Tag Archives: Jazz

Jazz Saxophone Etudes By Greg Fishman

Greg Fishman has released a great new book titled Jazz Saxophone Etudes. What sets this book apart from others is the addition of two CDs, one for Alto and one for Tenor. You use the same etude for both instruments. So, you don’t have to deal with bad transposition jobs that you find in say, Bob Minzter’s books. Plus, the CDs feature extended rhythmn section only parts that allow you to stretch out and play on the tunes.

The tunes are based on standard changes. There are two blues etudes, two rhythmn changes etudes, and etude based on the changes to “A” Train, etc. All the etudes are named after streets in Chicago, which figures as Greg Fishman is from Chicago.

The one thing I would want more of in the book is voice leading. It would have been great to include the voice leadings to the solos, along with some analysis of what was used. It was mentioned briefly in the front of the book, then….nada. It would really make this book stand out if it had detailed, one page sheet on the voice leadings used in the solos. Anyhow, I’ve done a bunch of them for my students so they can see how he constructed the solos.

Rating for this book. 10/10. For $20, this book rocks. You get excellent solos, great sounding CDs, and a lot of information. Go get it!

Metal Mouthpieces and Spoilers

pika writes “What do people think about the metal mouthpieces with spoilers? How much louder do they make you sound(tener sax) because i was thinking about getting one for marching band. Email me if you know anything.”

First off, we don’t “email me if you know anything”. That also goes for people who “please email your XXXX arrangement”. You won’t believe how many times a week I get that. It is so Middle School.

Back to your question. A baffle indeed makes your mouthpiece louder. I think that is what you mean by “spoiler”. It would make a metal mouthpiece louder obviously. However, it does change the quality of the tone you get out of the mouthpiece. I tried Power Tone Baffles briefly on alto, and did not care for them. I got more volume, but the tone just didn’t sound good.

There is another thing you could try. If you put some paper underneath the reed (where the reed and mouthpiece contact), that will give you a little more buzz and power.

Articulation At Fast Tempos

harry63 writes “In slow and medium swing tempos I understand that “off-beat” articulation is used most often (I know there are times of course, that you don’t use this articulation, but I am generalizing on purpose). With fast tempos this articulation can really make your playing sound heavy and tend to drag. I am curious to know what sort of articulation patterns you all use at break-neck tempos?”

Jazz Oboe – Yusef Lateef

yampol writes “As long as we’re talking about doubling on oboe, let’s talk about jazz oboe. The first player that comes to mind is the amazing multi-instrumentalist, composer, educator, band-leader Yusef Lateef. His Eastern Sounds and Three Faces albums made a very strong impression on me. Check out the track “I’m Just a Lucky So and So” on the Three Faces album.

Anyone else have a favorite jazz oboist?

–Todd”

I don’t recommend the album with Bob Cooper and Bud Shank. They did an album that was jazz flute and jazz oboe. Bob Cooper played Oboe. I couldn’t bear it. I love Bob Cooper in Bob Florence’s band, and in solo albums, but his jazz Oboe….unbearable to me.

Update: 04/22 18:25 GMT by E :You know, I posted this story, and low and behold iTunes decided to put 2 of those Bob Cooper/Bud Shanks songs in my Random Selections Smart-Playlist. I still think Jazz Oboe is not cool. Hopefully someone can point me to something to change my opinion.

Evening with Don Menza

I got to spend some time with the great Don Menza tonight. It was very good. For those of you who don’t know of Don Menza, you need to sell your saxophone. Now!

01/24/2001 Updated a little more

Don Menza is a very gifted woodwind player who is probably most known for his stint with the Buddy Rich big band. But, Don Menza is deeper than that. Don is a very active in the music and teaching scene, and he is playing all over the world currently. In fact, he says he keeps a horn in the various locations he goes to rather than carrying a horn around….but that is another story.

Anyways, Don Menza had a stories about everything. I didn’t get to hear any of the famous Buddy Rich stories (or horror stories) because I got there a little late (maybe Rory could fill us in?). He retold a great story of seeing Charlie Parker playing live, with Strings. He said Charlie Parker’s sound was big, kinda like a tenor, and would fill the room. He said Charlie Parker’s play looked like he wasn’t play because his fingers were soo close to the keys. He also had a story of how Charlie Paker’s playing changed after playing 2nd Tenor in the Billy Eckstine band. He was playing second the Gene Ammons. Don insists that you can hear a trading of ideas between Gene and Charlie after that time.

Don Menza is insistant that the best saxophones ever made are Selmer Mark VI’s. He says that once Selmer stopped making them, they lost the art. Current saxophones being made have aspects of the Selmer Mark VI, but he says that nothing captures it.

Don is also insistant on mouthpieces. He doesn’t buy that “this mouthpiece will make me better” arguement. I remember seeing him in 1995 or 1994 at the IAJE in LA, and he did this demo of sounding the same on 3 different mouthpieces. The $500 special, the $100 middle of the roader, and the $5 special. It didn’t matter, he made them all the same. I think he now likes old Otto Links that he strips the rubber off of. We didn’t get into details about that.

Don’s also very passionate about his teaching. He’s very proud of a couple of student, especially this girl (and I can’t remember her name!). She was always something he’d talk about. He’s very proud of her.

I’ll probably remember something more later………