Best/Worst Of 2005

I just picked up a copy of Tim Ries “The Rolling Stones Project”. I have to say, this is probably the best CD I’ve bought in 2005. I can’t think of another CD that I bought in 2005 that was better. Seriously, I think the industry needs to stop doing American Idol and other cheese things, and get back to producing good music.

On the Worst side, the RIAA lawsuits. Here is a great clip of a CNN interview with a person being sued and the RIAA head. Wow, talking about blinking. And here is another guy challenging the suits. I think if an album is good, and reasonably priced, people will buy it (HINT: Around $10). Also, a potential problem for the Recording Industry in the form of Spitzer. What? Price collusion? The RIAA? Never…..not in a hundred years…..

Zinn Practice Regimen For Saxophone III

NOTE – An updated version of this Regimen is available here

One of the most downloaded things on Jazz-Sax.com is the Zinn Practice Regimen. It was inspired by Daniel Zinn, master saxophonist/woodwindist when he took over saxophone instruction at CSUH about 10 years ago.

I updated it a couple of years ago, and I’ve updated it again. Changed the font, clean it up and came up with some new ideas to maim, I mean break, I mean develop fingers and skills. This is probably the last revision of it, as I think it encompasses all that I want it to, and takes about 30 minutes to play through. Enjoy

  Zinn Practice Regimen III (592.7 KiB, 52,659 hits)
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RIP Jazz Font

Since it first came out, I was an advocate for the Jazz Font. I still have the 3.5″ floppy that I bought to use with Finale 3 something. The disc has 1995 written on it. Anyhow, now I see it all over the place. The Jazz text font people use with other fonts. Yikes! And the music produced using the Jazz font is hit and miss. Sometimes it looks good, sometimes not (except like Warner Bros professional scores, those look great). And then there is a variation called Swing Font from the same author, and we won’t go into that goofy looking Sibelius “jazz” font….all these “hand written” fonts don’t look hand written to me anymore. I hate coming into a rehearsal and having to deal with a bad font and poor formatting. I had a rehearsal about 2 weeks ago where someone brought in a Sibelius chart that could have been 2 pages in Finale, but was 4 in that goofy Sibelius jazz font. Looked like crap.

Having been exposed to a “better way”, I’m am leaving the world of the Jazz Font. Too many people use it, and, honestly, it isn’t as cool or as good looking as it once was.

I’ve rewritten my venerable “Zinn Practice Regimen” for sax using Bill Duncan’s Finale Productivity stuff. Amazing. There is no comparison. This new version is easier to read, looks better. Hell, it’s better than some books I have bought. Mr. Duncan is currently working on some Jazz Articulations to include in his package. Scoops, falls, bends and whatnot. Looking forward to it!

It’s been a good run Jazz Font, but, alas, time for you to be retired.

Band In A Box Mac

PG Music’s Band-in-a-Box is a great program. Sadly, it is languishing on the Mac side. After not updating it for about 4 years, the updated it to version 12 to add Mac OS X support. The Windows version was updated to 2004. We are now almost into 2006, and the Mac version is not going to be updated this year. Instead, PG Music did a maintenance release of the existing to allow the use of new styles. No new features, nada. You’d think PG Music would have been working on a new version to add support for Garageband. Or perhaps the ability to use Garageband software synths. Nope. Just new styles.

I really hope they get another Mac programmer there to get this program rolling. When you compare the PC version and the Mac version, there is a HUGE gap.

Band in A Box 2006

PG Music has released the latest, greatest update to it’s awesome Band in A Box program. Version 2006 includes these features:

  • Live looping and playback control (for people who perform live with BinaB. Though I don’t think I’ll be using it)
  • Enhanced TC-Helicon Audio Harmonies (???? ok….)
  • New notation symbols
  • (woohoo..lead sheets!)
  • ASIO Audio/Software synth driver support, VST synth/plug-in support, Three new DirectX plug-ins, PG Vinyl, PG RTA and PG Vocal Remover (*yawn….what?)
  • Direct open or import of WMA, MP3, and CD-Audio files, Half-speed (and slower) audio playback (Interesting feature to allow you to load an audio file in and transcribe it)
  • Support for different instruments (patches) for the “a” and “b” substyle (this is neat!)
  • Multi-channel Leadsheet display and specific channel recording, MIDI normalize option, Piano Roll improvements, Bar range for MIDI file creation (Um…..won’t ever use them)
  • Two new ear training games (Games? Someone say games?)
  • 11th chord support (FINALLY!)
  • Batch conversion from Band-in-a-Box songs to MIDI files (Could be interesting…)

PLUS………

You get Styles 58, which sounds damn good. If you opt for the MegaPak ($99 from a previous version), you get ALL the styles. Some of them are very nice, like Styles 53 to 57.

Sadly, the Macintosh version is now seriously lagging behind the PC version. The Mac version is 12, the PC is on 2006, and they have been through 12, 2004, 2005. So we are three version ahead. Sad. PG Music is promising some add-ins soon for the Macintosh version. We will see.

In all, if you don’t own Band in a Box, get it. It is the best practice tool out there. It beats Smartmusic with both it’s arms tied behind it’s back, both legs tied, blind-folded, and suffering from the flu. Yeah, no comparison. SmartMusic does not let you print anything from it. Band in a Box will let you print lead sheets, piano parts, drum parts, solos, EVERYTHING.

My former teacher, Guido, has put away his Vinyl (yes, he uses records…..poor guy….probably also has a leisure suit somewhere as well that he wears, but I digress…..) Aebersold LPs in favor of Band in a Box. This version does not add a lot of really NEW features, but it is worth it just for the styles.