Sightreading Jazz by Bob Taylor

First off, I need to apologize to Bob Taylor. He sent me this book a while ago. Months ago, and I just plain got busy. So, finally, here is a review of the book.

Sightreading Jazz is a 130 page, spiral bound book that addresses jazz sightreading. Being able to come to a musical situation, and play stuff for the first time with a high degree of accuracy is an essential skill. Bob Taylor’s book focuses on sightreading jazz music.

The first part of the book gives you some history, things to look out for, counting rhythms, swing rhythms, articulations, and accents. The second part is where the meat of the book begins, the Rhythms. 2 and 4 bar rhythms. Mr. Taylor recommends practicing these with one pitch, or two or three pitches that you pick out, or using a scale (going up or down as the notes go by), or an arpeggio, or two octaves, or using thirds. Whew. PLUS, you can do the rhythms across the page, down the column….and upside down (just kidding).

Actually, upside down come in the next section, where Continue reading Sightreading Jazz by Bob Taylor

Tags and Categories

Upgrading to WordPress 2.3 was painless. However, they did change a number of things. Categories and Tags. Kind of confusing, but here is a quote to better explain it:

So categories can be tags but tags cannot be categories. Categories are like the huge signs you see on aisles in supermarkets – “Food”, “Hygiene”, “Frozen” etc, they guide you to sections where you can find what you are looking for. Tags are like the labels on the products themselves.

So, in an effort to clean up my categories, I’ve been tagging. Though, it is, like moving over the old Slash content, going to take some time.

Changed Themes

Yeah, things look different. WordPress allows you to really mess with the look of a site really, really easily. So, we are trying this one out……

I think it is more of what I want it to look like……

UPDATE: 09/23/07 4:30 PM by E: Added an Archives page

UPDATE: 09/24/07 1:50 PM by E: Moved the Submit Article to the menu

UPDATE: 09/24/07 9:20 PM by E: Upgraded to WordPress 2.3. Woot!

UPDATE: 09/25/07 12:35 AM by E: Tags……I’m not quite sure what to make of them yet……

Keyless Saxophones

When I was in college, I heard the story of Siguard Rascher having a keyless saxophone. Basically, a conical tube in the shape of a sax. Mr. Rascher was reported to be able to play anything on it.

Well, looks like you can actually get one and try to be a virtuoso like Siguard Rascher. Hollywood Winds sells an alto and a tenor version for $495 and $695 respectively.

I wonder if it would be cheaper to get an old C-Melody off of Ebay and just plug the holes….

Korg Sells Its 20 Millionth Tuner

From Korg:

We recently achieved a milestone — over 20 million tuners sold worldwide. To mark the occasion, we have increased the warranty on all of our tuners and metronomes sold to three years. Now you can stay perfectly in tune with the latest in Korg tuner technology, backed by the high quality of these products plus years of guaranteed performance

I’ve never owned a Korg tuner. I do have a Korg M1 though…..

Joe Zawinul Dies at 75

&uotFew of the major US networks picked up on this,

Zawinul died early Tuesday, a spokeswoman for Vienna’s Wilhelmina Clinic said, without giving details. He had been hospitalized since last month and suffered from a rare form of skin cancer, said Risa Zincke, his manager, according to the Austria Press Agency.

Some articles about his death are here, here, here and here.

Weather report was one of the first jazz/fusion groups I was exposed to (Tom Scott and the L.A. Express was the other). Sad to see another great pass on.

PG Music JazzU

PG Music has a new product out, JazzU

JazzU offers all students of Jazz — players, teachers, arrangers, and Jazz lovers – an invaluable computer-based resource for the study of Jazz music with top instructors and players. JazzU faculty members are professionals whose credentials embrace both formal study and a wealth of experience as performers on the bandstand, the concert stage, and in the recording studio. For the student, JazzU offers the insights of top professional musicians and teachers who combine an appreciation of the rich Jazz tradition with the ability to play and teach in all styles and genres – Traditional, Dixieland, Swing, Bebop, Latin, Modern, Fusion, and beyond.

For $50, it sounds like a good deal. The only thing that it lacks, it seems, is a way to evaluate how you played them. Programs like Teach Me Piano do this, and they are brutal. But it is an effective way to get better.

Apple Logic Studio

Today, Apple announced it’s Logic Studio. Not only did they pack a ton of features into an already feature rich product, they dropped the price to $499. Amazing. There are new features such as mainstage, five Apple Jam Packs, more software instruments, and thousands of other sounds. Plus, you get Soundtrack 2, which is an excellent sound editor (at least that is what I hear from my Final Cut nerd friends).

I think I might have found where that $100 Apple Store credit is going now….Wonder what the next version of Digital Performer is going to do to match this….

UPDATE: 09/12/07 by E: A couple of other sites have some first impressions about Logic Studio.

Will post more links as I find them.

Interactive Video Tutorials

Sometimes, you need to get help with stuff. Mostly, it seems nowadays people need help with tech stuff. Finale, Sibelius, Protools, Digital Performer, etc. What if you could, for a small fee, have access to an expert guiding you through these and other programs? You can. HowAudio.Com offers a growing number of online tutorials. They have a woodwind section, a Protools section, a Digital Performer section, and more. There are some samples that you can view to get a taste of what the tutorials are like. $19.99 a month for all of the tutorials. Interesting stuff!

The Dust Has Settled…..Sorta

Looks like things have settled down after the transition from Slash to WordPress. First, on the right you’ll see the Be Active header. Here you can write articles, questions, interesting things you saw on the net or heard about. Second, there are still about 300+ stories that have not been migrated from Slash to WordPress. It probably will be a couple of weeks until everything appears again.

Yamaha’s Tenori

Yamaha has a new thing out, called the Tenori

Media artist Toshio Iwai and Yamaha have collaborated to design a new digital musical instrument for the 21st century, TENORI-ON. A 16×16 matrix of LED switches allows everyone to play music intuitively, creating a “visible music” interface.

Check out a video of it

Create Digital Music also has an article about it.

The Sordid Tale Of Guardala

It is sad that one of the great makers of mouthpieces and horns has messed up everything. From a Newsday Article:

“David Guardala is sort of the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde of the saxophone world, according to federal prosecutors and some of those he is accused of swindling.

As of yesterday, Guardala was in a Frankfurt, Germany, jail fighting extradition to Long Island to face 12 counts of fraud. The charges were in an indictment unsealed yesterday in U.S. District Court in Central Islip.”

There is a little history in the article as well. He was the maker of Mouthpieces in the 80s and part of the 90s. His line of Saxophones was great (I used to own an Alto, serial number 766). Dave, what happened?

SmartMusic 10.1

One of my favorite whipping boys is SmartMusic. This program could be so great, and yet, MakeMusic seems not to want to put that little extra polish on it. Case in point, the latest “update” to SmartMusic is a large download, some 95 Megabytes. Took some time to download. Here is what is listed as being “new”

  • Compatibility with SmartMusic accompaniments created in Finale® 2008.
  • Support for Windows Vista.
  • Improved Clarinet assessment.

I emailed MakeMusic’s tech support about the first thing a while ago, when Finale 2008 came out. Never heard back. Figures. Well, at least they didn’t wait nearly a year to update SmartMusic to read the SmartMusic files generated from the latest version of Finale (last time, it was August 2006 when Finale 2007 came out, and not until April 2007 when SmartMusic could read the SmartMusic files generated by Finale 2007).

Ok, new stuff. Continue reading SmartMusic 10.1

Vade-Mecum of The Oboist

There are a number of books out there that are for Oboe that have been adapted for Saxophone. Ferling’s, and Rossari’s books would be two examples. Another great book to check out is “Vade-Mecum of The Oboist” by Albert J. Andraud. The 200 page, over sized book contains 230 selected studies (some from Ferling) and Orchestral excerpts to hone your skills. Though it is for the Oboe, it works great on saxophone. This book does not pull any punches. It starts hard and keeps it there.

For those looking for some technique etudes, this book will not disappoint. 9/10 (1 point deducted for the oversize of the book which I don’t particularly care for).