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AudioFiles: How to Record Gigs

The equipment, etiquette and ethics you need for recording jazz shows

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Zoom H6
Zoom H6
Blue Mikey Digital
Blue Mikey Digital
Zoom iQ7
Zoom iQ7
Tascam DR-05
Tascam DR-05
Zoom H1
Zoom H1
Samsom C02
Samson C02
Røde M5
Røde M5
Tascam DR-40
Tascam DR-40

Most jazz fans can think of at least a couple dozen shows they wish they could hear again. Thanks to digital recording, it’s practical to document the jazz gigs you attend—but only if you can navigate the complex and conflicting expectations of the performers, the audience and the venue. “Taping” is an established and often encouraged practice in the jam-band scene, but the ethics of recording a jazz performance are more questionable.

Is it OK?

Recording most or all of a musical performance without permission is technically illegal, and distributing the recording without permission is obviously illegal. But such prohibitions are difficult to enforce. “It’s nearly impossible to prevent people from recording the performance,” saxophonist and composer Ken Vandermark tells me.

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Originally Published