Hello my fellow sax-surfers and welcome to SaxShed.com and my latest blog. As usual, it has been too long since the last installment. Life gets in the way of the internet sometimes. :-)
Without further delay, let me tell you what news is news. Theo Wanne has released his fourth large chamber mouthpiece DURGA. This thing just SCREAMS! This piece works very well for me and gives that beefy tenor sound many of us seek out. It seems best suited for louder, more intense playing but don’t be fooled. DURGA is a masterful piece of eye and ear candy that can be tamed to play in more sensitive situations as well. Read more about the DURGA and hear some various clips here .
Next up is saxophonist and educator Fred Lipsius. Many of you may know Fred as the original sax player with Blood, Sweat and Tears. Others know Professor Lipsius from Berklee College of Music in Boston. However you know Fred, it is likely you are not familiar with his digital artwork. Recently I was made aware of his new website fredlipsiusart.com . There are some fantastic images displayed on the site. Words can not explain the imagery so do yourself a favor and visit here .
Drummer and Rowan University faculty member Jim Miller has released a compilation CD aptly titled Miller Time. Saxophonists and Philadelphia’s own Ron Kerber, Ben Schachter, Chris Farr and Denis Diblasio are a few of the talented musicians who contribute to this project. Read more here .
Equipment and G.A.S. (Gear Acquisition Syndrome) can easily sidetrack any musician. What I mean to say is that time spent experimenting with different equipment is time taken away from routine practice. All that said, the distraction sometimes comes as a welcome diversion from a mundane practice routine. In recent years I have had the opportunity to try out many new saxophone and woodwind products with varying degrees of success.
One very promising new product line is the Virtuoso line of saxophones by R.S. Berkley. Recently at the NJMEA Annual Convention in E. Brunswick, NJ, I had the opportunity to see and play the Virtuoso saxophones. Thanks go to Les Silver of R.S. Berkley for his hospitality at their booth. Tim Ries of the Rolling Stones and Maria Schneider Big Band is now their prime endorser. Tim was at the booth doing a live demonstration later in the day which I was not able to attend. L I look forward to offering a more comprehensive review of the horns offered in Gold Plating, Matte, Silver, Black and Gold Lacquer finishes.
Under “Tools in the Shed” readers can find some new posts on transposition and other topics. The tools have been a popular destination on SaxShed.com and many of you have asked about transposition and other pressing saxophone topics.
New transcriptions continue to be written and samples posted. There are at least three new samples posted, featuring Steve Cole and Nelson Rangell this month. The transcription service is advertised but not the completed transcriptions themselves. People interested in the complete transcriptions should contact Skip at SaxShed.com.
The last note here has nothing to do with saxophone but my own indulgences – primarily skiing, woodworking and connecting with old friends.
This Winter my wife, kids and I spent a weekend skiing in the Poconos. It was the kids’ first time and my first in 22 years! Eight hours of skiing later I found myself still on my feet. Everyone said it was just like riding a bike. Sure was. Now I’ve got the ski bug again!
Woodworking remains my only distraction from teaching, playing and practicing saxophone. Returning to the music studio, just behind my garage shop, feels fresh every time. It’s great to have a second, creative outlet just as Fred Lipsius found in digital art.
With the popularity of reunion sites, networking and social sites it becomes increasingly easier to find old friends – or for them to find you! Happily, I have once again connected with many old pals in cyberspace. High school, college, road and musician friends and acquaintances are now plentiful online. Thank you Cyberspace!
Stay well and play well.