|Here's One For Billy Z.|
|Saturday, 02 June 2007|
Hi, Skip Spratt here and welcome to my blog. There have been some new things going on around here and you will likely notice the additions when you stop by the site. Transcriptions and Tools in the Shed continue to grow, as well as the review section’s array of books, cds and other publications. Bob Mintzer Quartet’s release In the Moment is reviewed, as is the three part saxophone style series by Dennis Taylor. Lastly, it is important to note the much-awaited release of Michael Brecker’s posthumous release, Pilgrimage. Read on…
SaxShed.com started as a humble stop on the information highway to share my knowledge of teaching and playing the saxophone. As it has grown, there has been the addition to information on clarinet and flute as well. These bits of information have been made available to doublers (a term some consider offensive, although I accept) but room to grow remains. The Flute Shed, long a part of SaxShed.com is now its own entity. In an effort to offer more to the woodwind players I’d like to welcome Liz Campbell of Winds101.com as the prime sponsor of FluteShed.com. Liz operates a small but comprehensive flute shop, which caters to flautists and woodwind doublers alike. She offers new and uses flutes, custom headjoints and other woodwinds as well. Recently I purchased an alto flute from Liz and the service and attention to my needs was superior. I look forward to working with Liz to make FluteShed.com a more comprehensive site for flautists as well as saxophonists looking to get more serious about their flute playing.
It’s time to begin working on another Masterclass CD for Saxophone Journal. The Tenor Sax Styles Masterclass just released in the May/June issue of SJ has gotten some great feedback from readers. To all of you who chose to write – thank you much! It’s a labor of love and the kind words are always appreciated. The next Masterclass CD for 2008 will be on contemporary jazz playing. Smooth Jazz was the first subject tackled by this writer some 4 years ago. The Contemporary Jazz Cd should appeal to traditional jazz lovers as well as those who enjoy smooth jazz. I look forward to working it all out this summer!
Michael Brecker’s presence is still felt, particularly as Pilgrimage has been released. Although I await my own copy, preordered from Amazon.com, I anticipate a work that is both powerful and beautiful. My good friend and fellow saxophonist Dino Govoni had this to say,” This is the deepest writing of Michael’s career. Without a doubt, it is an emotional recording. Even in his weakest playing state he makes a complete emotional statement. He truly plays from the heart!” Below, there is a link to a beautiful video clip from what would be his final recording session. The clip ends with Michael walking out of the studio saying the very poignant words, “Bye you all. Thank you much.”
Only last week the city of Philadelphia and the broader saxophone community lost one of its own. Saxophonist, woodwind artist, composer, arranger and educator, William Zaccagni, “Billy Z” to many, died of heart failure. I had the pleasure of working under Bill in the University of the Arts Big Band in Philadelphia for a couple years. Later, we played a handful of shows together in Philly as well as Atlantic City.
Michael Brecker too started his life and career in Philadelphia. Early on, his saxophone teacher was Vince Trombetta. Another student of Mr. Trombetta was Bill Zaccagni. I recall Bill telling me how his lesson was after Mike’s! You can imagine what a burden that must have been. That story always made me laugh. Imagine…your lesson right after Mike Brecker…You can read about my personal feelings toward Bill on the endorsements page. It doesn’t say much but he was much more to many young saxophonists. God Bless you “Billy Z.”
If you have or know of a saxophone-related publication or recording you would like reviewed, feel free to contact Skip @ SaxShed. com to for submission.
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