Tag Archives: Recommended

Zinn Practice Regimen For Saxophone

Ok, I think this is the FINAL version of this. Last updated in 2005, this version took out some stuff I had in there, and put in some stuff I have been practicing lately (triad things). 32 Pages of Saxophone goodness.

It is FREE and available here

  Zinn Practice Regimen For Saxophone 2009 version (1.8 MiB, 768 hits)
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and via Lulu here

Plus you can buy a copy for about $13 if you want something already bound and what not. Expect an update to the II-V patterns soon…..it is gonna be HUGE.

Oh, and that is a Conn-O-Sax on the cover. Why? I dunno, it looks cool….thats why!

JAM for iPhone/iPod Touch

I’ll admit I am an unabashed Apple fan. I do use a PC for menial tasks like generating Band in a Box backgrounds, or to download some Bittorrent stuff. Anyhow, when the iPhone came out, I got one within the first week. It has been amazing. Then they opened up the OS on the iPhone (and iPod Touch) to developers……which has lead to something like 10,000 applications, of which about 40 some (mostly free) have found a home on my iPhone.

Enter JAM. Jam is a very interesting product from some blokes down under. Think Aebersold, but better. You buy JAM for $9.99, and you get 5 “Cassettes” (I guess CDs haven’t made it down under yet?). Each Cassette has an interface something like this
jam cassette screen You can control the volume of each instrument, or mute it. Or mute multiple tracks. The tracks are played by real musicians (no Band in a Box here), just like most all of the Aebersold volumes.

Is this a perfect application? It is close. One thing it really needs is a slider to let you fast forward or rewind the song. Also, pitch shifting, speeding up or down, and looping would be nice. There is no reason why it couldn’t do it, as the iPhone/iTouch can run some pretty impressive games.

The Developers who were kind enough to send me a free be of the program said that they are working on some (or perhaps all) of these for a future update. That would be great. I’d also like to see them add the ability to make your own tracks and have them be able to be loaded into the program (like an Open Jam or something).

If you have an iPhone or iPod Touch, and want some new backgrounds to practice with, JAM is something to look at. 8/10 (2 points deducted for no ability to rewind or fast forward the songs or even pausing them…..which is kind of important).

Jazz Side Of The Moon

Here are the ingredients of a great album and recording:
1. Great songs….Pink Floyd’s Dark Side Of The Moon…..check
2. Good arrangements of said songs…..check
3. Great players…..check
4. Record everything live, with a single microphone and no digital “wizardary” (not Pro Tools *gasp*)…..check

The sound of the album is great (seriously, no Pro Tools). Tunes are great. Just……..great! When is a “Jazz Side Of The Wall” coming out? I think a jazzed version of Comfortably Numb would be rather cool.

moz-screenshot-93

Check out the album Jazz Side Of The Moon by Sam Yahel, Mike Moreno, Ari Hoenig, Seamu Blake on iTunes or CD via Amazon.

9.5/10

Live Jazz Concert Recordings

Sometimes on the internet, you find some great sites. This is one such site. “You Are What You Hear” is a great site that has concert recordings from great artists such as Dave Liebman, Michael Brecker, Chris Potter, John Scofield……to name a very few. Well worth spending some time getting some of the recording here.

I think the best recording is the Michael Brecker : Montreal Jazz Festival 27.6.2001. Simply amazing.

Samson Q1U USB Mic

I just picked up a Samson Q1U for a student as a going away present. He wants to do some webcam lessons or something (we’ll see how that goes…….yeah). Anyhow, there are a number of USB microphones out, or adapters for Microphones to USB. The Samson was a well under $100 mic that includes a little stand as well (I think I paid like $65 or something).

For the money, this mic is great. It sounds good, and it is stupidly simple to set up. On a Mac, you plug it in, and it shows up right away. You simply select it as the input, and off you go. It can be used in Amadeus, or whatever your recording program is. There is a noticeable latency though when you record.

I really didn’t do that sort of testing with the mic, I just simply plugged it in, and did some sound quality/tone tests with it (as it was a gift and I had to wrap it up and give it the next day). It really sounds great. Like a Shure 58, but not quite. Sounded pretty close to my Shure 58 that I have (keeping it fair, just recording the 58 in 48K, 16 bit). Maybe closer in sound to their Performance Gear 58, though I’ve never seen one of these in the wild. The frequency response graph for the Samson looks better (ie more flat, which is a good thing).

Verdict: For $65, this is a great mic. Sounds great. Simple to use. Comes with Cakewalk for you Windoze people. Brainless setup on the Mac side (plug it in, and it shows up). If you can deal with the latency (or not have to hear yourself while recording), then this mic would be ideal for someone wanting to record but not wanting to spend hundreds of bucks on an interface, mics, and cables. 9 out of 10.

Boots Randolph’s Rock And Roll Saxophone

Boots Randolph’s Rock and Roll Saxophone – Techniques and Fundamentals for Today’s Players by Boots Randolph and Mike Shannon is 63 pages that try to show you how to play rock and roll like Boots. Not that Boots playing could in any way be condensed down to so few pages.

The first part of the boot, about 20 pages, deals with scales. Major, minor, blues, dorian, mixolydian, in thirds, fourths and arpeggios. Nothing new. Then the book moves into long tones, and has a little discussion about how tone/ear training is important. It is worth reading.

Page 30 on out gets into the stuff you wanted to know, how to play Rock and Roll saxophone like Boots. The book goes over Growls, Slap tonguing, Throat trills, pops, and vibrato in addition to a bunch of other things. There are some excellent examples of what these sound like on the CD. Then there is an excellent discussion about altissimo, and how to do it, when to use it, how to practice it, and Continue reading Boots Randolph’s Rock And Roll Saxophone

Fourth Obession – Wil Greenstreet

Sometimes, people send me stuff to look at. Wil Greenstreet sent me his book, Fourth Obsession – inroads to out there. This book, obviously, deals with Fourths, something a lot of books touch on, but never really focus in on. This book does that. Starting out with the basics, being able to play fourths through the full range of your horn, then applying different rhythms to the fourths. Then backwards, then zig-zags, then zig-zags backwards, then zig-zags with rhythms, then zig-zags with rhythms backwards. You get the idea. And that is only the first 18 pages of 183 pages. Subsequent chapters deal with strings of fourths (in three, four, five, and six), root movements and fourths (whole-steps, minor-thirds, etc), and twelve-tone rows. All these get the backwards, zig-zag, zig-zag backwards, and with rhythms.

Whew! I don’t think he left out any combinations. Maybe I should consult with Johann Carl Friedrich Gauss or Archimedes to see if there are any other combinations.

After playing things out of this book over the weekend, there are some very cool lines to be found. The layout of the book is top-notch (except for the occasional use of the Jazz Text font, which I personally disdain). The material is presented clearly, the text is easy to read, and understand. The exercises, while not completely written out like in Walt Weiskopf’s books, are presented in a way where you can follow them (example being on the left page one would see the string of fourths in a group of five going up in half steps, and on the adjoining page the rhythms to practice them with). Should provide anyone with hours and hours (if not weeks or months) of stuff to practice. One thing that I wish was included were some etudes that encompass all that was presented in the book. I think that would have been a great bonus to have.

Looking for something to dig into? Then get this book. 9.5/10 (.5 deducted for lack of etudes, and illegal use of the jazz text font). The book can be purchased for $23 ($20 + $3 shipping) from Wil Greenstreet.

M-Audio BX8a Studio Reference Monitors

Part of the stuff I won in the SOS Competition were a pair of M-Audio BX8a Studio Reference Monitors. They came the other day, and they are an amazing set of speakers. Comparing them to the KRKv4 isn’t fair. They are in a far higher class. I really liked the KRKs, but these really are way, way better. The bass is great on them. The stereo image is great. The detail is great. But don’t take my word for it, read some other people’s views of them.

One little thing I don’t like, which I like on the KRKs, is that there is no auto power off. The KRKs power themselves off if they are not getting a signal after a while. It’s a minor thing, but its nice to have in a speaker.

Lets just say, I’m in a happy place right now with these 😉

New Version of Band In A Box Starts Beta Testing

This was posted yesterday on PGMusic.com.

We’re looking for current users of Band-in-a-Box 2007 to help us test some of our latest features. In order to qualify as a beta tester, you must be:

  • A current user of Band-in-a-Box 2007 For Windows.

Seems the Macintosh version will languish another year without an update (yet again). Wonder what is going to be in the new version. Last year, they introduced RealDrums into the program. This year? I don’t know, but lets speculate a little.
Continue reading New Version of Band In A Box Starts Beta Testing

Jazz Saxophone Etudes By Greg Fishman Vol. 2

Greg Fishman has been at it again. This time, he has come out with yet another book of Jazz Etudes. Again, he has named each Etude after a street in Chicago. I’ll just take Greg’s books in lieu of a tourist map if I ever visit Chicago. Really. I believe he’s covered every major street in the town, or at least the ones worth mentioning.

Back to the latest book. Greg says “I think that the new etudes are even more melodic than they were in the first book.” Eh, well, perhaps. The tunes in the last book were pretty good as well. I think my gripe with the first book carries over into the second book, i.e. still not a lot of explanation about voice leading. Perhaps that will be in a forth coming tourist’s guide to voice leading? How many streets does Chicago have? Are we going to run out if you do a voice leading book and another etude book?

For $19.95, with two CDs (one for Tenor, one for Alto) that have an etude track and a track where you can blow a few choruses, it is a simple choice. Duh! Get the book! 10/10 for the price, and the quality of the tunes.

(P.S. Greg Fishman is moving to Phoenix, Arizona. Why anyone would want to move there is beyond me. It gets so hot it can melt your dashboard. This last summer I think they had weeks of triple digit heat. My mom visited my brother who lives there, and she said it was like being in an oven the whole time she was there. Anyhow, I’d expect to see the next etude book filled with Arizona street names, assuming Fishman runs out of Chicago streets)

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).

Roland KC 550

Roland KC 550I recently bought a Roland KC 550. It is a keyboard amp, but you can use it for many other things. I bought it for some gigs this summer. It has an XLR microphone input, plus 3 additional inputs. Easily enough to share with a keyboard player, your EWI and your Sax mic. We touched on the subject of amplification way back (not sure if I agree with my opinions from then, oh well).

Sound. It has a nice, smooth sound, and a real nice low end. Two of these together would make a nice little PA system. One makes for a killer amp for those gigs where no one wants to setup and run a PA system. The KC550 has tons of output. I don’t think I ever got past about 4 on it. It never cut out or distorted on any gigs.

Size. Well, Continue reading Roland KC 550

Finale Productivity

When the author of the Finale Productivity package died last year, it was a shock. Bill was a great guy to email back and forth with, and I’m sorry I didn’t save every email we exchanged. He was very insightful about how things should look, and how to be clear on with music notation. Bill developed templates, fonts, and processes for Finale and sold them to people who wanted to make their music “engraver quality”. One of the last projects he completed was a Articulations font which addressed the LACK of articulations available in a traditional (ie: Finale’s Maestro) font. Bill’s articulations font looks great with Maestro, and has a complete set of articulations that one would need for any modern music notation (scoops, bends, falls). It looks great.

Then Bill left us, and it seemed his invaluable package of fonts, templates, insights, and processes would be lost.

Luckily, the rights to sell it were bought by NPC Imaging and is available here. I think Bill would be very happy to see that his efforts are living on. And I hope there will be continued work on the package in the future.