Executive Producer: Ken Salkin
It is hard to have a conversation with Misha without holding one’s sides after he gets you laughing so hard you can’t stop. But underneath this jocularity lies a warm heart and the soul and technique of a serious jazz pianist.
Misha knew that Yarlung’s microphones, generously provided by Gearworks Pro Audio for the last decade, were no longer available. Misha knew that we had an important upcoming recording session with Color Field String Quartet and Laura Strickling and Thomas Sauer scheduled at Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa. This was our first project with the young New York composer James Matheson. Misha sensed I was nervous about capturing this quartet and singer and piano with the customary “Yarlung Sound.” Misha offered to be our guinea pig, knowing that piano is both difficult to record and the perfect instrument to reveal strengths and weaknesses in microphones. What a musical guinea pig!
Yarlung Records made its first two jazz albums with Misha in Cammilleri Hall at the Brain and Creativity Institute at USC. Misha played piano as a member of Sophisticated Lady jazz quartet. Dr. Antonio Damasio invited us back to Cammilleri Hall for these microphone tests and Misha spent a long session improvising on the piano for us as we tried myriad microphones and a few additional microphone preamplifiers as well.
After our first “test,” I realized we had something special. Not only was Misha relaxed and goofing around musically on the piano, but the microphones sounded so different from one another that we realized we might have stumbled into what could become an interesting album for jazz enthusiasts and audiophiles alike. Some of our tests didn’t work, but most did. This album, thanks to Misha’s playful talent, generous support from our executive producer Ken Salkin, Salesforce.com which has supported Yarlung for over five years, and Antonio Damasio who built such a beautiful concert hall, is the result. And so are our recordings with James Matheson, Mika Sasaki playing the music of Clara Schumann, and Sibelius Piano Trio, in honor of Finland’s 100th Anniversary of Independence, for which we used microphones Misha Bigos helped us choose.
–Bob Attiyeh, producer