How did you determine that you'd record in your house?
During rehearsals I had always noticed that the acoustics were good. I also have an excellent six-foot Steinway grand piano there. I recorded some short television cues in the house. The decision to record an album evolved organically out of our experience with these sessions.
Do you think Langworthy had acoustics in mind when he designed the space?
He's definitely a jazz fan, but I'm pretty sure he did not think of the acoustics in his original design. His interest was more architectural. I think he was primarily concerned with designing good homes for the largest number of people possible.
Greg Reitan - Daybreak by user5465176
What about the space gives it the quality that you like in your recordings?
The redwood has a particular warmth that definitely comes through on tape. Also because we're working here, the atmosphere is very relaxed. As a result, the trio has the space and time to be creative. Each album has been recorded direct to 2-track Stereo and since there is no mixing involved the whole thing goes directly to the mastering engineer (Mark Wilder at Sony Studios in New York City). He puts on a few finishing touches but the overall process is fairly straightforward.
Do you feel like you're part of a particular jazz lineage recording in a residential setting?
To some extent. Rudy Van Gelder and Blue Note is one example. But the technology has become more portable in the last decade and with the right equipment and an ear for balancing the instruments, more home-based recording is possible.
Greg Reitan - Chelsea Bridge by user5465176
Have you recorded anyone else in the place?
No. It's primarily my own work space for composing, practicing and recording.
How long does a typical recording session take? How many did you have?
The albums often develop over a few months. Typically, during recording, the trio will meet once a week for a two-hour window. We get anywhere from two to three tunes finished in that time.
Greg Reitan - Lament by user5465176
Do you plan to keep recording in your house?
Between practicing, recording, and living there, don't you get a bit stir crazy?
It's a pretty small space in terms of square footage, but because of the open concept and full windows, it feels really spacious. We're lucky, too, that the house is up on a hill with very few other houses nearby—sometimes it feels like you're out in the country, but all of L.A. is very close. Between performing, touring and working in the L.A. studios on film and television projects, there's a lot going on.
Aaron writes the men's style column "The Pocket Square" for the San Francisco Chronicle and has written for the New York Times, the Times Magazine, Newsweek, National Geographic and others.