I’d like to start by telling of a wonderful visit I recently had in Boston over the holiday weekend. What resulted was a short film featuring Emilio Lyons “The Sax Doctor” of Rayburn Music in Boston, Ma. Like I have for 30 years, I stopped by Rayburn’s to see Emilio and have him adjust my horns. We talked over coffee and visited for a couple hours one Saturday morning. Much to my surprise, Emilio let me catch him on my camera phone explaining how to check a horn out in between visits to the shop. It is a small window into Emilio’s world and a great opportunity to see him at his bench around what he loves – saxophones.

Watch the video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z2pJqrQDJ1U

We spent a couple days in the city and on the second trip into Boston, I bumped into saxophonist Fred Lipsius. Many of you may now Fred as the original sax player with Blood, Sweat and Tears. Others may know Fred’s digital artwork or his teaching at Berklee College of Music. Whatever the case, it was nice to bump into Fred while we both rode the “T” into town. My son was nice enough to snap a picture.


With this update, you will find some new LIVE webcam lesson options. I’m excited to offer more personal instruction via Lessons by “E”Mail. While at Rayburn’s I bumped into smooth jazz saxophonist and Berklee teacher, Walter Beasley. He and I went to Berklee together many years ago and it was good to see him again. He had lots to say about webcam lessons as well as teaching in general.

In addition to announcing the new lesson format, transcriptions and reviews I’d like to tell of a wonderful tribute that took place in Philadelphia recently.

Bill Zaccagni, master saxophonist, woodwind player, writer, arranger and educator was honored in a memorial concert on Monday, March 30, 2009. The evening honoring this longtime professor at The University of the Arts featured many of Philadelphia’s finest musicians who were associated with “Billy Z.” Billy had a long and illustrious career in Philadelphia and was literally bigger than life. If you worked in Philly you knew Billy Z.

Ron Kerber, Larry McKenna, Michael Pedicin, Chris Farr, Marshall Taylor and many other notable Philadelphian saxophonists were on hand to honor Bill and play his music. Headliner Bobby Rydell, faculty and friend orchestras as well as five alumni bands performed Bill’s music. I was honored and humbled to be among the many who came out to play in Bill’s memory. The night was unbelievable. There was endless saxophone (and non-saxophone) talent, much great music and unparalleled camaraderie among those in attendance.  The only thing that outshined the musicianship displayed during the evening was the “hang” itself.

Just hot off the press: I am in the process of setting up a SaxShed.com EXCLUSIVE interview with “Blue” Lou Marini of Saturday Night Live and Blues Brothers fame! This one will be found only on SaxShed.com so keep your eye out for it in the coming weeks and months.

For years I had offered Lessons by Mail, which worked well for many students not within driving distance to my teaching studio. Now, with the prevalence of high-speed internet connections, the whole process is sped up by Lessons by Email and Lessons by ShedCam. Please contact me at Skip@SaxShed.com for more info.  You can also check SaxShed.com in the near future for detailed information and pricing on the new LBE (Lessons by Email) and LBSC (Lessons by SaxCam).

Darren Rahn and Dominic Amato have released new recordings on the nuGroove Recording label. Rahn’s Talk of the Town and Amato’s Fresh from the Groove both offer some fresh new sounds in the smooth jazz idiom. You can read more in the reviews section .

I have also now provided a little transcription a friend of mine asked me about recently. Richard Elliot played this bebop lick, which was captured, on one of his live videos on Youtube. You can see the video here:

It’s the coolest little bebop lick and very easy on the fingers. This one is worth working out in all keys. Here it is in 12 keys. I’ve listed it in both “Tools in the Shed” and the “Transcription” sections since it seems to apply to both categories. Thanks to Rich Godoy of Denton, Texas for bringing this to my attention.

That’s all the news to tell for now in yet another installment of the SaxShed.com blog.

Please don’t hesitate to let me know what information you would like to see on SaxShed.com. This site is for YOU!

Skip Spratt