"The potential for the saxophone is unlimited." - Steve Lacy



Friday, May 13, 2011

Jane Bunnett Plays Monk

Here's a clip of soprano saxophonist Jane Bunnett doing a nice rendition of Thelonious Monk's "Epistrophy," with her band at Gallery 345, located in Tornoto,Canada.

Jane is probably best known for her work with Jane Bunnett & the Spirit of Havana. But as we can hear in this clip she's equally great in a conventional jazz format--and I use the word "conventional" very loosely.

Being someone who's heavily into the solo thing, it's also a treat to hear her short, unaccompanied intro. With Jane having studied with Lacy, playing solo Monk on soprano is almost inevitable.

Nice work!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Fun With Overtones

I often recommend the book Top-Tones for the Saxophone: Four-Octave Range by Siguard Rascher, when I talk to saxophonists looking to gain more sound flexibility--especially in the altissimo register.

However, as great as it is, it can be a little dry as far as melodic content--which could present a challenge to the less disciplined student.

Below is "Revielle," a bugle call I like to practice when I want to have a nice overtone workout that's also interesting to listen to. It's written in two keys. The first is in Bb major, which also means that the entire piece should be played using the low Bb fingering. The second in B major, which means that it should be played using only the low B fingering.

This is a fun and effective way of working on breath support, oral cavity manipulation (speeding up and slowing down the air flow) and embouchure control (flexibility and muscles).

Let me know how you like it, I'll gladly send you more.


Soprano Saxophone Jokes!

Here are a few of my favorite soprano saxophone jokes. And I think Bill likes them too!

A soprano player goes up to a jazz critic and says, "Hey, did you review my last CD?
The jazz critic says,"Yes, I sure hope so." Ouch!



Q; What is the range of the soprano sax"
A: The world record is about 57 yards.

Q. If you threw a Yamaha soprano and Selmer soprano off the top the Empire State Building, which one would hit the ground first?
A. Who cares!

Q; What's difference between a Kenny cassette and a Kenny G CD?
A: The cassette makes a crunchy sound when you step on it.

Q: What is the difference between a lawnmower and a soprano sax?
A: You can tune the lawnmower and the owner's neighbors don't mind if you don't return the soprano sax when you borrow it.

Q: What is the difference between Kenny G and a machine gun?
A: The machine gun repeats only 10 times per second.

Q: What is the difference between a soprano saxophone and a trampoline?
A: You take your shoes off to jump on a trampoline.

Q: How many in-tune soprano sax players can you fit into a phone booth?
A: All of them.

Q: How do you get two soprano sax players to play in perfect unison?
A: Shoot one.

Q: Why do soprano sax players drive around with their sax cases in their back windows?
A: For the handicapped parking.

Q: If you were out in the woods, who would you trust for directions, an in-tune soprano sax player, an out-of-tune soprano sax player, or Santa Claus?
A: The out-of-tune soprano sax player! You were hallucinating the other two.

Q: What's the definition of a gentleman?
A: One who knows how to play the soprano saxophone, but doesn't!

Q: How many soprano sax players does it take to change a light bulb?
A: Sixty. One to change the bulb and fifty-nine to talk about how much better Steve Lacy would have done it.

Q: What do you call 1,000 soprano saxophonists at the bottom of the bay?
A: A good start.

Q; What's the difference between a soprano saxophonist and a vacuum cleaner?
A: A vacuum cleaner doesn't suck until you plug it in.

Q: What is the difference between a soprano sax and an onion?
A: Nobody cries when you chop a soprano sax into little pieces.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Improve Your Sound While Lying Down Resting

Is it possible to work on your sound while lying down resting? Believe it or not, yes!

While lying on our backs, we naturally breath from the diaphragm, or use low breathing, as it's sometimes called. When teaching students to breath properly, I have them lie on the floor or a table to observe the difference between the high breathing (from the chest), which the body natural does while we're standing, and the low breathing (from the diaphragm), which the body naturally does when we're lying on our backs.

And if you need a visual picture: When high breathing, you'll see the chest rise; when low breathing, the abdomen rises.

The benefit from low breathing is that enables you to store more air, helping you to get that big, warm tone.

In the beginning, I suggest doing this a few times, right before you practice to observe the muscle movement. After a while, it will start to feel natural.

So the next time someone tells you to get out of bed and stop being so lazy, just tell them you're working on your sound!

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