Riding in the car with Barry Rogers.
I spent a lot of time in the studio and moving to and from the studio, with Barry Rogers. In the studio, Barry would explain to me the convolutions, the nuance, of crafting a recorded or live performance. It was an education for me. I would then demonstrate to Barry how manipulation of a sound could achieve what he was looking for and might have been missing from the recorded sound. The conversations were eye opening. They helped to formalize and make the connections between the technology and the emotionality of music.
But our schedules were crazy. We both did sessions separate from the ongoing Jazz and Latin and Pop albums we did together. My normal work day was longer than 12 hours, and so was Barry’s.
Barry lived in the upper west side of Manhattan. I lived in the north west side of the Bronx. These two areas are connected by highway and by synchronized side street street-lamps. There is always a ways to get from one place to the other quickly, if you read the traffic. Barry and I would often give each other a lift down to the studio. Which leads to some of Barry’s other passions.
Barry loved engines, locomotives, automobile, boats, all kinds. He shot film of old steam locomotives. He was always tinkering with his VW engine. One day, stopping at his apartment I saw a VW engine sitting on his kitchen table.
And so Barry’s VW ran really well. We made a game of it. And this didn’t happen once, it happened every time.
Flying down the west side highway, Barry would turn off his car engine, press in the clutch and try and coast all the way from 96th street on the highway to the various studios in the 40s and the west side. If we didn’t catch the almost perfectly synchronized lights, he would wait till the very last second, pop the clutch while turning on the electrical power, and restart the engine. He never re-used the starter. Barry claimed he was saving gas by doing all the coasting but I think it was just a joy he took out of controlling his car.
Understanding, appreciating, and control was how Barry drove his car and the sessions. I miss working with him.