‘Best Jazz Vocal Album’ Grammy goes to Cecile McLorin Salvant’s “For One to Love”
Engineer Todd Whitelock loves the Lauten Audio ‘Atlantis’ FC-387 microphone for recording vocals, it’s now his “go-to” female vocal mic. At Avatar Studios in New York last year he used the Atlantis to record vocals on the Grammy(r) Award-winning album “For One to Love” by Cecile McLorin Salvant which garnered the prestigious “Best Jazz Vocal Album” for 2016. The album category awards the Grammy to the Artist, Producer, and Engineer. The album was released on Mack Avenue Records. Whitelock has engineered albums for many of today’s most lauded artists including Josh Groban, Idina Menzel, Christian McBride, Brian Blade, Harry Connick Jr., Yo Yo Ma, as well as Chick Corea, Wynton Marsalis, and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, to name just a select few.
For One To Love was recorded live in the studio with Aaron Diehl (piano), Paul Sikivie (bass), Lawrence Leathers (drums), and Cecile on vocals. “Each of these musicians are masters of their craft, their talents go well beyond their amazing musicality,” notes Whitelock. “Together they are a quartet, not just a trio backing vocals and they play in a rarefied zone of precision, intuition, and conviction that was just awesome to watch and hear-and record!”
“Of all the Grammys that I have been honored with, this one is special. I feel this one is personal and so deserving for the artist and her artistry as it’s Cecile’s first Grammy and producer Al Pryor’s as well. It’s an intimate record, a portrait actually, that puts it all out there for everyone to behold. Cecile is one of the most natural performers and artists that I have ever had the pleasure to record. She performs the music naturally, effortlessly, so I need to make sure it sounds natural and effortless. For One To Love was one of those perfect storms, the right artist singing the right music in front of the right microphone, in the right studio. She made the magic, I didn’t do anything but get out of her way.”
“I have to thank Fabrice Dupont for turning me on to the Lauten Audio ‘Atlantis’ microphone, which I used for both of Cecile’s records,” says Whitelock. “We listened to all the famous ‘old tube mics’ on her voice before choosing Atlantis for its clarity, quietness, and dynamic range – it quickly became my go-to favorite for female voice.”
When he first tried the Atlantis mic on Cecile’s voice at Avatar Studios he was pleasantly surprised, “Besides Avatar’s incredible collection of microphones, I had a couple of my other favorites with me too. It was really about blindfold testing, putting all those mics up there and seeing what was most complimentary for her vocal and dynamic range, and to capture her real character, the essence of her performance. We all listened to playback and the Atlantis was a revelation! I chose the Atlantis, Al Pryor and Cécile both chose the Atlantis as their favorite. It was like ‘Oh my god! – Thank god I brought the Atlantis!'”
Whitelock says, “With the Atlantis I found I was not having to push Cecile into the balance, her voice just floated above the track with this really vivid picture of her voice, bigger than anything else that I had tried, she just filled the track, letting the music just wrap around her. That was everything for me. It was staggering.”
Check out a live session at KCRW from Cecile’s previous album “Womanchild” which was nominated for a Grammy 2 years ago, Whitelock also recorded her vocals using the Atlantis mic: www.youtube.com/watch
“Actually, a lot of amazing singers have been on my Atlantis microphone,” he adds, “from Rene Flemming, to Rhiannon Giddons, Idina Menzel, to Audra McDonald. And in most of these cases I have to put up their favorite mics, but in the same blindfold/ playback tests the Lauten Audio Atlantis wins every time. And these singers have sung for years and years on what they think is their favorite microphone! The Atlantis makes my job much easier. It’s eliminated the guesswork. You bring in Lauten Audio mics and you know what you’re going to get. If it’s a new client they are going to be amazed, and if it’s an old client, that’s what they’re expecting to hear.”
The Atlantis FC-387 microphone was a collaborative effort between Lauten Audio, and New York engineer and producer Fab Dupont. Its Multi-voicing(tm) feature gives recordists three distinct timbre’s to choose from with just the flip of a switch. Originally designed for vocals, the Atlantis also shines on acoustic instruments of all types.
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