Recording its latest album, Camden Session, premiering exclusively below, at Mark Ronson's Zelig studio in England let Butcher Brown do what it does best -- and try some fresh things that saxophonist Marcus Tenney predicts will be a template for the group's future work.
Most of the material on the set, which comes out Oct. 12 on Gearbox Records, was developed and road-tested by the time the jazz quintet from Richmond, Va., arrived at Zelig to make its seventh release. "We just wanted to make sure it sounded like all the other (albums)," Tenney tells Billboard, "a real collective sound, just fluid and operating off our abilities as musicians and off our ears, what we're hearing as we play." But the track "Camden Square," a brisk seven minutes highlighting each of the musicians, was a new adventure for the crew, with keyboardist and group leader Devonne Harris, who's also been touring with Jack White, writing and presenting the song in the studio -- throwing down a creative gauntlet since the set was being recorded direct to disc.
"I'm sure he had ideas of what he wanted to be, but we all just started playing and he directed us in a certain way," Tenney recalls. "I think we all have gotten our skills to a place where we can be confident we'll come up with something he'll be happy with. We really liked the way it went." The track, Tenney adds, also employs more production technique in terms of microphone placement and other techniques. And that's whetted the group's appetite to go even further into the studio realm on future recordings.