Single reeds

I got an alto saxophone. My wife was actually amused. This should be fun!

Luckily the EWI work that I’ve done for the last two years has prepared me very well for the fingerings. It’s mostly just a problem of sound production and intonation. Technique is still a foreign language, but I’m getting better. I get the vocabulary and grammar I’m just not fluent in the saxophone family fingerings yet. The easier tunes out of the Real Book aren’t posing any problems for playing the melody, and I’m using that and the Klose to learn the instrument.

Will probably be some time before I feel comfortable enough to call myself a “doubler” but I hope to integrate it into my gigging. I already have a mouthpiece modified for use with the Little-Jake (demo will eventually come) so I can use effects without microphone feedback problems.

Developments and New Projects

Things that are bad for recording at home:

  1. Extreme heat/humidity/dew point and no central A/C. makes for a very uncomfortable recording room.
  2. The neighbor’s window A/C unit right outside the room where you want to record. Causes a bit of a ruckus that doesn’t really add to the musical material.
  3. A 9 month old that has decided she doesn’t like the sound of a bassoon or reed, and cries when you play.

So no new recordings for a while now.

With the recent disbanding of Art For Hunting, I’ve started to try for some other projects. The “power trio” project didn’t seem to get off the ground due to scheduling, so I’m going even smaller. Two new duos!

The first is one I am tentatively calling “Bassoordeon”, a collaboration between me and accordion player Ben Williams. I originally thought to just do modern-twist Klezmer and other related traditional music, but it turns out that Ben and I are both 80’s kids with a nostalgic love for classic video game music, so we’ll be throwing some of that in there as well. An interesting combination but I think it’ll be a neat mix of old and new. I’ll use amplification here but only to better balance the accordion, which is surprisingly loud (and also can be directly amplified).

The second is a classic jazz duo between me and guitarist Robert Branch. Robert has been out of the music scene for a few years but is one of the first, and still one of the best, guitarists I met with in the Minneapolis area. We’re sticking with Real Book standards, classic American song book stuff, and other music that fits the genre. Probably not too modern, no effects from me and amplified only if the venue requires it, since Robert has a good sense for guitar volume levels.

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