If you're like me, you like deadlines because it helps you get things done. "Work expands to fill the time available," was a quote that always rang true with me.

So I got in the habit of scheduling recording sessions before I had actually written the music or done the orchestrations. If I knew I had a string section coming into the studio on Monday, I would spend the weekend writing the music and getting the parts ready. If I didn't have the session scheduled, I'd find something else to do instead.

Occasionally I'd get right up to the last minute, writing out parts and getting tracks ready to record as the musicians were walking in the door and getting settled. It was a little crazy, I admit.

More than once I realized I really didn't have enough material for the session, so at the last minute I would write out a quick chart to record, sometimes with only a "click" in the headphones.  As luck would have it, some of those tracks turned out to be really good, while the ones I spent a lot of time on didn't always work as well as expected.

Here's one of my favorites, recorded a few years ago. I wrote and recorded the basic keyboard track and a click track about ten minutes before the string players arrived.  As they were tuning up I sketched out a quick chart with trills and some simple melody lines, and we recorded it at the end of the session. A few days later, bassist Mike Hall came in and played his amazing bass part and I added the finger snaps in the control room. It's probably one of my best tunes.

Like I said, lucky :-)


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