DMU Jazz Band have launched their debut album Ladybird today after overcoming the challenges of recording and producing during the COVID-19 lockdown.
The 15-strong Big Band ensemble brought together a set of jazz classics and they are hoping it will put De Montfort University (DMU) Leicester’s burgeoning music scene, under the banner of DMU Music, firmly on the map.
The Ladybird album cover designed by DMU Fine Art student Rosa Ramirez Perez
The album, named after the celebrated jazz standard by Tadd Dameron which has become the band’s signature tune, is available as a download on Bandcamp and will be appearing on Spotify, Apple Music and Google Play.
The all-important Big Band live sound was captured in The Chantry on the DMU campus prior to lockdown but the vocals and solos still needed to be captured and produced.
So a mobile studio was driven to people’s houses, set up in the car, and each player or singer’s parts were recorded wirelessly on the driveway or street, ensuring social distancing was observed.
A close up of the mobile recording studio used during lockdown
The album’s cool artwork was created by DMU Fine Art student Rosa Ramirez Perez.
It’s an exciting time for DMU Jazz Band who see the debut album as the next step on their way to gaining wider recognition.
Musical Director Gareth John, who co-produced the album and played lead trumpet, said: “I am really, really proud of this album and proud of the musicians. It really sets our stall out and shows everyone where we want to go as a band.
“The most satisfying part of the recording process, I think, was when we came out of the first session before lockdown and we had recorded four songs in the time we were expecting to have done one.
“Most of the musicians in the room had not worked in that environment before where we were recording live as a Big Band. We all needed to be on top of our game and they really delivered.
“I hope people who listen to the album get a sense of the energy and excitement that was there when we were recording.”
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DMU Cyber Security student Corey Stathers has recorded with his friends in their pop punk band Kumas but he has never recorded Big Band jazz sounds before. He is the current President of the DMU Jazz Band.
Corey, who comes from Scunthorpe and will be going into his third year in October, said: “Being a part of the DMU Jazz Band is a nice escape from all the studying that I am doing. When you are busy with the course it is nice to look forward to doing something completely different. It’s good fun and they are all good players.
“I’m looking forward to hearing how the album finally sounds.”
DMU Jazz Band singer Linda Bradshaw recording in her garage
Rupert Simms, who plays electric bass in the DMU Jazz Band, said: “I am really looking forward to listening to the album. It is the first piece of produced music that I have ever been involved in.
“I’m hoping this album is something that will give us the confidence to spread our wings and experiment more. It’s the first big step on our musical journey.
“Being a member of DMU Jazz Band has given me the opportunity to develop as a musician. Jazz is good for that. It is a challenging genre to play and it has certainly broadened my musical horizons.”
Gareth conducting the DMU Jazz Band before lockdown
DMU Music coordinator Philippa Steel said: “We are so excited to be launching the debut album ‘Ladybird’.
“It is a huge achievement to record an album, and we are so proud of each member of the band for their hard work. The album is also a fantastic demonstration of team work and creativity. Having battled all the challenges of lockdown the band were able to come up with a socially-distanced way of recording.
“Music and art have been a life line for us all during lockdown, and this has meant that our musicians have been able to keep playing and recording, despite being apart.”
You can listen to the Ladybird album today by visiting the DMU Jazz Band Bandcamp page.
Posted on Friday 3rd July 2020