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Most records are just a collection of tracks without much in common other than a particular artist, genre, or sound. But some other records tell us a story.
“Kingston Factory Presents The East Coast Sessions” ranks high among this last category. It is not a conceptual rock opera or any other themed effort put to vinyl, nonetheless. This is a very different case. Here, what makes the narrative distinct is the production process itself.
In the fine tradition of the great Jamaican labels and studios, there is a producer and a trademark sound behind this LP. The producer is Esteban Descalzo, born and raised in Argentina, and the studio is Kingston Factory. This Buenos Aires recording facility has served, in the past few years, some of the most renowned local Jamaican-bound talents as well as an impressive string of international luminaries, from Derrick Harriott, Pat Kelly, and Freddy Notes, to Joe Mansano, The Silvertones, Val Douglas, and even British star Hollie Cook.
Top labels around the world often require Descalzo’s services and certify him as a global reference behind the mixing board. Nevertheless, in this new project, the man sought to expand his already vast field of action even more. That is the tale that “The East Coast Sessions” tell: the story of a journey.
By mid-2017, Esteban Descalzo packed his gear and a bundle of work-in-progress tracks and took off for the East Coast of the United States with a simple plan: to record, on site, some of the local artists that, lately, had been catching his selective attention. Like an original traveling producer on a bonafide road movie, he visited these musicians and worked at their studios and homes over a period of three weeks.
This authentic production-tour around Washington D.C., Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, and New Jersey, resulted in ten tracks, first laid down in Buenos Aires and then completed in the States with the vocals and music of stellar contributors. “I wanted to travel, record, and produce artists at their own homes, not from a long distance; to get to know them, exchange ideas, chat,” said Descalzo, who, like many of his colleagues nowadays, is very much used to work online with people living at the most remote corners of the world —a process that can certainly bring individuals closer, but not always with the warmth (and coolness) of a great live session.
Indeed, “Kingston Factory presents The East Coast Sessions” gathers an East Coast all-star line up that no East Coast record has managed to assemble so far (one has to wonder, thus, what will the American listener make of this rare accomplishment coming, as it does, from such an unexpected source). Add Descalzo’s Midas touch and you will have a profoundly original record, a record that tells a story that no one has told before —which, by the way, happens to be the essential quality for an LP to become a classic.
(Musician and journalist)