Category Archives: Articles

General Saxophone related articles, opinions, questions, etc, etc

Another Crash

Sadly, it seems that the little laptop hard drive powering the resurrected site died last night. Luckily I had backups. I’m on a SSD now, so, no more clicking head of death….

One Of Coltrane’s Saxophone Donated

Seems Ravi had three of them. This one was the one used on A Love Supreme.

Today, the museum kicked off its 13th annual Jazz Appreciation Month by celebrating A Love Supreme’s 50th anniversary. And in honor of the occasion, Ravi Coltrane, himself an accomplished contemporary jazz musician, donated one of his father’s three principal saxophones—a Mark VI tenor crafted by Henri Selmer Paris, a manufacturer of high-quality brass and woodwind instruments. The saxophone was made in 1965, the same year in which the recording of A Love Supreme was issued. “Every time I open the case to look at the saxophone,” said John Edward Hasse, curator of American music, who presided over its donation ceremony, “I get goosebumps. John…Coltrane’s….saxophone.”

Primentel – Death By Exposure

Bret Pimentel had an interesting post this morning:

I give my content away, directly to the reader, for free at my own website, but I retain the copyright. If someone wants to read it, they visit my site or retrieve one of my feeds. I make an astonishingly tiny amount of money from minimal advertising, the occasional affiliate product link, and a few donations. But the content remains under my control, in a single canonical copy.

Basically, some big named woodwind company. I suspect it was The Woodwind and The Brasswind, wanted to use some of his articles on their site in exchange for “increasing your website traffic” or something. He said no. Good for him.

I’ve been running a website since before 1999, I believe I started it in 1998 but archive.org only has data from 1999. Oh well. The point is, this is a BS thing. The “increasing website traffic”. If you got mentioned on Daringfireball.net, or some MAJOR site on the internet, yeah, you’ll see an increase in your traffic……for a day or two. Then….nothing. In the mean time, whomever wanted your articles and stuff has the content, and perhaps a Google search will have them come up first for it rather than your site.

In terms of money, there really isn’t a lot of money to be made with Ads. The THREE Ads I have on Jazz-Sax generate maybe $1 a day. Maybe. Sometimes more, sometimes less. That translates into maybe $100 from Google every 3 months. I don’t even know if that pays the electricity for the computer running it, or really covers the internet costs.

I think the most annoying thing is that, although the content here is FREE, you need to register. Why? Because I don’t want some guy in Russia hard linking to the files from his site. Or actually taking the files and putting them on their own servers. David Valdez, from the davidvaldez.blogspot.com blog was doing this with some of my files and other people’s files. Not sure if he still is. I can sorta see the reasoning….perhaps he’s not sure if my or other people’s sites will be up in 6 months. 6 years. Whatever. So he thinks the stuff is valuable enough to take and put on his site. Fair enough. Except he didn’t ask. None of these people ask. Of course my answer is going to be NO, you cannot host files/articles on your site. You can, like Bret Pimentel tried to do, offer to put a summary and then link to my site for the actual content. I think that is fair.

I also absolutely hate….HATE….people who do “I see you have X on your site, can you send it to me”. NO! It’s there. Figure it out.

I’m going now to drive some kids off my lawn…..

What Musicians Can Tell Us About Dyslexia and the Brain

A team of researchers at Hebrew University in Israel tested the language abilities and basic auditory perception of 52 dyslexic musicians.

What did they find? On most tests of auditory perception, the dyslexic musicians scored as well as their non-dyslexic counterparts, and better than the general population. Where they performed much worse was on tests of auditory working memory, the ability to keep a sound in mind for a short time (typically seconds). In fact, the dyslexic musicians with the poorest working memory tended to have the lowest reading accuracy. Those with better working memory tended to be more accurate.

Dancing with the “Stars” To Fire Orchestra

I received this from The American Federation of Musicians:

“The Federation has now confirmed that after 17 hit seasons with Dancing With The Stars, one of the world’s most popular TV programs, the DWTS Big Band has been fired. ABC/Disney says the group, comprised of 28 talented musicians, singers, arrangers and copyists, will be replaced by pre-existing sound recordings and a “small electronic band” to “attract a younger viewer demographic.

We are in contact with ABC/Disney executives in an attempt to stop these unjustifiable and unwarranted actions. You can join with us to push back against this latest attack upon the livelihood and integrity of professional musicians. Please email Candice.A.Ashton@abc.com. Please let her know that you will encourage viewers everywhere to boycott the show, ABC-TV, and The Walt Disney Company if she follows through on her plan to fire the band.

We will provide further information as the situation develops. If you are reading this bulletin on Facebook or social media, please share it with your friends immediately.”

The ONLY reason to watch Dancing with the Stars was to see Sal Lorenzo of the Big Phat Band. Now poor poor Sal might be unemployed now. I kid, sorta. Actually, the real problem is that Dancing with the “Stars” isn’t that. Let’s look at what “Stars” were on last season:

  • Keyshawn Johnson
  • Bill Nye
  • Valerie Harper
  • Christian Milian
  • Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi
  • Brant Daugherty
  • Leah Remini
  • Bill Engvall
  • Corbin Bleu
  • Amber Riley

Out of this list of “Stars” I know of Bill Nye (the science guy) and Snooki. And Snooki I only know of because she is worthless human garbage from New Jersey. So, ABC, I don’t think the problem is that these “Stars” you are getting aren’t “Stars”. Bring some fucking REAL “Stars” and maybe that would bring back your audience. Maybe pit Hue Jackman against Neil Patrick Harris? Cage match style? Last Man Dancing?

EWI 5000

EWI5000_angle_1200x750For the Winter 2014 NAMM show, Akai has announced a new EWI.

EWI 5000 comes loaded with more than 3GB of top-quality sounds, including traditional horn, brass, woodwind, and string sounds, plus progressive synths, leads, and other non-traditional sounds. EWI 5000 includes 12 touch-sensitive metal keys on its top and an eight-wheel thumb- controlled octave roller on the bottom. An EVI (Electronic Valve Instrument) Mode is included for brass players, and EWI 5000 also includes eight control knobs for tweaking Filter, Reverb, Chorus, LFO, Breath Amount, Bite Amount, Semitone Tuning, and Fine Tuning. Both USB MIDI and 5-pin MIDI are onboard for controlling software synths or traditional MIDI modules. A 1/4- inch output to connect to an amplifier or PA and an 1/8-inch headphone output for silent practice are included. EWI 5000 charges via USB or wall power and also includes a USB cable, wall adapter, wireless receiver, and a neck strap.

So, basically, an Akai 4000s with USB, a built in rechargeable battery, and some sounds.

How Long Does It Take To Form A New Habit?

This article from brain pickings.org was very interesting:

When he became interested in how long it takes for us to form or change a habit, psychologist Jeremy Dean found himself bombarded with the same magic answer from popular psychology websites and advice columns: 21 days. And yet, strangely — or perhaps predictably, for the internet — this one-size-fits-all number was being applied to everything from starting a running regimen to keeping a diary, but wasn’t backed by any concrete data. In Making Habits, Breaking Habits: Why We Do Things, Why We Don’t, and How to Make Any Change Stick (public library) — which also gave us this fascinating read on the psychology of self-control — Dean, whose training is in research, explores the actual science of habits through the existing empirical evidence on habit-formation. He cites one influential study that gives a more concrete answer to the elusive question of how long it takes for a new habit to take root:

So, start the new year off right and start making new, better habits!

Fixed iTunes on 10.9 and iBooks

So, one of the things I rely on for teaching is iTunes. I have a HUGE library of audio, video, and PDFs. A have a couple hundred playlists that include PDFs of the books. For years, I’ve found this a fast, effective way to teach. Drill down to the playlist folder, say Jazz, then find whatever playalong I want to use, and there it is in a playlist. Then click on that playlist, boom, there are all the tracks, AND the PDF of the book. Double click the PDF, boom…it’s ready to be played.

Simple, easy……except that Apple for some reason decided that iBooks was going to take over ALL the PDF and ePub duties from iTunes. Ok, fine….except that it cleans out ALL the PDFs from your playlists, and then proceeds to move all the ePubs and PDFs into a folder on your hard drive buried under ~/Library.

Stupid.

So, I have been holding off upgrading my Studio Mac (well, Hackintosh) to 10.9 because I didn’t want to lose all my carefully organized lists and PDFs. Luckily I found a couple of Apple Support threads. It actually is simple really, thanks to Kevin Edgecomb.

Before you install 10.9, make sure you BACKUP your iTunes library files. The XML, the .itdb, and the iTunes Library files all in Music->iTunes.

Ok, so, install 10.9, then do this:

  1. Kill the bookstoreagent service using the Activity Monitor.
  2. Delete the file for that service: /System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/CommerceKit.framework/Versions/A/Resources/bookstoreagent
  3. Use AppCleaner to get rid of iBooks.

And reboot (at least, that is what I had to do). Initially, the iTunes Library that was on the Mac had all the PDFs deleted even though I had not run iBooks. But moving a copy of the library files to replace the ones that got “touched” before I ran the above stuff…..works fine. All my PDFs are there. Playlists good. Everything great.

I have iBooks on my Mac at home, and it is nice, but I have NO IDEA why Apple decided to just move everything to a hidden folder in ~/Library. It would make much more sense to move the PDFs into a FOLDER in Music->iTunes something like, I dunno, “PDFs”? And then something like, lets see…..”ePubs”? Or just a generic “Books” folder? Or maybe even just move everything to a folder in your home directory called “Books”. Lots of ways to do it RATHER than where iBooks wants to put stuff, i.e. “~/Library/Containers/com.apple.BKAgentService/Data/Documents/iBooks”

Lame!!!!

Tune to 432Hz instead of 440Hz

From Collective-Evolution:

432 Hz is said to be mathematically consistent with the patterns of the universe. Studies reveal that 432hz tuning vibrates with the universe’s golden mean PHI and unifies the properties of light, time, space, matter, gravity and magnetism with biology, the DNA code and consciousness. When our atoms and DNA start to resonate in harmony with the spiraling pattern of nature, our sense of connection to nature is said to be magnified. The number 432 is also reflected in ratios of the Sun, Earth, and the moon as well as the precession of the equinoxes, the Great Pyramid of Egypt, Stonehenge, the Sri Yantra among many other sacred sites.

Interesting. Most “new” instruments, say a high end flute, are tuned at 442 nowadays. We have been going UP in pitch for years. I’m not sure a movement to knock 10Hz off everything would work. Though the Guitar video at towards the bottom is interesting. To me, the A=432Hz version screams OUT OF TUNE in my ears. Like the WHOLE song seems totally wrong to me. Like fingernails on a chalkboard.

So, I’m going to stick to the 440ish tuning.

Band in a Box 2014 for Windows

PG Music has been hard at work, and released Band in a Box 2014 for Windows yesterday. Notable features include:

  • 28 New Jazz Realtracks including tracks by Ron Carter, Kenny Barron, Lewis Nash, Gary Smulyan, Pat Martino and Phil Woods
  • 32 Country Realtracks (as you can see, I don’t care about those)
  • 41 Pop/Rock RealTracks including New Orleans Boogle styles, Horn Sections, and 70s grooves
  • 54 new MIDI SuperTracks (quite honestly, just started using these a lot and they are pretty cool)

One thing PG Music did was “overhaul” the interface. It’s really hard to tell exactly what they mean by this, as there are no screen shots I can find. Sort of looks Microsoft Office like I would say in it’s use of ribbon like things. They eem to have put a tab thing in the upper right where you can easily switch to the mixer and some other views (like Piano to see what notes are being played). A lot of this new UI stuff seems to come at the cost of seeing the actual chords on the screen. I hope there is a way to toggle back some of those Microsoft Office like ribbons. And then there is the “handwritten font” thing. I’m not a fan of that faux handwritten stuff anymore. It’s too 1990s for me.

So, should this be on your late Chanukah/Christmas list? Absolutely. Anyone who plays music should have this program. Are you working on solo changes? Working out a new chord progression for a song? Just want to explore what Giant Steps would sound like as a Country Bluegrass song? Then get this program. It’s a tool that you will use countless times.

PageFlip Firefly Kickerstarter

On Kickerstarter, there is an interesting kickerstarter for a new wireless/wired page turning pedal, the PageFlip Firefly. Looks like a great way to get one for cheap (probably like $20 off). They don’t ship until Feb 2014 though.

I don’t have any experience with using these on an iPad, but I have been using a “classic” X-Keys pedal for about 6 years for my dual monitor teaching setup. It works great.