THE REALITY CHECK
Written by drummer-educator and Jazz warrior and visionary BOBBY SANABRIA
Adaptation by Toni Basanta in Fairfax, Vermont, USA
Yes, it’s finally happened.
The last great large recording studio in NYC, AVATAR, has been sold. The new owners are my old alma mater, The Berklee College of Music.
Avatar was originally the Power Station and was originally a Consolidated Edison power plant. In 1977, it was rebuilt as a recording studio by producer Tony Bongiovi (Bon Jovi’s uncle) and his partner Bob Walters.
It was said that the studio had the best electric current in NYC. The complex was renamed Avatar Studios (under the Avatar Entertainment Corporation) in May 1996.
Gone are Right Track, Clinton, The Hit Factory, Nola, I could go on and on, all places that represented a time when movie soundtracks, jingle dates for TV and radio, large scale productions for Broadway, symphonic, Latin, Jazz, Rock, Pop, etc. would occur on a daily basis keeping me and my colleagues busy and speaking truth to the power that made NYC the capitol of the recording industry.
No home studios recording parts by piece meal, or punching in fake horns, strings, rhythm, etc. from a computer, just men and women known as professional musicians, demonstrating artistry 24 / 7.
Alas that time has come and gone and is only today a shadow of its former self.
I could wax poetic about all the great experiences I and my colleagues have had there over the years, including just recently recording with my big band music for the new “Marvelous Mrs. Mazel” TV show.
When you walked up the stairs to the reception area (as in all the great studios of the past) you always felt like you were in church because something sacred was going to be put down for posterity, like when we recorded “Big Band Urban Folktales” way back in 2007 and it was nominated for a mainstream Grammy.
The first call of congratulations came from Tino Passante, AVATAR manager.
All the best to the staff and to Tino who always made everyone welcome. Those who know the place know that AVATAR has a large freight elevator that can accommodate a full size car / van / SUV.
Tino would let me drive my vehicle into it and take me and the whole car up to the second floor where the studios were just to make my life easier to unload drums, percussion, etc. he once let me keep the car there overnight !
Let’s hope that my alma mater keeps this place with its various rooms, large and small, as a temple available to record the best musicians and music in the Multiverse starting September 1, 2017
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