisions based on my own experiences rather than base them on those of others. Fortunately for me, he was red-hot that day and I enjoyed every minute of having him there. He was a pleasure to work with – from start to finish.

So the “band” was shaping up quite nicely. But I still wanted to add a horn player. I can’t remember why he was in the area, but much to my delight and surprise, saxophonist Jeff Coffin (Bela Fleck & The Flecktones, The Dave Matthews Band) was available as well. He had been on the show before, so we both knew what to expect. I could tell that Jeff was looking forward to playing with all of the aforementioned guys.

Jeff Coffin

So, that was the band…Derek Trucks on guitar, Kofi Burbridge on keyboards and flute, Yonrico Scott on drums, Vernon Reid on guitar, Oteil Burbridge on bass and Jeff Coffin on saxophones.

We taped 3 songs that day. First, Oteil led the group through one of his original tunes, an upbeat song with an infectious groove called Butter Biscuit. The arrangement included wonderful solo passages from most of the guys – Derek, Vernon, Kofi, Jeff and Oteil. We cut that track in 2 takes. Nice tune. Next, Jeff introduced Dahlia, one of his many originals. Dahlia is a hauntingly beautiful and pensive ballad. It opened with Jeff on solo sax, and after playing through the head, everyone else just sort of naturally fell in after that. We only recorded 1 take of this song.

Derek Trucks

We then took a short break to listen back to a little of what we had just recorded. When we returned to the studio, we recorded a totally unrehearsed and eclectic take on The Star Spangled Banner – per Vernon’s suggestion (ala Jimi Hendrix). Pretty cool and interesting, that’s for sure. (Unfortunately, we weren’t able to include it in the final edited program due to time constraints…but maybe one day I will be able to include it on a new Studio Jams “outtakes” episode.) As a final tune, Kofi suggested the Billy Cobham classic, Red Baron. This one really came together beautifully. Great groove and some great solos, most notably from Vernon and Jeff.

Yonrico Scott

We taped this session at Sigma Sound Studios in Philadelphia, PA…home to all of the great Gamble & Huff “Sound of Philadelphia” (TSOP) recordings in the 1970s. All in all, it was another nice session. Fresh and certainly eclectic…with plenty of interesting magic moments.

– Tom Emmi / Producer


“Thank you for the wonderful program…where musicians like myself are able to learn and watch great talented players.”

— D.D.