Tag Archives: studio session

David Garfield, Steve Ferrone, Soren Reiff & Will Lee in the studio recording Funky Mama - for Soren Reiffs Miss You album

Writing music – Funky Mama

Here’s the story about how I was writing music without being aware of it – unfortunately I think it happens often for a lot of people who writes music. As a little “bonus” you can read why the title “Funky Mama” is appropriate for this specific song I’ll use for this story. It’s always tricky to find titles for instrumental tunes 🙂

Writing music – writing Funky Mama

I was visiting my parents, staying at their house for the weekend. As I’ve written earlier I always bring my guitar for holidays. When I arrived we had some nice food, some good wine and talked a lot. The day after we all sat in the living room, doing whatever we liked to relax. Mom was reading a book in her favorite chair, dad was looking thru some art books. I was just jamming around on my guitar.

After a while I decided to make some coffee. Dad was still reading and mom was doing their laundries. While I was in the kitchen I heard her whistle a catchy phrase. I thought I knew it from somewhere but couldn’t decide from where. After a while it started to annoy me that I couldn’t name or categorise her tune. I went to her and asked – “what’s that you’re whistling … it sounds familiar?”. My mom laughed and told me that it was what I have been playing in the living room a little earlier.

Back in the living room I picked up my guitar. Within seconds I realised that she was right – it was the “theme” I’ve been jamming around for some time. I decided to record a memo in my phone. Good decision. Just a few weeks later the tune was added to my bands setlist.

When I was jamming in my parents living room I wasn't aware of I was writing music ... and didn't knew I would be recording the tune shortly after with some outstanding musicians. Here we are - David Garfield, Steve Ferrone, me & Will Lee in the studio recording Funky Mama, for the Miss you album

From the session for my second album Miss You – David Garfield, Steve Ferrone, me & Will Lee recording Funky Mama.

Writing music without being aware of it

I had been writing music and composed a complete song without being aware of it. It would have been forgotten, if my mom hadn’t started to whistle the theme. After this experience I record almost everything I jam over for more than a few minuttes. Therefore I’ll suggest that you also remember to record whatever you’re jamming around with. You’ll never know when something interesting is showing up.

And a little fun fact: neither my mom or I was aware of the odd meter within the song. There’s a 5/4 bar in the middle of the A-part. I realised that when I introduced the tune to the band, and the drummer had to hear it twice to figure out what was going on 🙂

From the recording of Funky Mama to the US Tv Show Studio Jams

From the recording of Funky Mama to the US Tv Show Studio Jams

Later on I have even recorded the song on my second album. I also ended up jamming the tune on the American TV-show Studio Jams – you can see that part from the episode here. All this just because my mama caught the riff and started to whistle while she walking around fixing some things.

Have a wonderful day

Soren

You can read about how we recorded that tune for the TV-show Studio Jams here and watch that part from the episode here.

Welcome to my blog!

Soren Reiff - Shades

I’m Soren Reiff, a pro guitar player, composer, producer, author who want to share experiences about working in the music business. I hope you will like, share and write comments to my blogposts below this.

You might also want to visit  and hopefully subscribe to my YouTube channels. You’ll find my international channel here and my Danish channel here.

Enjoy – Soren

Gary Novak and Jimmy Haslip recording for the Gratitude album with Soren Reiff

Awesome drums by Gary Novak

Like I mentioned the other day – I have written about my workflow and how I arrange a song. Today, we’ll stay on the track of the real deal – recording drums. I’ll introduce you to world class drummer Gary Novak – the nicest hang with a killer pocket.

I feel extremely blessed because I’ve had the pleasure to play with some of the best drummers in the world: Steve Ferrone, Gregg Bissonette, Chad Wackerman, the late Ricky Lawson and more – yes I’m spoiled – and I’m so happy and proud to be able to add Gary Novak to that list!

Gary Novak and Jimmy Haslip recording for the Gratitude album with Soren Reiff

Engineer Stig Kaufmanas, Soren Reiff, Gary Novak and Jimmy Haslip in the studio

Groovy drums by Gary Novak on the Gratitude album

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Jimmy Haslip is digging deep on Gratitude

Earlier I’ve written about my workflow when developing an idea into a tune or how I work when I’m arranging a song by making demos. This is about recording bass and about the recording session with the awesome Jimmy Haslip for my Gratitude album.

I have had the pleasure to work with many outstanding bass players – Will Lee, John Peña and Mark King, all unique players. Here I’ll tell you about some of my work with Jimmy Haslip – a living legend.

Many years ago I saw Jimmy Haslip’s name for the first time on the album “Mirage a trois” by the band Yellow Jackets. Continue reading

Julie Berthelsen performing with Soren Reiff and his orchestra

Guest appearance with a house-band – part 3

Other things that can cause problems

Yesterday I wrote about the style of the song you will perform with. What other things can cause problems for the musicians individually or the whole band when you are about to do a guest appearance with a house-band?

Maybe you know a certain song where you will shine brilliantly, but it might not be the right choice if the overall result isn’t top notch. A song that seems simple and straight forward to you, is not necessarily easy for everyone. An Icelandic or Faroese folk song that exists only on a sheet of music without bar-lines and proper notation, since it never has been sung in time, is almost impossible for a Danish or American musician to feel comfortable with within ten minutes, since the style and the sound just isn’t what we have grown up with. Or if the foundation for your entire song a fast harp-run, an advanced pedal-steel-country-guitar, or a super advanced programmed drum groove, you might want to consider having an alternate song as a back up, which could sound great the first time thru, played by a regular combo.

A photo from the rehearsals to a TV show - Julie Berthelsen played with me and my band, when she did a "Guest appearance with a house-band" in the program "Danmarksindsamlingen"

A photo from the rehearsals to a TV show – Julie Berthelsen played with me and my band, when she did a “guest performance with a house-band” in the program “Danmarksindsamlingen”

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Soren Reiff's Mesa Boogie Mark IV

Best advice – buying a guitar amp

I’ve written about how you optimize your practicing, and what you should consider if either you or someone you know should invest in a guitar. Today I’ll write my best advice if you or someone around you is considering buying a guitar amp.

Once again I’ll start to mention that this is written to advice beginners, or to inspire you if you are a serious guitar player with years of experience, and therefore a person people would turn to, to get your help in buying guitar related stuff 🙂

My best advice on buying a guitar amp

This one is probably an advice many parent will love because it’s very short and clear: don’t!!

What? … Yes, if you are about to start playing electric guitar, don’t buy an amp.

“Why not? … I got an electric guitar and want to practice?! … You just wrote that I should buy an electric guitar instead of an acoustic, why shouldn’t I have an amp too??”

Soren Reiff's Mesa Boogie Mark IV

My Mesa Boogie Mark IV
This is a super amp with tons of possibilities … but do you need that?

Ok, let me explain. If you just bought an electric guitar, I’ll asume you’re not very sure about  the following things: Continue reading

I have always thought it was fun practicing - but it's paying off when I remember my best advice ... always pracitce something you can't play. Copyright @ Rishi

My best advice

The other day a student from Berklee College of Music asked me if I could give him an advice. Not just any advice – but my best advice to a young guitar player, who wanted to “live my life” and play the type of jobs I’ve done.

That was a tough one. There’s so many things I can think of depending on what you’re focusing at – I mean should it be concerning networking, education, playing gigs, recording sessions, getting the right guitar or practicing … well “practicing” – that’s a god place to start. So here it is … at least one of them 🙂

Practicing

Everyone who is thinking of being a professionel (musician) knows that you have to practice/study (hard). Personally I was told this the very first time by my brother when I was around ten years old. From that day I started to practice a bit more seriously. Later on I practiced many hours every day.

Sometimes Soren Reiff has  been practicing picking technic for hours. In this post you'll get my best advice. Copyright @ Rishi

Often I’ve been practicing picking technic for hours. Copyright @ Rishi

Did it pay off? Yes … my playing improved – and that motivated me to practice even harder.

Did that pay off? Continue reading

My Washburn Strat

I’ve written about my red and brown Gibson ES-346, and I’ve written about one of my my old Valley Arts guitars, so it’s only appropriate to write about my old custom built Washburn Strat, that has been my main guitar for more than a decade!

I’ve used this guitar on tons of sessions, and on every TV-show I’ve done for more than ten years. But even though I can be quite nerdy about guitars, there are several things I don’t know about this one – for instance the model designation.

Soren Reiff's Washburn Strat

Soren Reiff’s Washburn Strat

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A couple of weeks ago I wrote about my first appearance on the TV-show “Studio Jams”, episode #34Today I’ll write about my second Studio Jams experience – episode #47.

As I wrote in my first post about Studio Jams I was very happy to be invited to participate – and being invited back was an even bigger pleasure. So when Producer Tom Emmi asked me if I wanted to do a Swedish show, I agreed instantly.

The line up for Studio Jams #47: Mattias Bylund, Jannik Jensen, Pontus Engborg, Tracy Silverman & Soren Reiff, outside Svenska Grammofon Studion, Gothenburg, Sweden

The line up for Studio Jams #47: Mattias Bylund, Jannik Jensen, Pontus Engborg, Tracy Silverman & Soren Reiff, outside Svenska Grammofon Studion, Gothenburg, Sweden

The musicians for Studio Jams #47

Tom told me that he would bring violin virtuoso Tracy Silverman, but wanted me to find the rest of the musicians. I hadn’t been living in Sweden for that long, so my network of Swedish musicians wasn’t that big. But I had connected to a Swedish drummer, Pontus Engborg on Myspace and Facebook. Pontus and I have a lot of friends in common from the L.A. scene.

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Kim S. Hansen’s keys on Let’s Play

Now it’s time for keyboards … today I’ll let you have a sneak preview of Kim S. Hansen’s keys on Let’s Play from my Gratitude album. When I started to work on this song the working title was Saturday Brunch, so don’t get confused 🙂

I introduced Kim earlier on this blog – we have know each other for more than twenty years now. But since he moved to L.A: and I didn’t, we haven’t seen each other that much. Maybe we have had a beer or barbecue when I’ve been in L.A. but that’s unfortunately not that often.  And Kim and I haven’t been playing together for ages, even thou I definitely miss that.

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