Tag Archives: History

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.”

Ten Years Ago Today: iPod

Ten Years Ago Today: iPod:’

Apple’s iPod, a 6.5-ounce MP3 player the size of a deck of cards, is one of the most exciting products to come from Apple in years. Powered by FireWire, the iPod can hold as much as 5GB of data, providing a compelling balance of size and capacity. However, this combination of features comes at a relatively high price: $399.

(Via Daring Fireball)


Hard to believe, but 10 years ago today was when Apple unveiled the first iPod. It was an unusual move. Apple was known for Computers and operating systems, not music a consumer good like an MP3 player. Boy, did Apple come in and change everything. Perhaps some of you don’t remember the players before the iPod. It was by far the smallest one as I remember, but it was the one that nailed how to do things. It was fast with it’s firewire interface (USB 1 was still the de-facto standard in the PC industry), and simple with iTunes 2 as the computer to device interface.

I remember being sort of “why the heck would you want that” about it. I mean, it was kind of expensive, and I didn’t see the point of it when I could burn a CD or CD-RW of songs to listen to. Yeah…..and then I got the second generation iPod…..and that opinion of mine changed and I immediately ripped all my CDs…..which took MONTHS to do, into AAC 160 format. And I have never…..ever…..looked back.

Lessons in Manliness from Charles Atlas

Lessons in Manliness from Charles Atlas:

This is just PART of the article. Great for anyone who wants to continue to improve themselves (*cough* like EVERY MUSICIAN)

Lessons in Manliness from Charles Atlas

Turn your weaknesses into strengths.

Charles Atlas was born Angelo Siciliano in Acri, Italy in 1893. When he was ten, his family immigrated to America, and he landed on Ellis Island not speaking a word of English.

Little Angelo swore he’d do great things, but his prospects didn’t look too promising. He was a skinny, sickly, slope-shouldered boy–easy pickings for the bullies in his tough Brooklyn neighborhood. Coming home one Halloween night, a bully beat him with a bag of ashes, knocking him out for an hour. “It seemed like he was beating the brains out of me,” Atlas recalled. When he came to, Atlas lumbered home, crawled into bed, and said a prayer, telling God he’d never let another man beat him.


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?

Tom Dowd and the Language Of Music

I finally got around to watching some of the things that had been piling up from Netflixs. One of them was Tom Dowd and the Language Of Music. The description is a little misleading:
“Rarely do we get a chance to see a feature-length documentary about a true unsung hero. Tom Dowd was an innovative music producer and recording engineer. Historical footage, photographs and classic music tracks underscore how Tom Dowd altered the course of contemporary music via his many technical achievements. Features appearances by Ray Charles, Eric Clapton, the Allman Brothers Band, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Les Paul and Aretha Franklin.”

This video is WAY more than that. This is THE GUY who recorded Coltrane. He recorded just about every good jazz album out there. ON THE FLY (the way they did it back then). He also recorded a guy name Ray Charles as well. And a bunch of others, like Eric Clapton…..

Did I mention he was also part of the Manhattan Project and was involved in the Bikini Atoll nuclear weapons tests as well? This video is an amazing look into how recording were made, and how a true legend made them. Check out Tom Dowd’s Wikipedia entry as well.

50 Tons Of Records Donated

CNN has an interesting article:
“The more than 200,000 records represented the entire inventory of “Records Revisited,” a landmark Manhattan store owned by Morton Savada, who died in February of lung cancer at age 85.

The collection, valued at $1 million, weighs 50 tons and represents more than a half-century of American music history.”

Wonder what gems one would find in there. Albums that aren’t produced anymore. That is one of the great things about going to an old used record store, finding that album that was only done on LP…….

Talking Jazz

I came across this website:

New from musician, author, journalist Ben Sidran, Talking Jazz includes an eighty page booklet with essays from writers, critics and musicians, classic photos from Lee Tanner, and 24 compact discs featuring conversations with 60 jazz greats, recorded during a five year period for Sidran’s award winning NPR program “Sidran On Record”.

I’m wondering if anyone heard this collection, or perhaps the original NPR broadcasts. Any good?

John Coltrane Reference Book

Here is a review of the forementioned John Coltrane Reference Book.

Porter combines meticulous scholarship with an eye for telling details, the revealing and necessary details about Coltrane’s life and music that constantly open up new perspectives. There is no gratuitous quoting of literary figures irrelevant to Coltrane, or bizarre factoids (the attendance at a New York Museum of Modern Art Chagall show the year Coltrane’s classic quartet recorded at The Village Vanguard (see page 69 in Ratliff).

Though the price is still daunting……$150

Louis Armstrong’s Trumpet Used As A Fruitbowl?

I don’t know about you, but this is disturbing:

Matt Mullenweg, lead developer of the open-source WordPress blogging software, last night celebrated a $25 million “bonus” from investors by purchasing a $1 million Louis Armstrong trumpet, which he plans to use as a fruit bowl.

There are a lot of things a trumpet used by Louis Armstrong could be used for. A Fruit bowl is not on my list. In fact, why not donate the money to some worthy foundation? Or maybe set up a scholarship program in the bay area for music? There are a lot of things you could do instead of buying a historic instrument and using it for a fruit bowl. Seriously. And $7 million for a house? Hope the tech bubble does not burst again….

MP3 Compression Explained

Found a very interesting article about how MP3 compression came about. It is, at times, rather techie, but very interesting none the less.

But what is MP3? The usual explanations usually take one of two forms. The long version, available in technical papers, is written in jargon and filled with math. The short version, often used by newspapers and nontechnical periodicals, simply states that the process eliminates parts of sound not normally heard by the human ear. But this one-sentence description raises more questions than it answers for any reasonably tech-savvy reader: how does it find those unheard sounds, and how does it get rid of them? What’s the difference between the different bit rates and quality levels? If you’re anything like me, you’ve often wanted to know the mechanics of MP3, but not to the point of writing your own encoder.