The 50 Worst Artists In Music History, a great music music site, published a great list in 2003 of “The 50 Worst Artists In Music History“. While I don’t agree about #16, Oingo Boingo, I do agree with #4, Kenny G.

"Hated equally by jazz and rock fans, Kenny Gorelick's limpid instrumentals and obsequious cameos helped turn the soprano sax solo into pop music's most feared cliche. He started his career with fusion hack Jeff Lorber, and his 1986 album, Duotones, established a steady market for anodyne, minimal background music, an aesthetic that reached its zenith in 1997 when "The G" set a world record by holding a single note for 45 minutes.
Appalling fact He graduated magna cum laude from the University of Washington with a degree in accounting.
Worst CD Classics in the Key of G (Arista, 1999)"

They also have some interesting comments about Jazz Fusion

"It's a rule of thumb that any music that uses jazz as a prefix will make you want to saw your head off in boredom (see also: jazz-funk, jazz rap, jazz house). But none is as wearying as the genre that thought what rock really needed was month-long bass solos and time signatures Stephen Hawking wouldn't understand.

Cut them some slack, they did publish a fairly good jazz list a while ago. They did nail the Kenny G thing though, I’d have put him as #2. And a newer list would have Paris Hilton and Ashlee Simpson I’m sure….

Finale 2007

MakeMusic released Finale 2007 a while ago. August I believe. I’ve been using it since then, and I think I can finally review it properly.

There are not a lot great new features in Finale 2007 compared to 2006. The big feature, in fact, really the only feature that is huge, is the linked parts. Though, on MakeMusic’s preview page they harp “features” such as “Authorization Improvements“, and “Improved pickups, vertical collision remover“. There are a couple of other new things I get to. Let’s dismiss the authorization thing. That is as lame as the Copyright symbol they billed as a feature in 2006. The vertical collision remover sorta works, but not really. I can’t really see any difference in the pickups as I really didn’t do much with complex pickup measure.

So, lets dive into the reasons why you’d want to upgrade to 2007…..

Continue reading Finale 2007

Jazz Saxophone Duets by Greg Fishman

I had rave reviews of Greg Fishman’s “Jazz Saxophone Etudes” book. I really like the tunes in that book. They are melodic, sound great, and are idiomatic of good jazz solos. The concept of including two CDs (one for Alto, and one for Tenor) was, well, fairly obvious (yet no one else does this, ie: Snidero’s Jazz Conception books, or Mintzer’s Etude books).

So, in the mail the other day, I received Fishman’s latest creation, Jazz Saxophone Duets ……

Yup, it’s as good as his other book. There are 10 duets. Two versions of each. One version is for two like instruments, such as two Tenors, or two Altos. The other version is for Alto and Tenor (Alto on the top line, Tenor on the bottom). Each “Duet” could be an etude that could, perhaps should, have been in Greg’s other book. The tunes sound great.

Oh, and they have a rhythm section accompaniment track as well. Did I mention this book contains three CDs. One CD of all the etudes done on Altos. One CD of all the etudes on Tenors. And one CD of all the etudes Alto and Tenor. And on each CD you have the Duet with both parts played, just the top line, just the bottom line, or just the rhythm section (which is on all the tracks). How cool is that?

Two little complaints. First, when I ripped the CDs into iTunes, all the CDs showed up as the Tenor version. That was a pain. Also, the Artist column didn’t make sense, and I had to change that. Second, I kind of wanted another couple of medium tempo tunes. There are 5 tunes that are metronome 200 or above, One ballad (mm=69), one near 200 tune (mm=192). So, that leaves three tunes at mm=126, mm=132, and mm=152. I think if there were two more tunes in the 130 to 160 range, this book would be a perfect 10.

In all, this is a very cool duet/etude book. It’s for advanced intermediate on up players. I give it a 9 out of 10.

Update: 11/12 07:14 GMT by E :Greg Fishman emailed the following:

"Since the three CDs are all almost exactly the same length and same number of tracks,
i-tunes thinks they're all the same disc. I tried correcting this many times by submitting the correct info for each CD separately to the CDDB database, but it didn't make a difference. After several weeks of trying to get the i-tunes database to see the difference, I just stopped trying. This is not my fault or the book's fault; it's just an i-tunes glitch, but I know it's a pain.

Regarding the medium tempos, I did have two more tunes planned, but due to the format of including four versions of each duet, I ran out of space on the CDs. As it stands, the CDs are 74+ minutes each. It would have meant including more CDs or cutting some of the faster duets. I ended up simply picking what I thought were the best duets."

Yes, seems the CDs are indeed filled to the brim. However, the first thing I did when I got the book was add them to my iTunes library. Makes one wonder if it even makes sense to include audio CDs anymore. Why not just a data CD that has the tracks ripped in high quality MP3 format?