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Leon Pendarvis

Artist Info
Leon Pendarvis

M-Audio Gear :
Axiom 25

Leon Pendarvis
Producer/Arranger/Performer (SNL Band, Tina Turner, Eric Clapton, Marvin Gaye)

When Leon Pendarvis moved to New York City in 1969 to pursue his dream of becoming a musician, he probably didn’t realize how far the journey would take him. Playing regularly on the club circuit eventually resulted in a jam session with the Blues Brothers Band—a moment of truth that led to Pendarvis joining NBC’s Saturday Night Live Band. 23 years later, Pendarvis is the longest standing musician in the show’s history. He has also assumed the high-profile role of musical director for the SNL band.

Over the years, Pendarvis has also written, produced and performed for artists like Eric Clapton, Marvin Gaye, Ike and Tina Turner, Roberta Flack, Quincy Jones and B.B. King. In addition, Pendarvis owns and operates Pinwheel Productions, a world-class recording facility that has hosted such talented artists as Pink and Avril Lavigne. His talent has taken him across the world, performing at presidential inaugurations, Sting’s Save the Rainforest concerts and a tribute event for music giant Ahmet Ertegun.

Describe the setup you use for pre-production at SNL.

In my office, we all use the M-Audio Ozonic. My colleague Lenny Picket—the other musical director at SNL—started using the Ozonic in 2005 because it’s both an audio interface and MIDI controller. It accomplishes two things at once for us. We also do our vocal recordings through a Solaris mic, which gives us a great vocal sound. We just keep the Solaris plugged into either of our Ozonics and we’re ready to go. Each of our workstations also has a pair of Studiophile BX5a reference monitors installed for playback. Since we’re all working with the same system, moving between workstations is seamless.

Has there ever been a time when M-Audio products “saved the day?”

The Ozonic came in very handy recently during a recording session with my wife. We had just completed construction at my project studio, but the walls hadn’t been treated yet. When we started recording, there were too many reflections in the room, resulting in an annoying “slap back” sound. We ended up taking the Ozonic into the living room of our house with the couches, sheepskin rugs and cats running around to absorb the sound. The recording sounded amazing! I hadn’t previously used the Ozonic for recording vocals because the need had never arisen, but it worked out great and we finished the project.

Why have you chosen to use M-Audio products?

I’ve always supported M-Audio because I feel quite strongly about the company. The approach and the philosophy of the company are ones that I can really stand by. Their products don’t cost an arm and a leg, yet they provide excellent gear of high quality. I think M-Audio is one of the most forward-thinking companies around.