Big Beat

sounds good, feels good

Sounds good, feels good - Big Beat’s First full length album

Big Beat is excited to premier it’s first full length album on September 27th, 2019. This album is a reflection of our five years of hard work and hustle. At our very first show, the emcee asked us what described our band. On a 5 by 7 card he wrote down “sounds good and feels good” and then hyped up the crowd about a new big band sound that just sounded and felt good!

That’s been our motto ever since. Music that’s fun to listen to, fun to play, and just feels good.

After successfully raising $9,000 on Kickstarter, Big Beat went on to record Sounds Good, Feels Good, our debut album. This is the story of how the album came to be.

The band calmly takes a family portrait after a 3-day recording session

The band calmly takes a family portrait after a 3-day recording session

The recording sessions

Recording a full length big band record always takes more time than you think. We started out with a full weekend of full band tracking at Lucky Penny Studios. Our band engineer for SGFG (and our EP2 project) was the wonderful Cooper Davis. Our session producer was Grammy-nominated Pete McGuinness. The video below was the first pre-mix listening session to the rough cuts of the album.

working with pete

We can’t speak highly enough of Pete McGuinness. Pete is a Brooklyn-based bandleader who has risen to prominence with his group, The Pete McGuinness Jazz Orchestra. Pete is a brilliant arranger, trombonist, and bandleader — and having him at the session just made it happen!

Pete conducting the saxophone section at the recording.

Pete conducting the saxophone section at the recording.

vocals, vocals, vocals

If you know Big Beat you know that our singer, Allison McKenzie, is a huge part of our sound. This album had seven vocal tracks, so she had a lot of work lined up for her. We reached out to vocalist Denise Renee, also known as Stout, to vocal produce the album. We were so lucky to have her on our side! Denise is from West Haven and got us in touch with engineer Vic Steffens. Next thing you know we were recording Allison’s vocals with Denise producing and Vic running the board! (And on a vintage C12 microphone too!) We also did a final touch up a Cooper Davis’ studio Super Duper Sounds.

Allison learning from Denise.

Allison learning from Denise.

mixing and mastering

Acting on the advice from our producer Pete McGuinness, we contacted Paul Wickliffe for mixing and mastering of the album. Paul has worked on hundreds of albums from artists like Maria Schneider, Woody Herman, John Fedchock and the New York Big Band, and Pete’s own albums! Working with him was excellent — he added an amazing clarity to the album in the mixing and mastering process. After a few sessions, the album was mixed and mastered!

album art

Now it was time for the cover of the album. We found a talented graphic artist with a knack for unique patterns and colors — Junko Nagano! Junko is a Japanese artist based in New Jersey who has had work published by Hallmark. Junko’s creativity and passion made the big “beet” just come alive on the page, and on the album. Check her out at


We’re happy to announce partnerships with New World N’ Jazz Radio Promotions and Mouthpiece Media PR to help us promote the album. SOUNDS GOOD, FEELS GOOD will be available for release on September 27, 2019. See our press release below.


who’s on the album?

Allison McKenzie - Vocals

Adam Machaskee - Lead Trombone

Stephen Justice - Trombone

Collin Banks - Trombone

Tim Newman - Bass Trombone

Arath Corral - Guitar

Will Dougherty - Keyboards

Charlie Dougherty - Bass, Co-leader

Joe Spinelli - Drums

Caleb Rumley - Conductor, Trombone, Co-leader

Nick Brust - Soprano & Alto Sax

Phil Engsberg - Alto Sax, Co-leader

Matt Tischio - Tenor Sax

Dane Alexander - Tenor Sax

Sam Tobias - Baritone Sax & Flute

Mike Spengler - Lead Trumpet

Chris Rogers - Trumpet

Ben Hankle - Trumpet

Rich Polatchek - Trumpet