Taming The Saxophone

Be Afraid!

randulo

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I have to say, I was really excited to go "jam" at my friend's restaurant where there are always musicians coming and going. What I found out at the last minute was that he wasn't there and none of the musicians I know were there. Was some scary saxophonist going to show up and kill my nerve? What happened was that I guy I've seen there showed up and played and and sang. He did a couple of Bob Marley tunes and "Just the Two of Us", stuff like that. I'm the old guy on the left. I didn't disgrace myself too badly.
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For a while there was no bass player so I gabbed the upright bass, which happens to be mine on loan to my friend. It all went great because I was able to play all the stuff by ear on soprano, even though I do,'t know what key I'm in because I'm used to alto. I brought the curved soprano is so much easier to travel with. I worked out a little before leaving, but keys are confusing. Fortunately, the guitar player doesn't know what key he's in, so I had to look and listen.
But here's what's funny and one of the reasons I'm posting this for you. As I grabbed the bass a few times, I didn't notice that I totally broke the reed on the soprano, it was badly damaged yet I was still playing on it. Some kind of magic! It felt a little weak, but it still played! Take a look.
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Anyway, I realize now, that I have to go there more often and play with all these people. It was a great time and people loved it. It's an attraction of the restaurant. Across the street is the restaurant where one of the owners beat his girlfriend, Marie Trintignant, to death. I mentioned this to someone a while ago. A lot fo the bands come across to jam between sets.
We ate free.
 
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Jeanette

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Pleased to hear you had a great evening.

I remember trying mouthpieces in woodwind exchange once and they mentioned a pro, can't recall who now that played with chewed up reeds.

Jx
 
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randulo

randulo

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I would have thumbed up ....were it not for the grisly bit of info at the end.....
I think I did. The light is dim in those places, so at first, I didn't feel it. Then I put my thumb on it and felt that it was folded as you see. It kept working, but unfortunately, did NOT get me the Earl Bostic growl :) I guess the reed was able to vibrate when I ran my thumb over it, so year, must be instinct!
 
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randulo

randulo

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By the way, I was a little shaken when the distinguished guy on the right in the photo came in with his tenor case, but he hasn't been playing long either, so it wasn't as scary as I thought. Since it's in no way a jazz jam, I won't be getting a cymbal in my face. In fact, there's no drum set, only a cajon, so that's a plus, too, except that for some reason, every drunk thinks they can play it :mad:. We should start a post about jamming, sitting in and such. I'm sure there are stories out there?
 

Alice

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I think I did. The light is dim in those places, so at first, I didn't feel it. Then I put my thumb on it and felt that it was folded as you see. It kept working, but unfortunately, did NOT get me the Earl Bostic growl :) I guess the reed was able to vibrate when I ran my thumb over it, so year, must be instinct!
I think Jaye is referring to the grisly murder, not the reed.... and I have to admit that I was uncomfortable rating “like” because of that.... so.. just so you know... my rating is for everything else you said and especially for you enjoying the jam but not including that last piece of information which is too tragic for words....
 
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randulo

randulo

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Oh, I didn't need to mention that, but since we talked about it before. The grisly bit was the end of the reed :) Also, it was broken, but got worse when I put the instrument away, the end wasn't uneven like that, just broken. I righted it sort of and it played.

This has been mentioned before, NEVER do stuff with the instrument hanging on your neck without a mouthpiece cover! It's bound to hit something or get caught on a sweater. I'm sure the damage happened when I grabbed the bass, but the "group" sounded better with bass.
 

Alice

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Sorry.... it’s Sunday morning and I’ve only had one cup of coffee so far.... Forgive me @randulo , I was imagining you as Leslie Nielson in a mariachi band, diligently playing through a scene of unbridled massacre directed by Quentin Tarantino, albeit with a busted reed.
Yes, the “grisly bit” was quite obviously the reed.... Ouch! That is a nasty looking reed.
 

Alice

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I thought the grisly bit referred to the free meal as that was at the end.
Well they do say there’s no such thing as a “free meal” don’t they? Whoever “they” are, the voice of authority somewhere at the top of a pyramid.
 
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randulo

randulo

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It's true there's nothing free - and we'll all die some day. Meanwhile, if we're nice to people, a kind of karma is produced, not the philosophical or religious thing, but an openness to receive the bountiful treasures of the cosmos, including friends. A friend has been called "a gift you give yourself".

How's that for Sunday morning?

I'm working on the tune "Nancy with the Laughing Face". Made famous by Sinatra, there's a funny story about it. The lyrics are credited to Phil Silvers, a comedian and Sgt. Bilko on 1960's American TV. The story goes,

"In 1979, I was working with songwriter Jimmy Van Heusen on a TV special with Frank Sinatra and Bob Hope that was never produced. Jimmy told me that one day (circa 1942) he and his lyricist Johnny Burke were working at 20th Century-Fox composing for a film. While Burke was out of their writer's bungalow, Phil Silvers, the comedian, a friend to both, entered and suggested to Jimmy that they write a song for Johnny's wife, Bessie, who was soon to celebrate a birthday. Silvers provided the lyrics, later revised by Van Heusen and Burke. At the party they sang "Bessie... with the laughing face" It was such a hit that they used it at other female birthday events.

When they sang it as "Nancy... with the laughing face" at little Nancy Sinatra's birthday party, Frank broke down and cried thinking that it was written specially for his daughter - the trio wisely didn't correct him. Jimmy assigned his royalties to Nancy after Frank recorded it for Columbia."

That's from Nancy (With the Laughing Face) by Frank Sinatra - Songfacts a very useful site!


There are two wonderful versions of this tune:

Coltrane on tenor in F

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vw6h1sIWnXw


and Cannonball on alto in Eb with Bill Evans on piano

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6fp6kmyKWfg


Which do you prefer? I'd love to know, and why?
 
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randulo

randulo

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I admire the Cannonball version, it is great saxophone playing AND there is Bill Evans. But Trane is my favorite, in fact that whole album is probably my favorite jazz album.
 

GCinCT

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Very tough call for me. I love both of them and Cannonball is one of the alto players I try to emulate. But I also have that Trane album and Trane on a ballad is so haunting and soulful. So, it's John Coltrane by a nose.
 
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randulo

randulo

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Yeah, you can't really say one is better, only what you like. I've lived with the Trane version for decades and just heard the other. Gotta love Bill Evans, though, and like I said, Cannonball is one of the best, it's an impeccable performance he gives on that.
 

saxyjt

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I must say that I'm really charmed by Coltrane's version of it. There is something about it. An emotional simplicity... Cannonball Aderley's version is excellent and I'd love to close to it, but Coltrane still wins for me.

Then you have a kind of old fashioned take from Ben Webster:


or the Desmondesque, like a dry Martini approach...


But it's harder to reedch. :oops:

As an alto player, you can't ignore that last one, can you?
 
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randulo

randulo

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I'll check it tomorrow, but I did see at least one alto version that was totally competent, but left me indifferent. I don't want to name it. It's a funny thing about the charm of an interpretation, and Coltrane sure had a sound and a charm.
 
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