May 26, 2024

Abby Javery and Old Post Office Productions Tracks for HBO Stax Records Docuseries

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Abby "AJ" Javery of Norton was contracted by Andy Laverdiere, Jr. of Old Post Office Productions in Rehoboth to record 3/4 double bass tracks at Foundation's Edge Studios throughout the Fall of 2023 for the HBO Stax Records 4-part docuseries slated for release in 2024.

Andy and OPO's connection with the Stax docuseries is through a fellow member of The Reverse Engineer (TRE) program, Joseph Berg of Cherry Creek Music. Joseph handled the bulk of the engineering for the Stax project's music composer, Sultana Isham, both from New Orleans, Louisiana. "Joseph contacted me because he felt the original parts played on keyboards weren't cutting it. It was a last minute decision to bring in an actual upright player and he knew I worked with Abby from other community posts," said Andy. "So he put me in touch with Sultana for proper introductions to get onboarded to the project. I worked directly with Joseph most of the time."

Andy jumped back into recording after some time away just before COVID with long-time friend Steve Shola as something to look forward to when he retires and decided to put together another studio. Steve was a guitarist in the 1980s/90s local original band, Nebula and a session player for Andy.

Andy continued, "When TRE came along, things changed. OPO became more about developing talent through mentorship and opportunities. While OPO operations were rolling in June of 2022, it has been used for our own and fellow TRE projects to build project workflows, structure and relationships. Life is funny. I never thought the first real client would be an HBO production just jumping back in. But I guess that's where the relationship building comes in and I can't say enough about Joseph. He's worked with big names and on Emmy nominated films. He took a big chance with unknowns. This was a big opportunity for him because of his role on the Stax project and what it means to his career. He worked very hard on this project and I couldn't be happier for him. And while it's nice for OPO, I'm happiest for Abby. How many high schoolers get asked to record for an HBO docuseries and she can add that to her professional music resume. This was all about Abby; she's a great kid!

Abby had only been playing four years with school bands and she was already with the community symphony orchestra when she first came to OPO in August of 2022 at sixteen. Her parents know Andy and his wife well and her mom was involved in his first studio build. Aside from the school bands and orchestras, Abby wasn't in any garage bands or situations like that. Her parents were hoping she'd want to get out and "jam" more but it didn't seem to be happening. Her first studio session was literally a "show us what ya got, kid" moment for her. She was extremely shy, quiet and probably nervous. She was given Steve's song "Fallin' Off" and had to come up with parts on electric and two upright parts, one bowed and one fingered. She was asked to do things off the cuff on the fly.

That "audition" landed her the bass gig in Steve Shola and The Hangout Gang, an OPO recording collaborative led by Steve comprised of people from England to Oklahoma, including Abby's mom, Terri Javery, who also sings with a choral group. Over the next year, Abby would go on to work on other projects between her audition and the Stax project.

She says her studio experience changed her outlook on playing. She looks more at home when she comes in for sessions and by the end of the Stax sessions she was certainly playing the part. She saw "how the sausage is made" and the very serious side of making music. She found out what it was like when you have a bad session because you're tired or had to drop everything to squeeze a session in or there are technical problems and all under a microscope. Unlike all the other session work she had done to this point, these really counted as people's careers and reputations hinged on the overall product and she would be part of it. When her opportunities to speak directly with both Joseph and Sultana arose, she did so like a true professional. The final tracking session was on December 2nd and she performed like a trooper when it counted most.

Andy ended, "Abby is the example of what OPO is about and will always have a place here."

Abby is currently a senior at Bishop Feehan with plans to be a performing artist and studio session player. She will be attending college in the fall. Berklee College of Music is tops on the list of possibilities with others that include Duquesne, Loyola,URI, Ithica, Southern Maine, and The New School. You can also find her at The Parlour in Providence once a month playing their Jazz Open Improv night with Ben Shaw, where she has made regular appearances for the past year.

While it is not his fulltime job, Andy is a full-stack producer, working in both studio and live environments. He works by day for The John W. Kennedy Company in East Providence. He operated Foundation Studios in Seekonk from the mid 1980s to the early 2000s and has worked with Grammy winning performers, producers and engineers across the decades. Foundation's Edge Studios and Post Mastering are part of Old Post Office Productions and boasts a mastering space with world-class acoustic specs. OPO is also involved in live remote recording. Andy lives with his wife, Suzanne in Rehoboth's Old Post Office in the Village. Now you know where the name comes from!

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