Jacobs alum John Porter conducted a recording session for crooner Peter Oprisko on June 11 at the Chicago Recording Company in Downtown Chicago. Touted as the Rolls-Royce of singers, Oprisko evokes the cool, smooth vocal stylings of Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin with contemporary flair.
The marathon session yielded approximately 15 tracks for Oprisko’s forthcoming release, “Lost in a Kiss,” a concept album focusing on one particularly intimate expression of love. Standards and original material were arranged by Jacobs alum and Indianapolis musician Sean Baker. While writing in a style all his own, Baker gives the occasional polite nod to the likes of Henry Mancini, Pete Rugolo, Nelson Riddle, and even the Carpenters.
“These charts aren’t about virtuosity for virtuosity’s sake,” Baker explains, “rather complementing the singer and the song itself. One might sound like it belongs in a 007 film while another pays homage to Glenn Miller.” Adding with a chuckle, “I just hope the composers of these things aren’t turning over in their graves!”
This occasion marked Porter’s first time conducting a studio orchestra. Not quite knowing what to expect, he simply dove into the project head-first.
“Some moments were purely about the music while others were all about directing traffic,” Porter recalls. “You’ve got headphones on and the band and voices are coming at you from six different rooms. It can be quite jarring. I had the choice of letting it get to me or buckling down and getting the job done. Fortunately for me, Sean’s innately musical arrangements, not to mention the talented musicians we worked with, made it all the easier.”
Selections on “Kiss” will range from walking ballads to up-tempo swingers backed by jazz combo, string orchestra, and big band. Postproduction work on the album will take place at Bloomington’s Airtime Studio this summer to expedite a hopeful September release.
Porter holds degrees in Music Education from Indiana University, where he minored in wind conducting and conducted his graduate research in jazz improvisation pedagogy.
Baker holds a degree in Jazz Studies from Indiana University. “Lost in a Kiss” is Baker’s fourth recording project with Oprisko.