The Making of “Live at the Jazz Cave” with Pete Christlieb

PeteTonightShowYears ago I was watching The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson when I heard this amazing sound coming from the sax section. It was Pete Christlieb. My husband, Roger, had known Pete for many years, having played with him in numerous sessions as well as in Bill Holman’s big band, but I first met Pete in 2005. That year he visited Nashville to perform with trombonist Andy Martin at the Watertown Jazz Festival. On that visit, Roger, Pete, and I realized how much we clicked musically. So a few years later Pete returned to Nashville to play on a live recording with the Lori Mechem Quartet at the Nashville Jazz Workshop.

A few weeks before the session, we had an idea of what we were going to play, but it was during rehearsal the day before the recording that we really put it all together. Besides Roger Spencer on bass and me on piano, we had Chris Brown on drums and Andy Reiss on guitar. Pete arranged a beautiful rendition of “You’ve Changed” in which every new section of the tune changed keys, which made the tune very challenging to say the least. Then toward the end of our rehearsal, Pete decided he wanted to play “Turn Out the Stars” by Bill Evans. I didn’t know the tune well, but, thank God, I had just taught a Bill Evans class, so I was able to keep up with Pete on the song.

PeteJazzCaveWe had two nights to record the CD, which was a good thing, because we needed the first night to get all our nervous energy out. The second night everyone locked in, and we swung our tails off. The majority of the tracks on the CD are from the second night. The exception is “Limehouse Blues,” which was the big hit of the first night.

Tom Knox, our recording engineer, did an excellent job of mixing and mastering the CD. Then Brian Parker performed his magical touch with the CD artwork. Man, he’s amazing! We supported the CD release with a few weeks of radio promotion, and it hit #15 on the jazz charts! Pete said that this CD ranked the highest out of all the CD’s he had ever recorded as leader. It was truly a thrill to record Pete Christlieb with the Lori Mechem Quartet, Live at the Jazz Cave. We hope to record again someday with Pete and his lovely wife, trombonist Linda Small.

Comments are closed.