Band in a Box 2009.5 – Mac

After YEARS of waiting, and PG Music saying it was coming…it is here. Band in a Box 2009 for Macintosh. I could hardly believe it myself. Yes, the languishing program that was 7 versions behind the Windows version (2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2007.5, 2008, 2009) has been brought back to life. I wondered what happened to Dr. Frankenstein….seems he was hired to bring the Mac version of BinaB to life again.

I always thought it strange that PG Music made a HUGE effort to move Band in a Box to OS X with their version 12, but then promptly let it sit for years and years while the Windows version added more and more features. It was mentioned years ago they were planning on a new version but….nothing ever materialized. Well, no more. The 2009 version pretty much brings the Macintosh version up to the Windows version.

First off, the program is HUGE if you want to download it, you better have a high speed connection. A real FAST high speed connection. We are talking 20+ gigs of stuff to download if you purchased/upgraded the version with RealTracks (more on that in a minute). PG Music offers digital downloads in addition to physical media available on DVDs or an 80 gig hard drive (same price). As a previous owner of version 12 for the Mac, I opted for the “Everything PAK” and the 24 PAK upgrade that included some extra stuff. It was $184.

Ok, now……lets dive into the program, the features it has, what works, doesn’t work, and what is still missing in the Mac version that the Windows version has….
Continue reading Band in a Box 2009.5 – Mac

Roy Benson Altos

There are a lot of cheap student model altos out on the market now. Heck, even Costco sells instruments now. I have a couple of students who have the Costco instruments. They are crap.

With a new store in my area that is peddling these Selmer student models for nearly $1600 (a price where you can get a used pro-level instrument), the store where I worked found these Roy Benson Altos. IMG_1023 I have nothing but good things to say about them. As good as the Selmer student models the “Music and Gifts Store” is selling, and half the price. Retail price is $799. They play great. I’d say if you are looking for an alto that is cheap, and built well. A quality alto, but not at the huge Selmer markup, check out Roy Benson’s line of instruments.

Can Jazz Be Saved?

The WSJ has an article up called “Can Jazz Be Saved?“. Basically, the article says that in 2002 10.8% of adults went to listen to jazz, and in 2008 that number fell to 7.8%. In the college market it fell from 19.4% in 1982 to 14.9% in 2008.

I somehow think that there are more factors than the author suggests. I think there is a big fissure between people who want “traditional jazz” and those who don’t really care what type of jazz it is. I know I have encountered the former attitude in several bands I play in, where arrangements by Gordon Goodwin are sort of mocked and some crappy B-side arrangement of some song no one knows (and after we play it we know why) is favored more.

I know my own listening habits have been to go back to the great music of the 70s and early 80s. LPs I’ve been getting in Berkeley that. The new last “album” I bought was Gordon Goodwin’s latest. Not like the Vandermark 5, or yet another reissue and remaster of Coltrane or Miles Davis.