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Little Norman

I would be remiss if I didn’t take a moment to talk about my dad. He was a great father and husband, as well as a demanding business leader with high expectations for those around him. Norman (which makes me Little Norman) was a proud father, hard worker, volunteer in the community and an adept handyman around the house as well. His interest in woodworking and home maintenance was something I could not have had less interest in as a young man. Now I have a true appreciation, understanding and interest in these same things – just like my dad. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

When I was in elementary and middle school I tried and quit just about every instrument available until settling in with saxophone at age 13. I had played and quit, drums, clarinet, bugle, piano and piano again. My father had enough already but my mother encouraged him to give me one more try at the sax. Thanks Mom…and Dad…for listening to her!

In high school I was switched from alto to tenor by the high school band director. Private study and theory classes helped fuel my interest in saxophone and music. When I was in 11th grade my parents agreed to purchase a used Mark VI. We bought it for $450 and I was very happy to have my own. One year later when we realized it was not a very good Mark VI, my father agreed to purchase me a second, better Mark VI for high school graduation. I went on to use this sax at Berklee College of Music in Boston and I still play on that same tenor today.

The fact that my parents supported me is not unique. What IS unique is that Norman N. Spratt was MY dad. Thanks for everything Dad. God bless. Norman N. Spratt

Now on to what’s new on SaxShed.com and elsewhere… There is much new saxophone info to read about here. There are new transcription samples to view, a few new tools in the shed and several highlighted recordings under reviews.

I am particularly pleased to offer a review of another project I had the pleasure of working on – Billy Ruth’s Here’s to Life. It was a rare opportunity for me to play baritone in a big band setting along with some great Philadelphians. The project features some of my favorite players to work with playing beautifully as they often do. My former teacher Ron Kerber and I got to work together again and that was a pleasure as always. Many of us contributed to the project at different times but in the end the blended ensembles behind Billy support his vocal efforts well.

Ernie Watts continues to fuel his own Flying Dolphin Records with the new release To The Point – Live at The Jazz Bakery. Watts and his quartet demonstrate their dedication to the tradition of recorded live jazz.

In addition to Watt’s newest recording, several other recordings have been submitted for review this time around. You can read about all of them in the reviews section here on SaxShed.com.

Lastly, I’m happy to announce that my first published saxophone quartets will be available soon by Dorn Publications. This month’s Saxophone Journal (Nov/Dec) features my Rock n’ Roll Masterclass CD with a play along for tenor sax. The complete SATB quartets, scores and optional rhythm section parts will be available separately from the magazine through Dorn Publications.

That’s all the news to tell for now.

Stay well and play well.
Skip Spratt

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