Oops - my sax lesson was the night before I headed to India for 10 days... my sax has been in the boot all that time during the hottest spell of weather in recent years... I dread to think what I'll find when I get back home to check it. Ironically my teacher was going to take it to Hansons for me whilst I was away, so that wouldn't have happened. I don't usually do that... I'll report in later...
I think we need a picture of the sax at the point when you open the boot! If it's been destroyed, you should also follow the trend of internet 'shaming' by posing for a selfie with a cardboard notice around your neck which announces to the world that you left your sax in the boot of your car under 1976 heat conditions whilst you jaunted off to India to play in the local elevators!
Having a go at trying to 'unstick' my G# key. I know they are always an issue on saxes, but mine seems to be a little more extreme than most in that it re-sticks. Spoke to tech at Hansons, so trying this first. If no improvement, it will be a trip to Marsden, which is a bit of a nuisance as that is a whole day off work... let's see...
OK, thought I would write some review comments of Sunday's gig at the RNCM where I went with a phalanx of Café members (and as it turned out wind band members too) to hear the Big Phat Band.
First of all, this is not a band I know so I went in 'cold' as it were. The RNCM concert hall we were in is not large - it's a theatre style layout and capacity of around 600 I suspect.
Stunning virtuosity and technical capability
I don't understand why big bands, especially in smallish venues, are miked up and amplified (except guitars and maybe soloists). They weren't when they were dance bands
This places you at the mercy of the sound engineers...
From where I was seated (about 2/3 back) the sound was dominated by the 4 trumpets - the trombones and saxes seemed moderately recessive, which is nonsense
A lot of the arrangements (inevitable given the origins of the band) had a very 80s feel which meant a lot of 'stab' brass chords. Given the dominant trumpet sound, this practically hammered you into the back wall of the auditorium
When the trumpets were less dominant, such as in the arrangement of the Gershwin Rhapsody in Blue, it was much better
Generally second part was better than first (e.g. the homage to Carl Stalling)
On the basis of what heard, I wouldn't rush to hear them again... but some other feedback I heard tonight at band from people there on Sunday and at the second performance on Monday...
Someone who was sat much nearer the front (and therefore below the trumpet line) on the Sunday said the balance was much better. If so, this points to poor sound engineering and a failure to assess the sound in different parts of the auditorium. Again why does a big band need amplifying?
Someone who was there on Monday said the trumpets were not very audible/prominent. This points to me to responding to complaints about Sunday...
I play in an amateur big band. The rhythm section do have to be amplified - keyboard and bass require it. I once asked the drummer why he needed to be amplified, and he had a very convincing reason but I have forgotten it. I think it was about clarity rather than volume. And the singer needs to be amplified. But I have never understood why the wind instruments need amplification in a small hall when we are playing 50's big band music. And the balance is usually poor. The worst balance I have encountered was done by a professional sound engineer.
I spoke to my sound engineer freind about why the sound on Sunday was such a mess. He said that the feedback that he people near the front had a more balanced sound means that they were getting most of their sound direct and not from the PA. He also agreed with the observation that drum kit, bass, keyboard, guitar and spot solos need to be miked up but the brass and saxes just need a little to capture 'ambience' but not much more.
He also thinks that the reason for the uneveness is that the sound engineer should have 'swept' the room. This involves a tone generator and playing pink noise and white noise and measuring the response around the room. This identifies dead spots, hot spots, standing waves etc which can then be compensated for and so ensure an even distirbution of sound.