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JBBG featuring Jon Hendricks Print E-mail
May 05, 2005 at 08:53 PM
So, it's 1st of may again and I'm still in Graz - so I do what I do every year, being at the opera house and doing FOH for the Jazz Bigband Graz featuring a great artist from the real jazz continent.

This year it was Jon Hendricks, known as a jazz vocalist "of the first hour" as we say in german and inventor of vocalese. He is without doubt a living legend for a good reason and a really really nice, sympathetic person. Of course I attended the rehearsals the day before the concert to see what I could expect and had a bit time to chat with him and his daughter (also very friendly!).


After the usual hassle with the PA system (although it was better than the year before), the PA still sounded very dull. The funny thing is, we used almost the same setting as last year where it was ok for me, although I have to admit everything above 7kHz was also very blurred. The system tech meant it must be the console, but I still think it's the PA (Nexo AlphaE). I know the Nexo Alpha pretty good and it doesn't suffer this problem at all. As far as I know the major difference is the MF/HF cabinet. To me it seems it's not a good idea to use a 3" driver for mid- and highrange, it's just not fast enough, it's just a nice midrange driver. I had the same system from the same company for a funk gig (Funkanansie) some months ago and although it seems to be very responsive and flat it just doesn't "sparkle" enough for this class of PA systems. It became totally obvious to me when I had a concert with Funkanasie on a similar console a few weeks later on a large Alpha (not AlphaE) installation and it was just fine. So, if the rental company wants to do the job at the opera next year, they will have to bring something else.

But ok, there was nothing I could do about it, adding 8+kHz with a FCS960 resulted in artificial and harsh top end, so I decided to leave it and focus more on my job. From a technical point of view I was a little bit afraid to run into the same problem as last year, keeping the voice on top of the band, so I set up my usual processing, but in addition a pair of dbx 1066's in the group inserts after the bus compressors of reed and brass that received their voice through the side chain. I didn't want to use it, but this was just for the "in case" situation, as the rehearsal the day before the concert was very long... And as always, if you're prepared you don't need it - the band was really disciplined to follow Jon with every single (de-)crescendo, just great. I hardly used more than -1 to -3dB sidechain compression, that's the way it should be!

The overall sound was decent for me and there were some magic moments during the two sets, so I would say a felicitous evening. 

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