Tag Archives: technique

Articulation Study from Apollon Marie-Rose Barret

I was digging through my archive of Finale files, and there is this gem in there. I think I got it when I was a member of the IDRS. It’s good for Oboe and/or Saxophone.

  Barret 12 Articulation Studies (153.0 KiB, 145 hits)
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  Barret 12 Articulation Studies (iPad formatted) (159.4 KiB, 35 hits)
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Rico Reeds Videos

Rico Reeds has some really great videos of Walt Weiskopf up explaining one exercise from his book “Around The Horn” (which I highly recommend!).

They also have some great videos from other artists like Chris Potter, Mel Martin, Ronnie Laws, etc.

But then, they have videos from this Shannon Kennedy chick which were……..what? I dunno what to make of them. They have these great pros talking shop and technique, and then you have……who? Shannon who? I mean…..who is she? And she discovered fire….I mean that you can play faster if your fingers don’t move too far from the keys? No……way……amazing. Though Eddie Daniels might disagree, but what does he know? Seriously…….I mean like…..OMG……Eddie Daniels. I mean…..psh.

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, 760 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!

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.

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).

Tabuteau Lessons/Note Grouping

Two related items I finished recently. The first is a very interesting CD, Marcel Tabuteau’s Lessons, which Tabuteau himself explains his phrasing system. Well, it is more than that, it is lessons on music from a great master. It was started in August of 1965, using a tape recorder in Tabuteau’s apartment, and abruptly finished in 1966, the last recording made the day before he died (or, as Tabuteau called it, his audition date with St. Peter). It is oboe specific in areas (reeds), but most of it easily applies to saxophone (or any other instrument for that matter). Well worth a listen if you want to gain insight from a master on how to play music.

The second item is Note Grouping by James Morgan Thurmond. This is basically a written down version of what the Tabuteau CD is. Same idea, different author. Keep in mind, this book was originally a thesis paper, and reworked/written to be a book. Parts of it are very “thesis paperish”, but the information contained within is invaluable, especially the insights into how modern music has come about.

Neff Music Approach Note Velocity Studies

Every month, I make it a point to buy new music. New music including books in addition to recorded media. I have quiet a backlog of things to review. So, first up are Approach Note Velocity Studies.

I’m not sure when I found these on the net, but Steve Neff’s Approach Note Velocity Studies are pretty darn neat. For $10, you get 90 some pages of great sounding chromatic lines that you can use on Major and Minor vamps. You can incorporate them into other chord progressions as well, such as blues, rhythm changes, etc. If you own the Joseph Viola Chord Studies book, these patterns are similar to those 16th note lines at the end of each chord study. I have also seen patterns like these called neighboring tones or approach tones in other books.

There are two volumes, Major and Minor. Both are great. Check them out.

Jazz Saxophone Duets by Greg Fishman

I had rave reviews of Greg Fishman’s “Jazz Saxophone Etudes” book. I really like the tunes in that book. They are melodic, sound great, and are idiomatic of good jazz solos. The concept of including two CDs (one for Alto, and one for Tenor) was, well, fairly obvious (yet no one else does this, ie: Snidero’s Jazz Conception books, or Mintzer’s Etude books).

So, in the mail the other day, I received Fishman’s latest creation, Jazz Saxophone Duets ……

Yup, it’s as good as his other book. There are 10 duets. Two versions of each. One version is for two like instruments, such as two Tenors, or two Altos. The other version is for Alto and Tenor (Alto on the top line, Tenor on the bottom). Each “Duet” could be an etude that could, perhaps should, have been in Greg’s other book. The tunes sound great.

Oh, and they have a rhythm section accompaniment track as well. Did I mention this book contains three CDs. One CD of all the etudes done on Altos. One CD of all the etudes on Tenors. And one CD of all the etudes Alto and Tenor. And on each CD you have the Duet with both parts played, just the top line, just the bottom line, or just the rhythm section (which is on all the tracks). How cool is that?

Two little complaints. First, when I ripped the CDs into iTunes, all the CDs showed up as the Tenor version. That was a pain. Also, the Artist column didn’t make sense, and I had to change that. Second, I kind of wanted another couple of medium tempo tunes. There are 5 tunes that are metronome 200 or above, One ballad (mm=69), one near 200 tune (mm=192). So, that leaves three tunes at mm=126, mm=132, and mm=152. I think if there were two more tunes in the 130 to 160 range, this book would be a perfect 10.

In all, this is a very cool duet/etude book. It’s for advanced intermediate on up players. I give it a 9 out of 10.

Update: 11/12 07:14 GMT by E :Greg Fishman emailed the following:

"Since the three CDs are all almost exactly the same length and same number of tracks,
i-tunes thinks they're all the same disc. I tried correcting this many times by submitting the correct info for each CD separately to the CDDB database, but it didn't make a difference. After several weeks of trying to get the i-tunes database to see the difference, I just stopped trying. This is not my fault or the book's fault; it's just an i-tunes glitch, but I know it's a pain.


Regarding the medium tempos, I did have two more tunes planned, but due to the format of including four versions of each duet, I ran out of space on the CDs. As it stands, the CDs are 74+ minutes each. It would have meant including more CDs or cutting some of the faster duets. I ended up simply picking what I thought were the best duets."

Yes, seems the CDs are indeed filled to the brim. However, the first thing I did when I got the book was add them to my iTunes library. Makes one wonder if it even makes sense to include audio CDs anymore. Why not just a data CD that has the tracks ripped in high quality MP3 format?

Beyond The Horn – Backgrounds

Yes, you knew it was coming. Backgrounds to practice Walt Weiskopf’s great new book, Beyond The Horn. A lot of these are based on “standard” tunes. A couple are original chord changes. All of them are very challenging to play with the Etudes out of the book. It’s different, it’s fun, it will bust your chops for sure. Enjoy!

  Beyond The Horn Backgrounds in Band-in-the-Box format (10.5 KiB, 14 hits)
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Beyond The Horn

Walt Weiskopf and Ed Rosenberg, have released a great new book, Beyond The Horn. It is more of a follow up to his great Around The Horn book. The 246 pages are filled with Octave Displaced Triads, and a bevy of Octave displaced minor, melodic minor, harmonic minor and a bunch of other modes. Plus, there are some etudes based on original and standard chord songs that incorporate the material studied throughout the book in them. The funniest title, for me, was “You’re Modern” which is based on the chords to “I’m Old Fashioned” by Jerome Kern. Get it?…..get it? Aw, nevermind.

They forward in the book says that the material was tried out with a captives from the Eastman Music school. Supposedly no students were injured in the testing….though it doesn’t say that…..

All of Walt Weiskopf’s books are must haves in your library. His Around The Horn, “Coltrane – A Players Guide To His Harmony, Intervallic Improvisation, and Augmented Scale In Jazz are well written, easy to read, concise books every saxophone player should have. This book gets a 10 out of 10.