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Eric Marienthal Top 40 ballad

randulo

Playing saxophone 21 months - 2.4% of my life
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We all know Eric's a great player. We often dismiss these commercial efforts as lowering to the public's level. The Latin Lover cover photo doesn't help! This tune is on the program of studies at AW and I gave it a glance just to see.

Sure enough, it's very hard to play mostly eight and quarter notes at a slow tempo and sound good!

This tune is a good study in sound, tone and the right mix of vibrato, bends, etc (IMO).
View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9_FfPqhZtXA
 
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randulo

randulo

Playing saxophone 21 months - 2.4% of my life
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Agreed. I hear him with no track or effects in the lessons. I can play the first 11 measures of this tune flawlessly already.
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BigMartin

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I'm sure it's excellent playing, but I couldn't listen to it. I was reaching for the sick bucket after the 1st bar of the piano intro. It's the kind of thing that makes me glad I'm not a professional musician, so I don't have to spend my days doing that in order to eat. I know it's unfashionable to think like that these days but there it is.
 
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randulo

randulo

Playing saxophone 21 months - 2.4% of my life
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I'm sure it's excellent playing, but I couldn't listen to it. I was reaching for the sick bucket after the 1st bar of the piano intro. It's the kind of thing that makes me glad I'm not a professional musician, so I don't have to spend my days doing that in order to eat. I know it's unfashionable to think like that these days but there it is.
I do not mean this in any way to denigrate your opinion or your taste. My wife finds this boring, yet she likes Imagine. I'm not glued to this kind of piece for entertainment. However...
As someone who wants to play saxophone, here is why I posted this and why I am listening to it. By the way, there are a lot of YouTubes of pop songs like this done by guys in black sport coats who are decent players, but they are thousands of miles from this kind of nuanced level or mastery of the instrument.

I listened to the first expression of the melody, after listening to the vocal version.
The first phrase has three notes. There are in those three notes, at least ten important things regarding starting, maintaining, ending, passing between notes, grace notes, dynamics, bends, turns and vibrato.

I'm recording myself and I play it through to the piano solo. That's about a minute and a half of exercise. The melody is not only repetitive within each verse, but the verses are played more times than usual before the bridge, too! This is a very, very hard tune to play well. Yet, as a relative beginner (I will keep that tag until I reach two years of playing) I am positive, positive that learning to play these lines will do more for my skills, especially control, than anything else I've ever played. It definitely gives me more pleasure than the hundreds of exercises on Eric's program, too :)
 

BigMartin

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I do not mean this in any way to denigrate your opinion or your taste. My wife finds this boring, yet she likes Imagine.
I'm not a fan of either. My taste is my taste. I'm happy with it and I don't expect anyone else to fall in with it. (though I am a little disappointed sometimes ;) ). It wasn't always so, but I'm too old now to try and like things because I think I ought to. That's not to say I won't try new things or revisit old ones, though.
By the way, there are a lot of YouTubes of pop songs like this done by guys in black sport coats who are decent players, but they are thousands of miles from this kind of nuanced level or mastery of the instrument.
I can easily believe that!
The first phrase has three notes. There are in those three notes, at least ten important things regarding starting, maintaining, ending, passing between notes, grace notes, dynamics, bends, turns and vibrato
I understand the importance of those things more and more as I progress in my studies. Especialy the starting of notes, which I'm having to work hard on.
This is a very, very hard tune to play well.
They all are. And the more I learn, the harder they get, as my definition of "well" becomes more demanding. But if I'm going to spend tens of hours learning a tune, it had better be one I like. Life's too short
for the other kind.
 
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randulo

randulo

Playing saxophone 21 months - 2.4% of my life
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But if I'm going to spend tens of hours learning a tune, it had better be one I like. Life's too short for the other kind.
You wouldn't need tens of hours to play those three notes better than you do now (I assume), but I get it.
True, I usually learn songs I like, but I do play songs like this one, that are challenging, yet can be very simply played. I've seen two online sax courses that start with Danny Boy and Amazing Grace the first year. I could live a long time before I'd want to hear Danny Boy again, but I did play two versions of it in BOTM :) Amazing Grace or Swing Low are cool if you can put the soul into them.
 
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randulo

randulo

Playing saxophone 21 months - 2.4% of my life
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I believe this is the original version sung by Oleta Adams. Comparing it with the instrumental, the various embellishments make sense. The words also help get the emotion, and isn't that what music is about? I think so, anyway. Playing this is a huge challenge because it's slow and soulful.

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QLyfAWK3Fiw
 

David Roach

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I'm sure it's excellent playing, but I couldn't listen to it. I was reaching for the sick bucket after the 1st bar of the piano intro. It's the kind of thing that makes me glad I'm not a professional musician, so I don't have to spend my days doing that in order to eat. I know it's unfashionable to think like that these days but there it is.
Hahahaha! As a professional musician you might regularly be asked to play MUCH worse music. I know I was. At least this is in tune, in time and musically played. If it isn't to one's taste that's a different matter - and it isn't particularly to mine, although I highly rate Eric Marienthal technically - he's done better things.
 
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randulo

randulo

Playing saxophone 21 months - 2.4% of my life
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My point is, regardless of subjective taste in music, the playing is exemplary. Especially if you listen to the vocal version, performed with a lot of feeling and vocal chops, and compare the two. Considering how often all these sax nuances are overused (by people like me, for example!), I think this is an important lesson, and probably why Eric includes the tune in his program. For anyone who really can't stand this, I do recommend you find another equal challenge as slow and simple as this one and study the "saxophonic potential". It's my belief that this kind of performance encapsulates at least ten years worth of expertise and taste. You could do worse than to learn and record a Ballad Of The Month, for example.

"But I could be wrong" (what is that country song with that line?)
 
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randulo

randulo

Playing saxophone 21 months - 2.4% of my life
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Hahahaha! As a professional musician you might regularly be asked to play MUCH worse music. I know I was.
We want names! What was the worst thing you were forced to play? I'm now trying to think of the worst thing I ever had to play. It might have been a commercial for the Milk Foundation of America in 1968. Wah-wah pedal, C C C C F F G G "Every.... body needs milk"
 
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spike

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We want names! What was the worst thing you were forced to play?
Once played a Gypsy wedding - 3 day gig - 12 hours a day - 45 minute sets - Years ago - approx. 1977
We were requested to play Besame Mucho at least once an hour sometimes for what seemed like hours on end.
No sweat - it's great little number but after hours on end for three days you don't want to play it ever again.
You don't even want to hear it again. Don't ever talk to me about Be Sammy Machos, don't mention it, don't even think about it.
Louis Prima and Sam Butera do a great version, but after three days of Mucho Besame that's as mucho as I need for my lifetime thankyou very much.
 

David Roach

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We want names! What was the worst thing you were forced to play? I'm now trying to think of the worst thing I ever had to play. It might have been a commercial for the Milk Foundation of America in 1968. Wah-wah pedal, C C C C F F G G "Every.... body needs milk"
I once had to play the 'Birdie Song' at the Dorchester Hotel. To make matters worse, it was the same gig on which we were backing Dionne Warwick, a childhood hero of mine. (Ms. Warwick was not on stage for the 'Birdie Song', in fact not even in the building, I expect).

The second, or maybe comparably, worse thing I have had to do was to stand on stage in a large night club in Southend in 1985 and find out - as I was performing - that the DJ was playing my tracks with a vari-speed on his turntable, at a speed which made the track about a 1/4 tone sharp. There was nothing I could do but stop playing and ask him to turn it back to the right speed. I wan't invited back.

And perhaps the biggest let down was to be booked to play for a pre-eminent British Jazz artist, for which I was very excited, only to arrive at the studio and have to play the 'Mexican Hat Dance' for a jingle. That was more disappointing than painful and required a swift adjustment of attitude :rofl:.

But I expect these experiences pale into insignificance compared to what other players have had to put up with.
Cue Pete & Dud "What's the worst job you ever had"?
 
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