‘Keep the Pad Unstuck’

Ben Britton in Battling the Sticky G-sharp Key:

The conventional wisdom that gets passed around is to clean the pad with pad paper or a dollar bill, but a bit of liquid soap and water (or just some water in a real pinch) can go a long way. Use a toothbrush if you can to be thorough.

Ben has some helpful tips to help un-sticking the G# key. I was familiar with the Dollar-note (ie.coffee-filter) and the oil one, but soap/water was new to me. I will give that try next time the key acts up. Which is probably tomorrow.

New York State Of Mind: Tenor-Solo

A transcription from Richie Cannata’s tenor solo on Billy Joel’s New State Of Mind

A student needed to play the solo and I tried to find a transcription. Since I couldn’t find a transcription online and had a little downtime I quickly made one myself.

It’s a rather slow tune, which makes the rhythmical notation somewhat cryptic, and in a few spots I’m not entirely sure if everything is correct. But at least it should be in the ballpark, and it’s fun to play.

You can download the PDF here.

Bob Mintzer instructional videos on You Tube

This morning Jazz Video Guy shared a bunch instructional videos from Bob Mintzer, such as the above on Rhythm, on Building Jazz Improvisations from Classical Music, on Attack, Sustain Decay and usage of Motifs.

I have had the honor to have met and attended a class with Bob Mintzer and he also talked then about the idea of Motifs. This is great stuff and worth checking out. Thanks to the Jazz Video Guy for sharing.

'One of his most important musical dialogues was Blue Train'

Marc Myers in John Coltrane’s Blue Train:

The perfection and excitement of this album is hard to match. The flawless, sculptured lines catch the ear and take you on a journey. From the opening hunting call on Blue Train, to Coltrane’s speed-bag attack on Moment’s Notice, the propulsive blues of Locomotion and lyrical bop lines of Lazy Bird, Coltrane does more than craft solos. He is telling a multi-chapter story here that is largely autobiographical. The songs reflect his heritage, enthusiasm and desire to stand out, and they forecast his goal of making his instrument and jazz more expressive and cerebral.

A short historical view on what is one of my favourite recordings.

Things to consider when trying a new Mouthpiece 

While trying a couple of new mouthpieces for the Alto a few thoughts came to mind.

It’s that time of the year when I am trying a couple of mouthpieces for the alto again. I grew a bit tired off my Meyer #8 which I have used now for about 3 years and it was time for a change. The mouthpiece simply doesn’t have the qualities that I was looking for and now I was starting to look for something new and, most importantly, different.

A couple of emails and a few days later I received a bunch of new mouthpieces and was ready to give them a try. When facing a table of full of mouthpieces it is easy to get lost and I wanted to make sure to make the best decision possible.

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Bob Mintzer Masterclass Videos

A few years ago I had the chance to meet one of favourite saxophone players, Bob Mintzer, when he was in town. Meeting him and attending the class he held was very inspiring and I still look back at it from time to time.

Moments like these are rare events.

Bob Mintzer.jpg
Bob Mintzer doing a final speech when he played with our Big Band.

So, when I learned that he had released two masterclass videos I immediately purchased them. The two videos are about 35min each and full of great content. He talks about sound, phrasing, technique, vocabulary and much more, everything one needs to know.

I am a huge fan of his playing and work and seeing him presenting these concepts is both inspiring and motivating. You can check out the videos here.

New Eric Alexander E-Book

Eric is surely one of my favourite players at the moment. Everything he plays seems to fall right into place. I have been working with and practicing with his study materials for a while and found them be very good and insightful.

His latest e-Book Improvising with the Whole Step Triad and Diminished Scales Supplement is, as the title suggest, somewhat an example how to use the techniques described in his earlier books on the Triad Pairs and the Diminished Scale. The book, features three examples on Invitation, Mr.PC and Stella.

I haven’t spent much time with it yet, but found it, as the other books, very inspiring. If you are interested I also recommend to check out his other e-books.

A Mobley Loop

“Learn to BeBop on changes like Hank Mobley first. It tells you when to stop.”

Those were roughly the words one of my all-time heroes Rick Margitza said to me when I had the chance to have a lesson with him in New York. And even though more than twenty years ago, it hasn’t told me when to stop. Up to this day I enjoy working on lines.
Continue reading “A Mobley Loop”