Technology Unleashes Unlimited Potential in Oran Coltrane
BUENA PARK, CA (July 9, 2004) Children who follow in the footsteps of legendary musical parents face the personal challenges of carrying on the family legacy while finding their own niches as artists. Oran Coltrane has done both successfully on his own terms, as the youngest son of jazz great John Coltrane and as an independent artist with his original three-piece outfit, Oranyan.
That independent spirit is especially evident in Shivani Studios, Coltrane's Woodland Hills (CA) home space, where he has produced, recorded, mixed and mastered his Oranyan projects. The 24' x 34' area houses a collection of musical instruments, and a surprisingly simple recording rig that includes a Yamaha 02R96 digital mixer and Digidesign ProTools HD recording medium, purchased from Westlake Audio and housed in a custom built studio table from KK Audio of Studio City. The combination of gear, according to Coltrane, suits his working methods well, and offers unlimited potential for creativity.
"My approach to recording is real simple," he explains. "Before getting involved in any technical aspects, I'll use a little tape recorder to capture ideas lines, harmonies, melodies and vocals. The next step is to structure those ideas and then head into the studio."
In addition to his personal projects, he has used the Shivani space to record tracks for his mother, Alice, and to capture overdubs for brother Ravi's recent Verve release.
"I've never let technology get in the way of the music," he continues, "but having a studio has been such a great tool for me as a writer. As for the gear, I was not a previous 02R user, but wanted a mixer that would easily interface with other digital gear. The preamps on the 02R96 are very clean sounding. It has great effects, EQs and reverbs that you can preset and personalize. The best features are the remote control, being able to control the faders in Pro Tools. If we're doing a 24- or 48-track session and running out of room on Pro Tools, we'll go through the 02R and assign those EQs or effects to each track. Physically, the size is right, and the display screen is easy to read."
Coltrane plans to present showcases for his new release in the coming months, and is also considering some studio upgrades. "We'd like to get some new monitors, and I know we've barely scratched the surface on the 02R96; for example, we haven't accessed the layers yet."
"The recall function is amazing," he adds. "It has basically changed the way people record. For instance, if you've got a mix and did something cool with the reverb or EQ, instead of going back and trying to reproduce that same exact effect which is almost impossible just hit the recall and you're back in business. I love that."
After studying jazz harmony and music theory at California Institute of the Arts and California State University, Northridge, Coltrane hit the international tour circuit with his mother's band. In the years that followed, he has worked with Roy Haynes, Reggie Workman. McCoy Tyner and Carlos Santana.
Although he began his musical career on the apparent family tradition of the alto saxophone, he now counts the guitar as his principal instrument. "I'm not really sure why I started playing guitar," he says, "other than it's fun, and there a side of me that can be expressed through that instrument more fluidly than on the sax."
Coltrane handles guitar and vocals on Oranyan's new release, along with Alex Platt (drums) and Scott Ward (bass). Stylistically, the trio's music has been described as a blend of soul music, jazz overtones and an aggressive rock edge, with influences ranging from Muddy Waters, Miles Davis, Prince, Lenny Kravitz and parents John and Alice Coltrane. Critics note that Oranyan's music explores a number of genres, producing a sound that is emotional, groovy and defying classification.
"I obviously have a firm jazz background and a lot of respect and appreciation for the originators of that art form," he notes. "Personally, my music encompasses many styles, and to categorize it is limiting."
For more information on the 02R96, write: Yamaha Corporation of America, Professional Audio, P.O. Box 6600, Buena Park, CA 90622; telephone (714) 522-9011; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org; or visit www.yamaha.com/proaudio.
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