Record Plant, Sausalito - Historic Nor-Cal Music Studio SAUSALITO, CA
June 26 2023 ! The Record Plant Sausalito Studio Book will be out!
Sausalito Historical Society member Katiana Giacona has put in a lot of work into this book and it includes many old old photos from the opening party in 1973. The book contains interviews with Arne Frager, producer, engineer, and former owner of The Plant Studios, and Ken Caillat, producer of Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours, one of the greatest rock and roll albums of all time recorded at this studio. It is a great collection of information, photographs, documents, and interviews from former receptionists, managers, engineers, producers, and staff.
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Legendary recording studio Record Plant, Sausalito located in Marin County, California.
The former studio site at 2200 Bridgeway holds credits on dozens of gold & platinum recordings including five of the top 50 best-selling albums of all-time. The short doc features commentary from 3x Grammy Award-winner, Record Plant recording artist and Marin County resident, Narada Michael Walden, as well as Darin Chace, longtime manager of Watts Music in Novato, (Marin County’s oldest record store established 1979). Walden’s work as drummer on the Rick James 1981 album Street Songs and producing Grammy-winning records for Aretha Franklin and Whitney Houston at the Record Plant are just part of this legendary locations rich history. “We all knew that working at the (Record) Plant, you were working at a place of history,” says Walden. “Because of the artists that had worked there; Stevie Wonder, Sly Stone, Prince’s first album… Fleetwood Mac.”
In 1976, Fleetwood Mac recorded much of their Grammy-winning classic, Rumour’s album at 2200 Bridgeway. Rumour’s became the 10th best-selling album of all-time. “We could sell this (Rumour’s) album everyday if we had enough copies,” states Darin Chace of Watts Music. “We’ve sold a lot of records made at the Record Plant in our forty years... It’s a legendary place.” A diverse group of artists from Sly Stone and Bob Marley to Van Morrison and Metallica recorded successful projects at the Record Plant, Sausalito until this historically significant location officially closed its doors in 2009. The nearly fifty-year-old building has changed relatively little since it’s initial construction. As of 2021, a group, which includes Fleetwood Mac, Rumours co-producer & engineer Ken Calliet, have purchased the former studio and plan to preserve the site with a future eye on recording, history and education. It is now known as the #SausalitoRecordFactory and is celebrating 50 years at 2200 Bridgeway, in Sausalito, California. 1972-2022
Somewhat lost in the crowded list of albums recorded in Marin County, California over the decades, is the 1963 Fantasy Records release of Vince Guaraldi — In Person, a live album recorded at the Trident lounge located at 558 Bridgeway in Sausalito. The venue (formally known as the Yacht Dock) was purchased by Bay Area folk group Kingston Trio in 1960 and hosted live jazz music nearly every night of the week for fifteen years. The Trident is the location of numerous live jazz recordings during the 1960s, including albums by Bill Evans, Jon Hendricks, Denny Zeitlin, The Don Scaletta Piano Trio, and Vince Guaraldi in December of 1962.
"What Vince has got in his playing is feeling. This is a quality that money can't buy, practice cannot make perfect and technique tends to defeat rather than enhance." - Ralph J. Gleason, San Francisco Chronicle Jazz Critic, 1963
Following a two-week run (ending in November 1962) billing with the Ramsey Lewis Trio at the famed Blackhawk jazz club in San Francisco, Vince Guaraldi and his group began a yearend run of performances across the Golden Gate Bridge at The Trident club in Sausalito. Six months earlier, Guaraldi's breakthrough album Jazz Impressions of Black Orpheus and its' somewhat surprising hit, "Cast Your Fate to the Wind," had been released on San Francisco-based Fantasy Records. By December 1st, "Cast Your Fate…" had entered Billboard magazine charts at #127 and was climbing. Looking to take full advantage of Guaraldi's budding commercial popularity, Fantasy Records set up recording equipment at the waterfront club on December 4th, 1962, to capture Guaraldi in his element.
Vince Guaraldi considered the Trident in Sausalito home turf, having played there since it was known as the Yacht Dock Jazz Club. After the Kingston Trio purchased the venue, more high-profile patrons and artists began calling the Trident home. Guaraldi would ultimately perform at the club for over a dozen years. Soon after the location was rebranded from the Yacht Dock to Trident in 1961, Guaraldi said, "This is one place a jazz musician won't have to work pianissimo to keep from breaking the customers' glasses. The only place we couldn't get complete acoustical control is on the speakers outside, on the yacht deck. On foggy nights we'll have to compete with the Alcatraz fog horn. I feel bad about it. The seagulls really dig us."
On Tuesday, December 4th, 1962, the material for what would become Vince Guaraldi - In Person was taped live at the Trident. Guaraldi’s quintet featured himself on the piano, Colin Bailey on drums, Fred Marshall playing bass, Eddie Duran on guitar, and Guaraldi's former Cal Tjader bandmate, Bayardo "Benny" Velarde, on scratcher. The group recorded several songs that night and ultimately settled on nine for the album, with only one Guaraldi original included; Side Two, track 3: "Freeway." The album captures a unique time and place while hinting at things to come (think of the yet-to-have-been-written "Skating" from Charlie Brown Christmas when listening to "Jitterbug Waltz"). On some tracks, such as Side 1, Track 3: "Miserlou," you can hear the Trident patrons talking and milling about the club that evening. Longtime San Francisco Music Journalist Ralph Gleason commented in the album's liner notes: "Vince looks forward to… trying to be a good musician and making the best album he can, every time. That's what you hear in Vince Guaraldi"in person." He's in there, trying every minute."
The minutes started to move much faster for Guaraldi after that December 1962 evening at the Trident. In Person was released on June 10th, 1963, a month after Guaraldi won his first Grammy Award for "Cast Your Fate to the Wind" -which had held its' own on the Billboard charts all spring long. "Zelao" and "Jitterbug Waltz" were released as singles during the summer, and within 24 months, millions of children would be introduced to jazz music for the first time, thanks to his association with the Charlie Brown and Peanuts Gang franchise.
Guaraldi's future creative output is stylistically revealed in the pianists' interpretations of the compositions captured on In Person. And while live albums recorded at the Trident, Sausalito have not captured as much acclaim or notoriety as albums recorded at the club's San Francisco counterparts El Matador, hungry i, or Blackhawk, In Person is the only one to capture a slice of West Coast Jazz History before it was Joe Cool.
“Vince Guaraldi — In Person” 1963, Fantasy Records Recorded Live at The Trident, Sausalito, California December 4th, 1962 Vince Guaraldi - piano Fred Marshall - bass Benny Velarde - scratcher Eddie Duran - guitar Colin Bailey - drums Cover Photo - Chas Weckler (credited Jim Weckler)
Sources: “Anatomy of a Hit; 1; The Serendipity Groove.” 1964. NET. Library of Congress, American Archive of Public Broadcasting Gleason, Ralph. Vince Guaraldi In Person, Liner Notes, Fantasy Records LP 8352, 1963 Bang, Derrick. Vince Guaraldi at the Piano, McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers. North Carolina, London. 2012
Thelen Creative reached out to three Grammy-nominated recording artists who worked on the last Sly & The Family Stone album with Epic Records, Heard Ya Missed Me, Well I'm Back, (1976) to get their thoughts on making a record with the funk legend during one of the most tumultuous periods of his life.
“Oscar-winning filmmaker Ahmir ‘Questlove’ Thompson directs his sophomore feature documentary follow-up to ‘Summer of Soul,’ examining the life and legacy of Sly and the Family Stone, the groundbreaking band led by the charismatic and enigmatic Sly Stone. This film tells the story behind the rise, reign and fadeout of one of pop music’s most influential artists and, in doing so, tells a very human story about the cost of genius.”
3 Trending Blockchain Issues - June 2022 … if you follow the world of content creation on the ‘chain.
1.) Time warp? Continued Solana blockchain “time disparity” & network consensus outages. 2.) Unplanned Forks: Beacon (ETH) Chain merge delays due to “block reorganization events.” 3.) Unstable v Stable: New Luna 2.0 Genesis Chain stabilization efforts under Do Kwon.
Growing Calls in US for Algorithmic Transparency Following the Passage of EU Digital Service Act.
By Geo Thelen (I)
New research questioning the algorithm practices of some of the United States' largest tech companies is prompting a call to action for social media algorithmic transparency.
Department of Computer Science researchers at North Carolina State University provided data in March from a study looking at potential platform bias in Google's Gmail email service as it relates to political funding. The NC State team used more than 100 Gmail, Yahoo and Outlook accounts to obtain more than 300,000 emails from May through November 2020. What they found was that Google's free product (the nation's most popular email provider) was "substantially more likely" to mark Republican fundraising emails as spam during the height of the 2020 campaign than Democratic solicitations. Republican-leaning emails ended up in a targets spam box half the time, while Democratic-leaning emails ending up in a targets primary inbox nearly 80% of the time, according to their report. A separate study done by The Mark Up .org in 2020, showed groups with the highest percentage of fundraiser emails ending up in a targets primary inbox (as opposed to spam) included the American Enterprise Institute (99%), Democratic Socialists of America (75%), and Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg (63%). Although some disparities result from user behavior (based on your mark as spam & similar actions), the NC State study noted, “the percentage of emails marked by Gmail as spam from the right-wing candidates grew steadily as the election date approached while the percentage of emails marked as spam from the left-wing candidates remained about the same.” Researchers concluded, "Fairness of spam filtering algorithms is an important problem that needs dedicated attention from email service providers."
The release of the Gmail data comes at a time when Elon Musk's purchase of Twitter and the European Union's passage of the Digital Services Act are sparking conversations regarding platform bias, manipulative algorithm system practices, and the overall issue of algorithmic transparency.
The night before the Twitter deal with Musk was announced on Monday, April 25; many public figure accounts began seeing dramatic swings in the number of their followers. "Organic" fluctuations, according to Twitter's official statement. But accusations of "secretly" suppressing certain accounts to make them less popular -known as shadow banning, have been leveled at both Twitter and Facebook. Sudden loses in followers could point to an algorithmic "cleanup" within Twitter after the deal was eminent eliminating bot generated follows and fake accounts (something many Twitter users have been calling for). Wild gains in followers could be a sign of algorithmic restrictions on particular accounts being lifted or widened allowing new eyeballs to see more organically, based on user engagement algorithms and not some closed source third-party basement bro code.
According to an analysis compiled during the week of the Twitter deal by USA Today, congressional Twitter accounts recording the most significant loss of followers included; Adam Schiff, Nancy Pelosi, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Maxine Waters, Bernie Sanders, and Chuck Schumer. Specific numbers provided by social media analytics tracker SocialBlade showed AOC losing more than 10,000 followers in the first 24 hours after the deal was announced, while Speaker Pelosi lost 13,000+, Elizabeth Warren 14,000+, and Bernie Sanders nearly 19,000 in 48 hours from Sunday, April 25 to Tuesday, April 27. Over the same period, Republican politicians saw the most considerable increase in followers, with Florida rep Matt Gaetz gaining almost 25,000 followers, 50,000+ for Georgia Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene, and over 53,000 new followers for Ted Cruz of Texas. Georgia Congresswoman, Taylor Greene had an increase of 41,000+ followers in the first 24 hours, while her personal account remained suspended by Twitter.
The issues of content safety and legality as well as inherent platform bias being tackled by the passage of the Digital Services Act in the EU reflects concern for the larger impact an employee's personal bias can have over the programming and operations of a particular content platform. Perhaps a correlation can be observed from the data provided by Open Secrets showing tech company employee political donations as they were during the 2020 election cycle. The (public) donation data for employees of six California-based media companies were compiled, revealing that 80%+ of the donations at five of the six companies went to Democratic causes. 98% of Twitter employee political donations went to the Democratic party, and Facebook / Meta employees gave more than 80% of their declared financial support to Democratic causes. (Netflix had the most, with over 99% of its employee political contributions going to Democratic causes). Did these employees' internal personnel biases play into engineering, programming, and curation choices? Or vetting of information? Or fact-checking? Or cancelling, Dave Chappelle?
Why does any of this matter?
Because when you lose trust, you are left with distrust. When you lose integrity, you no longer have integrity. People are losing trust and belief in the integrity of their government and media institutions. Suppose Gmail, Facebook and Twitter are proven to have been algorithmically manipulated in some manner with a bias towards one party over the other. In that case, your feelings of overall distrust are validated (even if you don't identify with either major party). Followed are questions over the validity of all other digital content, security & financials. Will we ever hear chants in the streets of "more constants, less variables" and "free open-source algorithms?" Probably not. But while the technical aspects and achievability of "algorithmic transparency" may be hard to see, consumers are starting to see through what they are NOT seeing. Until that transparency comes, expect more.
Geo Thelen (I) of Thelen Creative is a digital content creator. Observer / Participant
Follow @ instatoblast on the ‘gram Thelencreative.com
Sources: North Carolina State University, Department of Computer Science “A Peek Into The Political Biases in Email Spam Filtering Algorithms During US Election 2020” / USA Today / The Mark Up .org / Thelen Creative / SocialBlade, Social Media Analytics / The Digital Services Act & Digital Markets Act, EU, 2022
“I admit it’s fatally dangerous, but I’d get to fly around like Iron Man.” ― Mark Watney, ‘The Martian’.
Dear Mr. Watney, I saw your #crypto commercial the other day. What’s it like in the #metaverse? I bet everyone there is nice. Seems so big and confusing to a simple #paperhands like myself. Does it still exist if the power goes out? Because it looks like a giant unregulated Ponzi scheme where people recklessly (and often unknowingly; i.e., check the permissions you give your crypto wallet) put personal and financial information into the hands of unknown code creators in a #rugpull friendly power dependent environment. I would like to go #ToTheMoon someday, but a digital financial world with no fiduciary responsibly or oversight defiantly favors the brave. Happy flying though, mate.
!! CONTENT CREATORS —- DO YOUR DUE DILIGENCE !!
In the current #NFT craze > #SmartContract does not = #copyright
> Google the “HitPiece” story to see how your music (or any part of your digital existence; medical records, photos, posts, legal documents, etc.) maybe used / stolen in the wild wild west of the meta verse.
Non ;) NFT #Audio & #Lofi #Animation #Video by @instatoblast on the 'gram
Pave Paradise : Jazz at the blackhawk
Jazz at the Blackhawk : Reflections of Cal Tjader’s First Live Album Fantasy Records San Francisco, 1957
by Geo Thelen
with Anecdotes from the last surviving member of the Cal Tjader Quartet, drummer, Al Torre.
The historic Blackhawk jazz club (1949-1963) was formerly located at 200 Hyde Street on the northeast corner of Turk Street in the heart of San Francisco's tenderloin district. The smoky neighborhood nightclub launched the career of Johny Mathis, helped Dave Brubeck find an audience, and gave numerous national artists such as Miles Davis and Thelonious Monk a musically intimate space to experiment and record quality live albums. Arguably though, Bay Area vibraphonist Cal Tjader (pronounced Jay-der) was the most synonymous name associated with this historic jazz club.
Cal Tjader first came onto the San Francisco jazz scene after returning from U.S. Navy service and meeting future jazz great Dave Brubeck while each was attending San Francisco State (University) in the early 1950s. Over the next decade, the two future Grammy award-winning artists would navigate successful jazz careers as part of a young trio, then as individuals, with the Blackhawk playing a significant role in their development and popularity. Cal Tjader would ultimately record five live albums at the historic venue and was the featured entertainment during the Blackhawks' final two weeks of operation in July 1963.
True jazz lovers, young and old, went to the Blackhawk for great music. The dank and dusty 200-person capacity Blackhawk was a great-sounding room, although better seen in the dark. The club had a reputation with patrons and authorities. San Francisco city officials tried numerous times to shut the Blackhawk down, conducting police raids on at least two occasions, but to no avail. The club was one of the few in the city to allow minors, albeit behind a wall of chicken wire separating them from the club's adult patrons and a full-service bar.
According to B. Rose on The Cal Tjader Sextet A Night At The Blackhawk liner notes from 1958, "The Tjader audience is a curious amalgam of Jazz, Latin and dance fans. They range from youngsters just barely old enough to use their own I.D. cards in a night club to grey-haired oldsters."
Cal Tjader's first live album, Jazz At The Blackhawk was recorded at the end of a month-long run of shows the combo did at the club, culminating on Sunday, January 20, 1957. The group consisted of Tjader on vibraphone, Vince Guaraldi of later Peanuts fame on piano, future Dave Brubeck bassist Gene Wright, and Al Torre on drums. "We played six nights a week at the Blackhawk," recalls Torre, now 92 and living in Southern California. "We were the "home band" for the club. The night of the recording was just another night but with more wires.”
The Blackhawk Sound
The evening of January 20th, 1957 was "under the personal supervision of John Noga and Guido Cacianti with incidental assistance from S. W. Weiss and J. W. Easton." -as stated in the credits of the May 1957 Fantasy Records mono (red vinyl) LP 3241 album liner notes. Noga and Cacianti were owners/proprietors of the Blackhawk, with Weiss having an interest in Fantasy Records. The recorded performance that night has become one of the Blackhawk's most notable live albums. "What you hear on the record is exactly what we did that night," says Torre. "Tjader never had a set list; he'd just start playing, but was a stickler about the group sound.” And the Blackhawk was known for its' sound. “I saw Miles Davis there too, incredible sound. The room had no echo. There was cloth hanging on the ceiling, which helped absorb the noise. It was just good acoustics. The Black Hawk had good acoustics."
According to longtime San Francisco Chronicle Jazz Critic Ralph J. Gleason, who was present during the recording of Tjader’s album, "Fantasy's recording engineers set up the tape machines in the Blackhawk's No. 1 dressing room, rigged the bandstand for sound, and went to work." Tjader later said his group had "never been recorded better." Following Jazz at the Blackhawk, the venue would house a "Stereo 6 channel mixing panel cross-mixed to an Ampex 350" better capturing the clubs' unique acoustics and natural reverberation and giving later live albums by Miles Davis, Shelly Manne, and Dave Brubeck the Blackhawk sound.
A Night In the Life
As for Blackhawk proprietors John Noga and Guido Cacianti, their roles were to keep “the bells” from ringing during the Sunday night business-as-usual recording session, mainly the phone and the cash register. The two men "supervised operations from behind the bar," Gleason notes on the album. "During the recordings, it was Guido's responsibility to make sure the telephone bell didn't ring, and with the exception of a single goof, he performed this task admirably. John Noga was responsible for making change quietly and not ringing the cash register whose shrill tone, while music to some ears, clashes with the overtones of the vibraphone." However, despite the Blackhawk being known for one the strictest shut-up-and-listen policies among the Bay Area performance clubs, you can still hear the patrons talking, the glasses clanging, and "the bells" ringing, most notably, twice on Side Two, Track 2; "I've Never Been In Love Before," -sonically capturing the Blackhawk as a working 1950s jazz club (note: these “atmospheric” sounds were removed from the later remastered CD version).
The atmosphere of the scene is what Al Torre recalls with vivid senses the most. "During intermission, I would step out and get some fresh air or go up Hyde Street to the Lafayette Hotel Cafe and get a burger. The chef looked like Boris Karloff, but he made the greatest hamburgers in the world. I had to get out and clear my lungs. There were about 75 different types of cigarette smoke and poor ventilation. They would smoke the crowd out (of the Blackhawk) in between sets.” Although it was just another night to some, the evening is noted as a “great success” which Ralph Gleason attributed to the “liveness of the group sound, the good acoustics of the club and excitement of recording before a jazz audience,” with the quickly developing technology of portable tape machines “making it possible to bring the studio to the musicians in their natural habitat."
More than sixty-five years later, the long-darkened Lafayette Coffee Shop neon hangs a few doors up from the parking lot at 200 Hyde Street where only diminishing memories of the smokey club remain. The former location of the “Center of West Coast Jazz” was marked with a plaque in 2012 -the only hint of the sites significance. Fortunately, live audio recordings, such as Jazz at the Blackhawk from 1957, offer more than just a hint of memory to the culturally pivotal moments and historic places lost to music history.
Q: Where Was the Jazz at the Blackhawk Album Cover Photo taken? According to Cal Tjader drummer, Al Torre, “The album cover was taken when we got off a plane at Burbank Airport. We flew in and were met by a representative of Fantasy Records and photos were taken outside a building. So now you know, the cover was taken somewhere at the Burbank Airport.”
Jazz at the Blackhawk - Cal Tjader Quartet Released: May 1957, Fantasy Records, San Francisco, California Recorded: January 20, 1957 @ The Blackhawk, San Francisco, Calif. Cal Tjader, vibraphone; Vince Guaraldi, piano; Gene Wright, bass; Al Torre, drums.
“The fine sense of dynamics and vivid imagination displayed (on Jazz at the Blackhawk) make for excellent listening.”Billboard, 1957
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Sources: Torre, Al. Jazz at the Blackhawk, drummer. Phone Interview by Geo Thelen. Thelen Creative, March 2023 Gleason, Ralph. The Cal Tjader Quartet - Jazz At The Blackhawk, Liner Notes, Fantasy Records LP 3241, 1957 Rose, B. The Cal Tjader Sextet - A Night At The Blackhawk, Liner Notes, Fantasy Records LP 3283, 1958 Bang, Derrick. Vince Guaraldi at the Piano, McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers. North Carolina, London. 2012 San Francisco History Center, San Francisco Public Library, Uptown Tenderloin Historic District Thelen Creative Collection
Citizen Journalist Award Winner - Writer / Prod. (TV Doc - PBS SF) FINALIST Best Mini Music Film - California Music Video & Film Awards - 2021 SEMI-FINALIST Best Documentary Music Video - Munich Music Video Awards - 2021 FINALIST Best Inspirational Video - California Music Video Awards - 2021 FINALIST Best Doc Music Video - International Music Video Awards, London - 2021 WINNER BEST MUSIC DOC OF THE MONTH - Tracks Music Awards, Los Angeles - 2021 WINNER BEST SHORT MUSIC DOC - International Music Video Underground Paris - 2021 FINALIST Best Micro Film / Best Editing - Oregon Documentary Film Festival, Portland - 2020 HONORABLE MENTION Best Short Doc - Marin (CA) 2014 Int’l Short Film & Video Fest - 2014 2x Cal. Council for Promotion of History Innovation Winner 2x Broadcast EMMY-Award Winning Program Host
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