Tag Archives: wtf

Sheets Of The Week Suspended

Ok, you guys can thank leftyviv (Leftyviv“>leftyviv@gmail.com) for this. Basically, he wanted to know the secrets of improv so he could be awesome on his/her audition…..in less than a week. I replied that I didn’t know how he/she played, but to listen and have space. And they replied that they were disappointed because I had nothing more on the subject. I replied that there was no way to actually triage one’s ability to improvise in less than a week….and that there were plenty of things on the net that they could use. They replied something to the effect that I wasn’t being nice, etc, etc, etc.

Listen, dood….stuff is out on jazz-sax for free. Arrangements that people have done and posted on YouTube. Heck, I see these things circulated on Bittorrent and Usenet. That’s not being nice? Free isn’t nice?

Second, dood…..I don’t take song requests. And I posted as much. That’s not being mean. Or rude. I’m not going to sugar coat it for you. If one of my students asked for it, and I feel it’s good enough to post, I might post whatever. I have like 1000 pop sheets I’ve written out. Including “Moves Like Jagger”. Go find that somewhere for saxophone somewhere else. But I’m not going to take a request from Username1236@prodigy.net who can’t form a proper sentence.

Third, dood….WTF do you want me to do? Write you a solo? Teach you the blues scale? Show you some licks. There are plenty of places out there for that, including here. So you suck at Billie’s Bounce. Go practice. Look at Charlie Parker’s solo(s). Or Cannonball. Or whomever. A major part of soloing is knowing the language. You have to listen and practice it. I totally HATE when some whinny kid wants this that and the other thing. Now. For free. From the internet. Buddy, it don’t work that way. If you want to go cry about stuff, go to like SaxontheWeb or something. There are a lot of posts/users like you there. A few real cool guys like Tim Price, Steve Neff, and Pete Thomas frequent there. I’m sure they will steer you towards some free or paid stuff that they have done. Steve Neff has some cool Blues Licks you can buy for $10.

So, guys, you can thank Leftyviv for no sheets this week. Or maybe the next couple of weeks. I did get “Rumor Has It” by Adele done, and was scheduled for posting today. But…nope. And I think I was going to put up “Rhythm Of Love” by the Plain White T’s or maybe a Mumford and Sons song. But…..nope.

Superscope Elevation (Stay away…..zombies!)

So I get the Jamey Aebersold jazzbooks emails. In their latest “Economic Stimulus Sale!” one, at the bottom something got my interest. Elevation Software play-along offer. Hmm…sounded interesting. So I decided to go to the site, www.superscopetechnologies.com and check it out. Downloaded the demo for Mac…..and then the disappointment happened.

$149 for this piece of crap? That is all I can really think of after using the demo. Let me list the disappointment for you shall I?

1. Drag and Drop works….but not for AAC (m4a files) formatted files. So, anything that you get off of iTunes or perhaps have already ripped into AAC format (which is BETTER than mp3) won’t work with the program.
2. The IMPORT dialogue box is NOT mac like at all. I dunno where they got it, but it looks like a Linux box. So, I don’t have access to my sidebar favorites, nor can I use my Default Folder program to navigate to my files.
3. The program crashes like it is in a demolition derby. I mean, I maybe got it to work twice correctly. And I’m still on 10.6.8.

So, why would I spend this much money when programs like The Amazing Slowdowner, or Transcribe! can do what this program does at half the price. And they don’t CRASH! And support AAC files.

People, avoid this software at all costs. AT ALL COSTS. DO NOT GET IT. STAY AWAY. Imagine it is Zombie-fied and going to eat your brains if you download it.

On a side note, I kind of wish Jamey Aebersold would release his play-alongs in a APP format that includes the books and a way to slowdown/speed up, record, and put the songs in other keys. I think Aebersold is missing and/or has missed the boat in this. Instead of selling physical CDs and books, embrace technology. Make an iPad app that has say volume 1, with the tunes, with a metronome. That perhaps you can drop out the piano and bass or whatever. That you can change the pitch and speed of. That sells for the same price in the App store. You’d sell more, and you would ditch the printing and cd costs. The 30% or something Apple would take is easily less than what it actually costs to make the books, cds, and do the packaging.

Technology is infringing on classical music?

This author has some very old school ideas of how we need to listen to music. Basically, ban any electronic devices in a concert. Sure, ok, I can see muting them…..no one wants some a**holes ring tone interrupting Beethoven…..but banning them outright?

I think a better idea would be to engage the audience, maybe have an APP or something that is following the music. So you could see the score, or maybe what a particular instrument is playing RIGHT NOW or maybe have an interactive guide that has analysis of the piece as it is being played that can be highly detailed or simple enough for a rock drummer to understand.

Running away from technology is guaranteed to kill any type of music. They need to embrace it, and look for new ways to engage the audience when they are there, and to draw in new people into classical, or any type of music (except for maybe Country……and Dubstep……and some Rap…….and…….no that’s it)

What Killed The C-Melody Saxophone?

Csaxophone.com has a great article up about C Melody Saxophones. Actually, it was taken without citation from wikipedia. Shamelessly copied. Shame on you sirs!

The article on Wikipedia isn’t the authoritative narrative of the rise and fall of the C-Melody. In fact, the author(s) of the Wikipedia article say “However, it is important to note that production ended for purely financial reasons, and not because of any inherent flaw in the design or poor manufacturing standards. C melody saxophones were as good as the reputation of whichever company manufactured them.” and continue with this assertion “the “Big Band” era had started in the early 1930s and anyone who wanted to learn the saxophone was interested primarily in soprano, alto, tenor or baritone because this would, potentially at least, allow them to play in a Big Band, and Big Bands did not feature C melody saxophones in their instrument line-up. As a result there was no consumer demand for C melody instruments”.

I wonder if that is really the reason. If, as they say on Wikipedia, that the instruments “were as good as the reputation of whichever company manufactured them” then, why wouldn’t Pros use them? Wouldn’t it have been a whole lot easier to have a big band that had two C “tenors” and a slightly smaller C “alto” and a slightly larger C “Bari” in the section? I mean, writing for them would have been a lot easier. I would reason that there was something else that prevented the adoption of the C-Melody by Professionals of the day.

Another Wikipedia article says “settling upon instruments alternating between E? and B? rather than those pitched in F and C, for reasons of tone and economy” and “The C soprano saxophone was the only instrument to sound at concert pitch.” More fuel on the fire.

I know people who have C-Melody saxophones. They play crappy I think. Partly because the rest of the saxophone world has advanced in the 80+ years since the hay-day of the C-Melody. The sounds are different. Sort of like comparing a guitar sound and strings to modern guitars. Similar, yes, but different. Or maybe lets use a car analogy….naw.

So what killed the C-Melody then? Was it that companies just didn’t produce quality instruments? Was it (as I suspect) that they sounded crappy even if they were high quality? Was it the Big Band that killed them?

Terrible Quality Of Music Minus One Play-Alongs

I own a few Music Minus one play-alongs. A clarinet one that has the Stamitz concerto on it, and the one that has the Bolling Suite for flute, and the one that has J.S. Bach Suite No. 2 on it. Those are excellent.

I tried out one called “Baroque Play-Along for Tenor Saxophone”. Yikes. Terrible. The mixing is terrible, and the Tenor player misses a low E the 12th measure of the Pachelbel Cannon (the EASY PART).

Avoid this one people. I’d say use Smart Music for those songs rather than MMO.

State Budget Cuts Night Jazz Band

I am a little amused and saddened by this. The Diablo Valley College Night Jazz Band is having a “Benefit Concert” to raise funds to turn it into a fee based class. Read it again. Don’t understand? Ok, so the junior college has a music department. Good so far right? Ok, and a night jazz band. And it appears that the people who have been in the band for decades don’t want to pay more to play in the band. I mean, they cut it down to a half a unit years ago. I have no clue how they wiggled that through. So, basically, the band members were paying something like $35 a semester to play in a band. But the state was paying for the lights, the facility, oh, and the instructors salary to run the band.

If the state was flush with money, sure, the band sort of brings attention to the school. Maybe attracts high school kids to continue to pursue music. Bring in a big named artist to play with the bands. Maybe do a CD. That’s all good in my book….if there is money for it. Having the same people in the band for years, and years, and decades…..and fudging numbers to get the class to be cheap? Not so good. Why can’t the Math department have Calculus as a .5 unit class? Or all the other departments have classes like that?

I have no sympathy. 90% of the people playing in the night band are not students. Or rather, not full time students at DVC. 90% of them are either retired, full time musicians, doctors, or in a similar situation. Meaning, they could afford to pool their money together to make their “class” a fee based one. So they would have to pay a lot more to use the college’s resources. Boohoo.

What angers me the most is the whole idea of a “benefit concert”. A “Benefit Concert”, according to the dictionary is “a concert given for the benefit of some charitable cause”. How is the Night Jazz Band a “charitable cause”? It isn’t.

There are PLENTY of things that need “benefit concerts” in the area. Like maybe last year when the Mount Diablo School district decided to ax most all of the non-tenured music teachers. So the really good instructors at, say College Park High School, got axed and they floated in one of the tenured people they can’t get rid of (who was doing like elementary music or something?) ito do the bands. They could of used a “benefit concert” to maybe help raise money to support the teachers. Did the DVC Night Jazz Band donate their time to do that or do anything like that? As far as I know…..NO. Oh, but they did make a CD with Bob Mintzer last year. I’m sure ALL the money from that is going to good causes like supporting education and……yeah…….

Suck it up guys….the free ride is over. Or the cheap ride. You all should be ashamed to even use the word “benefit concert” when referring to the band. Sickening.

And “passing hats for donations”? Really? That is just sad.

The Problem With Band Teachers

I have to vent this out. There are a couple of band teachers in my area who I think need to be fired or at the very least severely reprimanded. These teachers have tenure in California, which makes it pretty much impossible to get rid of them. One of the teachers openly flaunts that they are tenured and pretty much has a carte blanche to do whatever he wants.

These teachers openly swear in class, and basically verbally assault kids. One of the teachers last week had a meltdown (again) in class and called the class “F***ing Idiots”. A friend of mine has a private school teaching job, and if he did ANYTHING like that he would be terminated immediately.

My concern is, besides the total lack of professionalism, what good does this do? In this age of instant gratification, where we think American Idol constitutes real singing, where we have iPad applications like Garageband which makes anyone pretty feel they are a musician, we should be ENCOURAGING students to play and enjoy music. Not having the students DROP music because of fear of Mr. X having a meltdown or because they intimidated them to play. This certainly was NOT the environment I was exposed to when I was in school, and if it was I seriously doubt I would have stopped playing in High School.

Comments? I think a lot of the problem is that these guys, and teachers in general, are tenured and they pretty much cannot be touched. Given the state of California’s budget and such, I kind of wish the district didn’t have funds to pay these guys.

Double Slide Controller…..why?

“Developed by composer and researcher Tomás Henriques, the instrument mixes computer music software, sensor technologies and flexible hand/arm gestures to generate rich, complex sounds.” My question is why? So we can do more Zen type music? Why do all these “demos” of new controllers and stuff always have like an atmosphere drone? I would have been impressed if this guy busted out some changes and played a chorus or two of “Autumn Leaves” or something. But no, we get F-ing drone Zen music. Another Eigenharp type device. Whoohoo!

Dood Blows $5760 on an Eigenharp

Oh come on, a stand created by K&M? It’s a Bass Clarinet/Bassoon Stand guy. Been around forever. And they include a BACKPACK!?!? Wow, I’m sold.

Seriously though, why? You need to take the “backpack”, the stand, a real laptop, and then the actual Eigenharp to a gig. Oh, plus an amp. So……why didn’t they include a cart? Or a small truck for it?

Well, the guy seems happy…..I guess that is all that matters. When they come out with one that doesn’t need all that crap with it, and costs about 1/2 as much, call me.