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Courses/Workshops New course offering from The Sax Loft


I watched their Zoom hangout #3 yesterday and wanted to share my subjective impressions. First, let me report what was announced by them:
They're planning a course with three very gifted players (Jeff Coffin, Tia Fuller, & Kirk Whalum) and guests the likes of Gerald Albright, resources like exercises and lessons, etc. They said that they're thinking $30 a month would be the price. They also stated that there will be a short trial period where you will be able to look around to decide if it's for you. Finally, they expect to start the ball rolling in April (or was it May?). Let's say soon. If you want to know more from them, there's one page up:

The Sax Loft

My subjective comments:

The session was very well run, probably any glitches they experienced were in the first two, as this is number three. Very casual and cool, with an active text chat. Almost no one in the audience spoke. A guy, Jack, from Boston Music made a brief comment about the reeds they sell. I've never heard of Boston Music, but everyone seems to love them. My overall impression is quite positive, despite a few things that didn't speak to me, personally. Subjective.

The basic idea was for each of the three to talk about and show what they're working on. First was Tia Fuller. Tia showed an excerpt of a song she's working on, and talked about what her approach was in the solo. Before I say more, I will state that this was the most interesting moment of the hour. I'm not familiar with her name or work, but what she showed and spoke of was an approach to improvising around just three notes. Now, you know she can play fast, slow, bluesy, upside down and backwards, but in this moment, she did what she said and there was a definite vibe that spoke to me.

Jeff Coffin, another star and amazing player, talked about what he's doing: playing rhythm changes in 12 keys, using iReal Pro which can do each verse in a different key. If you know anything about me, you'll know I have no interest in such things. This and a few other things Jeff offered were basic saxophonic methods that I've heard about for decades. That's not a bad thing for people who are early in their musical journey. They had to have accessible things to show, not just advanced ideas. As I "warned" in the beginning, this is a subjective recap of what I experienced. Jeff played a classical-ish piece from a recording he's doing or did with a cellist. It was obviously high quality, but not at all my thing. I was admiring it, but not hearing it, and that's on my end, nothing to do with Jeff's playing or this piece.

Finally, the moment I was waiting for, Kirk Whalum, some of whose work I love, although I appreciate it all, did his exposition. He showed an exercise that James Moody taught him years back. My old bandmate, Red Holloway mentioned Moody many times as a great, great player he'd worked with. As exercises go, this was interesting, but not new to me. The concept is easy to state: take an interval, say a minor third. Play a note, then one a minor third up, Do the same going up in on a scale or other pattern. This is great stuff, and he said, when you start down at the end of the sequence, you keep the idea of the interval going up. In other words:

If you play C Eb, D F, E G, etc. at the top you play E G, D F, C Eb on the way down, rather than G E, F D, Eb C. Obviously you start low and go as far up as you can play confidently. If you can do it through altissimo, that's great, but not to be forced. Sage advice, indeed. Oh, and, do this in every key, with different intervals. >:)

I'll be interested in looking inside the site when it opens, because it sounds promising. At the end of the show and tell stuff, they explained about what I said first, expected pricing, resources, etc, but also underlined their interest in community. What they said felt genuine, they want to unite saxophone players of the world within their Sax Loft effort.

Would I sign up for it? It will depend on how customised the relationship can become. If it's a store of exercises, theory, advice and interviews, I think there's more than enough of that to go around, and a lot of it is free. What kind of back and forth can there be? I'm guessing master classes are a part of the plan, and maybe some kind of remote jamming via recordings?

I do recommend you sign up on the mailing list, which is all there is on that site right now, and jump on the next session if there is one before they open for business. They may or may not have an approach to learning that will work for you.

If anyone else knows anything about The Sax Loft, feel free to share your thoughts.

PS They held the session at a European and UK-friendly hour! That's a new one, because usually these things from California happen at 3AM here.
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