Dealing With Theft

I got an email last night from a friend who returned home to find that she had been robbed. Everything, TV, Laptop, kitty litter, and even the toilet paper. But the most prized thing, a bassoon, had been stolen as well.

Obviously, the police have been called. But what does a musician do when their money making tool gets snatched? Contacting all the neighboring music stores and pawn shops in the area is a priority. An instrument is something that is not really easy to get rid of for a thief. About 10 years ago a trumpet playing friend had his trumpets stolen out of his car which was at his house in his drive way (big truck in the back seat). They turned up about 2 weeks later at a music store. Another story…
Continue reading Dealing With Theft

What Ever Happened to Eric Kloss?

erickloss-consciousness2I picked up an LP of Eric Kloss “Consciousness”. Wow. However, he seems to have disappeared. This is what I could dig up about him via Google

“One of the true child prodigies of the ‘60s, saxophonist Eric Kloss holds the distinction of having a record contract with Prestige Records at the ripe young age of 15. Blind, smart as a whip, and technically proficient at even this early stage in his career, Kloss went on to make some remarkable albums up through the early ‘70s and then disappeared into academia.

Like a lot of other jazz cerca 1969-70, there’s a definite rock influence both in the rhythms and in Corea’s use of the electric piano (he also plays acoustic). Consciousness! (tracks 6-10) was recorded in January 1970, and sounds a lot more like the intense Fillmore recordings. Pat Martino, who joins the band on guitar, is an explosive presence.

This is highly recommended to any fan of Corea, Holland, or DeJohnette as well as to anyone who likes the sound of late 60s post-bop jazz. And besides, you will never hear a funkier version of “Sunshine Superman” in your life.”

And Allmusic has a little more. But…….what happened to him? Is this another case of a John Klemmer type who was totally amazing then disappears off the planet?

SmartMusic – FAIL!

If you read the archives here, you know that I have a love/hate relationship with MakeMusic/SmartMusic (same company). Their products have a lot of potential, but I think the corporate environment there is messed up.

The current issue I have with MakeMusic is my SmartMusic renewal. About 2 years ago, you needed to have an Educators subscription to obtain a “code” to allow students to get a subscription for $25 a year. Fair enough. Then they came out with SmartMusic 11 and did away with the “code” thing, and offering educators access to their site to be able to track assignments, grades, send assignments, etc. Sounded good in theory, but it never worked right for me at all. And students never used it. So, why am I paying for it then? I simply want to be able to create some SmartMusic exercises for my students, and take advantage of the huge library they have for sightreading purposes.

So, this year, with money being a concern, I did initially renew my account, which was like $130. This was back in January. I’m pretty sure I gave them all the credit card info and what not. Then, the other week, I get an invoice from them saying that my account is overdue. What? Actually, this is to be expected. They pretty much do this every year I’ve had an account with them. I enter all the billing info and payment info online, and they proceed to lose it or misplace it or something. Upon reflection, I decided I wanted to just have a student subscription. Well, “Chris” from their SmartMusic support says that I do not qualify. What? I could set up a new account and order the software and stuff for $30, but since I had an educators account, they would not move me down to a student account even though I explicitly said I did not need all the “stuff” that the educators account had.

So, I cancelled the account. Stupid guys. You should offer SmartMusic for $30 to everyone, and if an educator wants to take advantage of your “services” (if you want to call it that…..I wouldn’t), then they can add on the extra to be able to track students, send assignments, hear recordings, etc, etc.

I really wish someone would buy MakeMusic, gut the management, and actually force them to start updating their products with more features and better user interfaces. Actually, I’d be happy if they just got rid of the management.

Super Mario Medley

Ok, I decided to put this up. It’s an arrangement of Super Mario music I did last year. It is cool. Perhaps even cooler than Tank! Damn it, it is. It is MARIO.

Scored for 5 saxes, 4 trumpets, 4 trombones, guitar, piano, bass and drums. I make no promises on how good the guitar part is (my band does not have a guitar player).

Enjoy (donations are always welcome and an added incentive to put more stuff up!)

  Super Mario Medley for Jazz Band (1.6 MiB, 1,142 hits)
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Look at all the downloads (41 as of 4/29). Not a single contribution. And people wonder why there isn’t more stuff up.

The Difference Between Speakers

I found this article today. Rather interesting.
“A speaker’s ultimate goal is “to sound like reality”—the elusive dragon that every audiophile chases—so on a broad, not-very-useful level, how close it comes to matching that reality is the difference between good and bad, expensive and cheap speakers. To be slightly more technical, the “spec” is clarity: The lower the distortion of the original sound it recreates, the better the speaker. In fact, basically every other spec, every confusing number you read on the side of a box is actually totally meaningless, according to both Steve and the Definitive guys. Steve singles out watts as “one of the more useless specifications ever created.” If you have to look for a number when buying speakers, Steve said one that’s “kind of useful” is sensitivity/efficiency, which would be something like 90dB @ 1 watt, which relates how loud a speaker will play at a given power level.”

There is more, but if you have ever had the pleasure of listening to your favorite music on a pair of high end speakers……..well, maybe you shouldn’t. It is like tasting fine wine and then having to go back to the cheap stuff.

Save The Last Dance For Me

This is a transcription/arrangement I did for a Big Band I play with. The original Michael Buble arrangement this is based off of has guitar and a string section. This arrangement has no guitar and the string parts are in various instrument sections. If you enjoy this and want to see more arrangements up here, please consider making a donation (look down on the left).

Big Band and Vocals…..Score, 5 saxes, 4 Trombones, 4 Trumpets, Piano, Bass and Drums. I’ll have an audio clip of us playing it at some point. Enjoy!

  Save The Last Dance For Me (1.4 MiB, 441 hits)
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Tom Dowd and the Language Of Music

I finally got around to watching some of the things that had been piling up from Netflixs. One of them was Tom Dowd and the Language Of Music. The description is a little misleading:
“Rarely do we get a chance to see a feature-length documentary about a true unsung hero. Tom Dowd was an innovative music producer and recording engineer. Historical footage, photographs and classic music tracks underscore how Tom Dowd altered the course of contemporary music via his many technical achievements. Features appearances by Ray Charles, Eric Clapton, the Allman Brothers Band, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Les Paul and Aretha Franklin.”

This video is WAY more than that. This is THE GUY who recorded Coltrane. He recorded just about every good jazz album out there. ON THE FLY (the way they did it back then). He also recorded a guy name Ray Charles as well. And a bunch of others, like Eric Clapton…..

Did I mention he was also part of the Manhattan Project and was involved in the Bikini Atoll nuclear weapons tests as well? This video is an amazing look into how recording were made, and how a true legend made them. Check out Tom Dowd’s Wikipedia entry as well.

Possible Downtime?

This site, and my others (jazz-flute, jazz-clarinet, jazz-oboe, etc), will probably be down sometime over the weekend. Basically, this is due to be deciding to retire my huge old Dual Pentium III server with a smaller, more efficient Atom powered computer. I’m not anticipating any problems but……you never know. I think it will be rather painless and hopefully things will be faster and better on the Atom powered computer (MSI Wind PC to be specific).

For the geeks and nerds out there, I’m probably going to put Ubuntu Server 8.1 on it. The current server is running FreeBSD. That might maybe be a possibility as well. I just need PHP5, Apache 2.2, and MySQL on it. We’ll see what happens. The only real issue I think will be exporting the databases, though, since I moved everything to WordPress, that should be simple. It will be interesting to see exactly how much quieter (the current beast is really loud) and faster it will be. The only thing is that I’ll be losing the RAID backup that I have on the current system. Not that it really has ever failed, once in almost 10 years. That is pretty damn good. At some point, the new Atom server will get a SSD (Solid State Disk) so it will be totally efficient and pretty much silent. Well, hopefully.

UpdateComputer comes tomorrow sometime. I am going to put Ubuntu Server 8.1 on it. I don’t think it will be an issue at all moving stuff over. Just tar it, ftp it to the new computer, untar, etc, etc. Reading up on it, the Atom computer should make a ton faster than the dual pentium III 450s I have.