Posts Tagged ‘ Rico Belled ’

Rico Belled – XR7

Born in the Netherlands Rico Belled performed since 1992 in the L.A. scene as bassist and keyboardist. Don Randi and the house band, Leslie Paula’s “Latin Soul Band”, and finally The Rippingtons are the bands he is connected with.

Rico became popular in the jazz community with his solo debut The Pursuit Of Comfort (2010) and with numerous contributions to other artists like Keiko Matsui, Marc Antoine, Chris Standring, Perla Batalla, Leslie Paula, Sound Assembly, Dino Soldo, Scott Grimes and Jeff Robinson.

Rico Belled’s newest project is called XR7 after his 1973 Mercury Cougar XR7, Rico has driven for almost 15 years. Among the musicians joining the recordings I discovered Dave Karasony (drums), Rodney Lee (Rhodes), Jeff Kashiwa (EWI, sax), Katisse Buckingham (flute, sax), Bill Heller (synth, piano) and many more.

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Rico Belled – XR7

XR7 is an album about the relationship between man and machine. In a time where most music is so computerized and emotion is not easily found, Rico Belled takes a bold approach: to try to truly integrate the computer into the traditionally non-electronic musical style of Jazz. When most musicians ‘fix’ their mistakes during the recording process, Belled instead celebrates the imperfections, seamlessly blending acoustic instruments with virtual ones, never quantizing anything. Featuring 4 songs done entirely without a click-track, even the 6 that did start life on a grid, never sound metronomic, bursting with life from the many layers.

Named after his beloved 1973 Mercury Cougar XR7, a car which Rico has driven around L.A. for almost 15 years, this CD is built to last. Blending elements of the past and the now, more than anything it’s a hint at the future of music, where anything goes. Stylistic walls are crumbling, with everyone exposed to all kinds of music and sounds from all over the world. Fearlessly breaking down the walls so carefully built up by purists, it is Jazz in its truest sense, where improvisation rules, but composition matters and is not just an obstacle on the way to showing off chops. Drawing from a deep well of years as one of L.A.’s top session musicians, Grammy nominated Belled pulls out all the stops.

Rico chooses to use the computer as a kind of ‘multiplication machine’ allowing him not to sterilize his performance, but instead create densely layered music inspired by Phil Spector’s famous “Wall Of Sound” style of production. The possibilities are endless and he explores many: from complex odd-meter jazz, to sexy R&B, from Smooth Jazz to soaring Fusion, XR7 is a musical journey bursting with originality, while never sounding contrived or forced. Featuring 10 original songs, and some of the best musicians in the world, Rico showcases his versatility as a multi-instrumentalist, playing bass on 7, keys on 8, and guitar on 9 of the tunes, in addition to producing, engineering, mixing and mastering the record. In keeping with the spirit, Belled has tried to find exactly how much one man can do with the help of the machine of machines: the computer.

Instead of focusing on expensive equipment, everything recorded at Back Scratch Studios and Mad Meece Audio was done on literally the cheapest equipment money can buy. Running on a $500 computer Rico built, Sonar X1 was used in combination with a $200 Motu 2408 MKII and Behringer Mic Pres, with inexpensive mics, for everything but Karasony’s drums and Buckingham’s and Kashiwa’s solos. The entire rig used costs less than $2000, including the mics. Mixed and mastered in his apartment, Belled has shown that a great sounding record can now be made at bargain prices, IF the human in charge knows what he’s doing!

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Rico Belled – The Pursuit Of Comfort

After his migration to the States in 1992 Rico Belled played with several L.A. based groups as keyboardist and bassist. Don Randi and the house band, Leslie Paula’s “Latin Soul Band”, and finally The Rippingtons are his musical stations.

He also performed with Keiko Matsui, Marc Antoine, Chris Standring, Perla Batalla, Leslie Paula, Sound Assembly, Dino Soldo, Scott Grimes and Jeff Robinson. He left his marks on several records of these and many more artists.

Inevitable a reason to say “Hello” to the audience with his debut album The Pursuit Of Comfort (2010). Rico is very popular in the community of jazz musicians especially because of his diverse contributions for other artists. So it wasn’t difficult for him to assemble numerous musicians for his first project.

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Rico Belled – The Pursuit Of Comfort

This is the story of the making of The Pursuit of Comfort told by Rico Belled.

The pursuit started in 1998 at Jono Brown’s original Word of Mouth studio in West Hills, CA. In three sessions, basic tracks for 7 of the songs on the record were recorded live. We just set up like a band, amps and all, and ran the tunes. Most music at this time was recorded to a click and I wanted to do it the old fashioned way! The point was to make an album with no commercial considerations, no intended ‘radio-format’. Just a group of the best musicians I knew getting together to play some tunes.

Jonathan Dresel played Drums, Jeff Babko and Jay Minor a real Fender Rhodes, Yogi played guitar, and percussion duties were handled by Mike Faue and Ronnie Gutierrez. Lots of stuff was overdubbed by Anne King, David Crozier, Robert Kyle, and Dino Soldo and when my brother visited we recorded one of his tunes with just classical guitar, bongo and baby bass.

Unfortunately, those were not good times for independent artists and when I first started getting into computer based production around 1999, I didn’t have the skills necessary to do these awesome recordings justice. Since there was no budget for mixing/mastering/marketing the project got shelved.

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