The Sons Also Rise continued from previous page|
They reproduce music in a variety of realms--independent documentary film
production, remote 'live' recording, commercial film scoring, CD promotion,
DJ'ing parties-- a new generation of chameleons as versatile as their late father
and his associates, the elite studio musicians of the 60's known as the
In fact, that group of ace musicians is featured in a documentary being
produced by Denny Tedesco. The 14-minute demo of that project, currently being
shopped in the hope of garnering funding for its completion, offers fascinating
glimpses into the hidden side of pop music production in the 60s and 70s.
Tommy Tedesco was a charter member of that coterie, and the film shows him
reminiscing along with drummer Hal Blaine, saxophonist Plas Johnson, bassist
Carol Kaye, keyboardist Don Randi, Nancy Sinatra and Cher. The film's
revelations, not shocking in our jaded era of brazen music piracy and Milli
Vanilli-style deception, are nonetheless startling: While groups such as the Beach
Boys, Mar-kets, Righteous Brothers, Mamas and Papas and the Ventures were being
groomed and marketed, each with its own individual, idiosyncratic sound,
their records were often being created or enhanced in the studios, in total
anonymity, by the Wrecking Crew. This young group of exceptionally skillful 'hired
hands' was as capable of creating 'surf' music (impersonating The Ventures
on the theme for the tv show 'Hawaii 5-0') as r & b (often without credits
from Motown). The young Tedesco shows a deft hand at evoking and juxtaposing
the pride, humor, resentment and irony in the reflections of these
once-invisible yet indispensable hit-makers.
Music of today is also of interest to the Tedesco progeny. By day, Damon
has been a music scoring stage manager for Warners and Fox for many years,
"working with orchestras, big bands and rhythm sections on a daily basis."
Recently, between projects for Fox, Damon Tedesco was found working at a
broad, state-of-the-art mixing board under that portrait of his late father,
wearing another of his several hats -- as head of Mobile Disc & DAT -- turning
recorded musical phrases into computer language and monitor images, and back
to music again. It was a mixing (and later, mastering) session for another in
a series of his company's 'live' recordings. This one had taken him and his
mobile studio to a hotel lounge near LAX last summer, to capture the magic of
jazz legends Sam Most and Al Viola. The final product receives generous
airplay on LA's jazz radio station, KLON, a living testament to both the
artistry of the players and the skills and instincts of this engineer.
In this same bedroom-cum-studio there's a stack of CDs that will never be
played on the radio or sold in stores, yet they reach a large audience. They
bear the logos that are familiar icons of American business, including Eastman
Kodak, USA Today and Hilton. These are discs of original music written and
performed by LA-area jazz musicians, later compiled by Damon and Denny Tedesco
and sold (under their business name, CD Promo) to a growing list of companies
that use the discs as a marketing tool. High-profile companies are
increasingly intrigued by his idea of tailoring the musical content of promotional CDs
to the needs and desires of corporate clients and customers.
Oh--and that beefy black van parked outside' It's not merely there to
provide transportation: On a given night, it will disgorge a load of recordings,
amps and speakers for an evening of dance music. Suddenly, Damon Tedesco is
a DJ, orchestrating yet another private party.
Meanwhile, Dale Tedesco heads his own publishing consulting company, Dale
Tedesco Music. 'I service background and vocal material to motion pictures and
television series,' he says.
Obviously, the legacy of Tommy Tedesco is greater than even his massive
output of recordings. Judging by their increasing success in their respective
realms of endeavor, the younger Tedescos are adding lustre and renown to the
family name... and maybe a smile to the face in that big portrait.