InnerViews podcasts @ Jazzcorner.com

"JazzCorner.com is the largest portal for the official websites of hundreds of jazz musicians and organizations. New features on JazzCorner include the jazz video share where you can upload and share jazz and blues videos, JazzCorner Jukebox, surf the net with Jazz always on, submit your latest jazz news, and check out what's hot at JazzCorner's Speakeasy, the busiest bulletin board for jazz. Be the first to know where Jazz artists are performing in the gigs section, and be sure to listen to the podcasts with established and up and coming jazz musicians in the Innerviews section."

Jazz Corner has really put together some great Jazz programming for it's InnerViews podcasts.
Here are some of the shows

Gerald Wilson - Still Swingin' at 89
Jon Faddis - Hitting Those High Notes
Oscar Castro-Neves - Bossa to BeBop, Film to Fusion
Woody Shaw - Musician of the Highest Calibre
Keith Jarrett - Talks About The Carnegie Hall Concert
Tomasz Stanko - Creative Force From Krakow
Dave Holland - From Ukulele to Stardom
Gonzalo Rubalcaba - New Voyages
Stefon Harris - Bringing New Sounds to Jazz
Matt Wilson - Drummer for All Ages
Why Can't U.S. Music Fans Hear Cuban Musicians Live?
Horace Silver - Perhaps one of America's Greatest Composers
Clark Terry - A Full Life Of Jazz

For all the podcasts check out the Jazz Corner InnerViews site.


Cookoo's nest- talks with Bob Mover

I was talking to Bob Mover the other evening about what was happening to Jazz education these days. Bob had just played a senior recital at the New School with one of his private students. He played 'I Remember You' with the student group. The pianist kept playing the wrong change over and over again, no matter how clear Bob was while blowing over it. "He just thought he knew the tune!", said Bob. Younger players may learn a tune from the Real Book and that's that, they don't listen to a bunch of different versions or learn the word anymore. Mover said that the rest of the recital nothing else was in 4/4, "That way you can disguise that fact that you can't swing", Bob quipped. Mover finally was driven out of the recital hall by all of the odd-time signatures. After the recital Bob went to dinner with some of the students, include a few tenor players. He asked them if they had ever listened to Johnny Griffin, they said they had only heard that one record he did with Monk (Live at the Five Spot). Bob said," What about the stuff with Lockjaw? What about the other 30 years of recordings?!". All these kids were listening to were young players like Josh Redman, Chris Potter, Mark Turner and Seamus Blake. Maybe they had also checked out a little Warne Marsh because Turner was so influenced by him (Bob said about Mark, "He plays so much altissimo, why doesn't he just buy an alto?"). You now have tons of these young players being turned out into the world, sounding like just a few young NYC players.

Who wants to hear a bunch of super technical saxophonists who sound like they're reading out of the Slonimsky book and never learned to swing their 8th notes?!

Now let me say that I think Mark Turner is a fabulous player and a great cat. I don't think that Mark would even think it was a good idea that young players tried to sound just like him and never bothered to learn the 20th century body of Jazz recordings that the true masters created.

Hey, it's called swing, and it's what made American Jazz different than (and in my mind better) continental Jazz.

Bob told me that he had just proposed a course to the New School in NYC, since he is already on the private teaching roster. He was trying to sell a new course that dealt with Jazz standards to the head of the Jazz department. He was told that the New School isn't focusing on 20th century music anymore. Who needs to learn standards if all you play are odd-time signatured originals?! I was shocked," They're not even teaching Jazz anymore, they're just teaching the kids exactly what they're already into!".

Mover replied," That's right, the inmates are running the asylum!".


Vow of the Awakened Mind- from Jazz to Buddhism

The following vow comes from Darren Littlejohn's Black Samba Blog, which deals with the topics of Buddhism and recovery. Darren was the force behind the Portland Jazz Jams web site, which hosted a lot of good original Jazz content. Darren produced a lot of podshows as well as TV programs before he decided to devote more time to his Buddhist practice. He was responsible for talking me into creating this blog almost two years ago.

the Bodhisattva refuge vow (Vow of the Awakened Mind)

With the wish to free all beings
I shall always go for refuge

to Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha,
Until I reach full enlightenment.

Inspired by wisdom and compassion,
Today, in the Buddha's presence,
I generate the mind of full awakening

For the benefit of all sentient beings.

As long as space remains

As long as sentient beings remain

Until then may I too remain

And dispel the miseries of the world.

-His Holiness the Dalai Lama


Personal rant about the state of Jazz

Should today's young music students be educated differently than they were 20 years ago? It seems like the general music curriculum really hasn't changed that much since I was in music school almost twenty years ago. The music industry has gone though massive upheaval yet colleges are still preparing students for music careers the same way they did in previous decades. A few months ago My buddy Tomas asked me , "Do you feel guilty preparing your students for a life of poverty?". I laughed nervously in response to his question, there was some amount of truth to what he was saying. Tomas has long since taken a white collar job out of the music industry, something I haven't yet done. Maybe I should be teaching my students how to marry a professional wife, how to talk your wife out of kids or how to flip houses; something that would actually allow them to play music. Three or four decades ago there were still a ton of good road gigs and Jazz clubs lined the streets of most major cities. Las Vegas used full live bands and people were excited about going out to hear live music instead of DJs. You could pay your rent in NYC with a single day's work, work four days and you could spent the rest of the month playing loft sessions. Everything is different now. There are fewer venues and consequently fewer gigs, no one is making much money from CD sales anymore, Europeans and Asian seem to appreciate Jazz more than most Americans and live music has lost it's place to DVD movies and microwaved popcorn.

How should we be preparing the next generation of musicians in this new environment? Will they be financially crushed under the weight of student loans with have no gigs to support themselves? Aren't music schools hurting students and working professionals alike by not being sensitive to the job market in the music industry?

I tend to want to recommend to my students that if they want to play Jazz they should stay in school and get a doctorate. That way they will actually be able to get a good teaching gig and still have time to play music. A bachelor's degree in music isn't worth the paper it's printed on.

When I went off to Berklee my idea of the pinnacle success was being picked up by someone like Art Blakey or Cedar Walton before graduation. For me that was making it.

Is it even ethical that music schools continue to spew out more and more Jazz performance graduates even though every year there are fewer and fewer gigs?

It may just be a local trend but when I moved to Portland, Oregon before the crash of 2000 it seemed like it was a 'little New York'. There were eight or nine full time Jazz clubs within walking distance of each other in the downtown area. I had found the hidden Jazz Mecca of the West Coast. When I moved to town Rob Scheps made me promise not to tell all the guys in NYC how good things were out here, he was dead serious. Within seven years that little NYC is now like a little Fresno. Every year we lose more and more established clubs, last month alone we lost two important Jazz venues. It's really made me rethink my future in this town and in this country.

I know I won't be happy if all I do is teach. I need to play good music with good musicians for good audiences or I start to lose my will to live. I start getting cranky like a dry drunk.

Europe is looking more and more appealing to me. This June I'll be back in Spain, Italy and Turkey to play music. Young people actually pack Jazz clubs there, AND THEY EVEN LISTEN?!?! Incredible!!!!

Eastern Europeans are increasingly becoming more sophisticated and avid Jazz listeners- Berlin, Russian, Poland, the Czech Republic, even Estonia is better than most cities here in the U.S., the birthplace of Jazz. I just received an invitation to come play at a new Jazz venue in Moscow. They have a beautiful large new club and are willing to cover airfare, and all expenses on top of payment for the gig. They have a strong PR department and an excellent house grand piano. I can't imagine a club on the West Coast offering so much to the artist. Even the Village Vanguard pays pretty lousy!

I was also contacted by a booker of a major Jazz festival in Portugal last week who is interested in book my group, and we don't even have a major record contract! That just wouldn't happen here.

If things keep up like this I may soon be posting from the Estonia. I'll be teaching my private students internet marketing as well as Jazz saxophone.

I don't usually use this forum to unleash my personal diatribes. I try to keep my content educational or at least entertaining. I just couldn't help myself and I think it needed to be said. My apologies.....


Dave Guardala-mouthpiece maker to scam artist...

Thanks to Kuba for this most interesting link to Greg Vail's site warning about Dave Gaurdala's many scams. I had heard rumours about this but had never really gotten the whole story. Seems Dave has fled the country and is running various cons on saxophonists around the world. Dave even sold the rights to make mouthpieces under his name to a bunch of different people for fifteen thousand dollars a pop. He also promises large shipments of vintage horns that never arrive. Greg Vail, a fairly well know recording artist, was taken for over $20k by Dave. I also know another guy who I have sold mouthpieces to, he fell for the same scam and lost $20k. I have heard that Gaurdala is now running the same type of scam with photographic equipment.

Most of Dave's scams start with an email, WATCH OUT!!
I always thought his horns and mouthpieces sucked myself.

Dave Gaurdala scam site


Sax.co.uk- saxophone paradise

I ran across this site/shop while looking for reviews of the soprano I just bought yesterday. They had reviews of nearly every new saxophone on the market. This UK based sax shop is 5,000 sq ft of NOTHING BUT SAXES! Duude. I could go in there and never come out alive. "Where's Valdez?","Oh, he's starving to death in the Selmer room". They also have a comprehensive world-wide mail order service. With the Euro so strong compared to the dollar it's probably better to stick to WWBW in the States, but check out the reviews if you're considering a new horn.



Oasis is now on CD Baby!

My CD with Pere Soto is now on CD Baby. Since we are still looking for the right label to release it and didn't want to pay to press it ourselves we decided to release it in digital form. CD Baby distributes the music to sites like iTunes, Rhapsody, Yahoo, ect.

Oasis on CD Baby

All you have to do is send CD Baby one finished and mastered CD, the liner notes, and cover artwork and they will make a page so you can sell digital downloads.

I know a lot of musicians who have had great results with CD Baby and it's really a no-brainer. There is really nothing to lose by putting your CD on CD Baby. You can even burn just a couple of CDs at a time and make more as they sell. They will even give you a credit card machine to take payments at your gigs.

I went to their open house a couple of months ago and got a chance to talk to a lot of musicians who are on CD Baby. One producer said that even though she has distribution through three major labels CD Baby sells more CDs than all of them combined. There is even now a HostBaby for websites and Filmbaby for independent films. They have a great business model and they're good people who really care about getting independent artists in the game.
No matter what your marketing strategy is for your CD it can't hurt to sign up for CD Baby also. Here is their digital distribution deal:

The Deal

* Think of it like traditional physical distribution:
o You are the label. (You own the music and all rights.)
o The retail store is now Apple iTunes, Rhapsody, Yahoo, ringtone companies, etc.
o CD Baby is just the distributor that gets your music to the retailer.
o They pay us. We pay you.

* We do not take any rights to your music. This is not a record deal.
* You are just “lending” us the right to be your digital distributor, for the albums you tell us distribute, for as long as you want.
* You can cancel at any time. We will never tie up your rights or make it hard for you to leave.

The Money
* NO startup cost. This is a free service for CD Baby members.
* We keep only 9% and pay you 91% of all income from your music.
* You always get paid the week after we do.

It's NON-Exclusive, but...
* Just like in the physical world, there can't be more than one distributor bringing the same album to the same store. Otherwise, when the album sells, how would the store know which distributor to pay?
* We will never prevent you from doing anything you want with your music.

CD Baby website


Gary's Vinyl Vault- out of print Jazz records

Have you ever wanted to find an out of print Jazz record and it either cost a fortune or was nowhere to be found?

Gary Alderman has tens of thousands of Jazz records in his personal collection and he will makes tapes or burn CDs from them for a small fee. He also has thousands of hours of Jazz videos in his archives.

Vinyl Jazz web site


Virtual Practicing-desert island practice tips

Regular reader Roman recently asked a good question that deserves a response.

"David -
You've offered up so much great practice advice here on your blog. Do you have any tips for practicing away from the horn? I've heard of people closing their eyes and fingering an imaginary horn, and I've tried that but it really hasn't seemed to be very effective for me. Any other ideas? Thanks, Roman."

There are several ways to practice without your horn. Here are a few techniques that I have used over the years:

  • Bilateral Finger Coordination Exercises- these exercises help to get both hemispheres of your brain working together to control digital dexterity. For the sake of explaining the exercises we'll call the thumb on your right hand R1, right index finger R2 and so on. Your right pinkie of course is R5, left pinkie is L5 and your left thumb is L1. The goal when doing these is to get both hands acting exactly together. Most people have one hand that reacts faster than the other and of course this is not good for saxophone technique. These exercises would of course be helpful any instrument that uses both hands. Start each exercise slow and concentrate on getting your hands working together. Slowly speed up to a blistering speed. Remember to keep your hands and fingers totally relaxed at all times. Set both hands comfortably on a flat surface in front of you with your fingers spread out slightly. Tap each finger lightly on the flat surface.
Bilateral Symmetrical Digital Dexterity Exercises (both hands at the same time):

1-2-3-4-5-4-3-2-1-2-3-4-5-4-3-2- repeat

1-2-1-3-2-1-4-3-2-1-5-4-3-2-1-4-3-2-1-3-2-1-2 - repeat

1-2-1-3-1-4-1-5-1-4-1-3-1-2- repeat

This last exercise isn't bilaterally symmetrical.

At the same time as you do-

Do the right hand-

  • Perfect pitch exercise- carry a small pitch pipe or tuning fork with you throughout the day. Each day pick a pitch and try to sing it at various times during the day. Use the pitch pipe to check your accuracy. Sing the pitch loud enough to feel the way it makes your throat and chest vibrate. Every note physically feels unique. Over time you will be surprised at how much better you can recognize pitches. It doesn't take long to develop a really perfect A, E or G. From there you can slowly add other notes that are solid inside you. I call this 'Relatively Perfect Pitch' because you start out with only a couple of note that you can recognize.
  • Sing along to solos! Duh. This seems so obvious but not many players do this regularly. Load your iPodod or Diskman with great tunes and try to sing along to every note in the solos. Singing is great for ear training. Don't worry that your tone sounds like crap, just try to sing in tune and in time. This will internalize and solidify your sense of pitch, and time for that matter.
  • Try to read though solo transcriptions without your horn. Take the Omnibook with you on the subway. You don't even need to sing out loud, just try to hear the lines in your imagination. This is great for sight reading and ear training (or pitch visualization).

  • Of course the next step here is scatting. You can do this to music or unacompanied. If you can clearly hear and sing something then you will be less likely to let your fingers do the walking. Play what you really hear, don't play what you can't hear or sing.

Warne Marsh plays Aebersold

Ever wonder what your favorite players practice?

Do they still play scales and long tones?

Do they play AEBERSOLDS?!?!

Why wouldn't they!

Warne Marsh was a player that it took me many years to fully appreciate. At first I was turned off by his unusual sound and articulation. His 8th note didn't feel swinging to me and I didn't get his lines. I always liked Lee Konitz, but Warne eluded me. Now I think that Warne is one of the greatest tenor players to walk the planet. I appreciate his ultra-dark sound and I hear that he's swinging his ass off in a different way. His lines are complex and amazing, so melodic and lyrical.

Warne is finally being rediscovered by today's younger players. Guys like Mark Turner and Chris Cheek have both been heavily influenced by Warne's concept. Just these two guys alone have in turn influenced a whole new crop of even younger players.

Today I hear kids say that their main influences are Chris Potter, Mark Turner, Seamus Blake, and Chris Cheek. It seems very strange to me that someone would go right to the most recent cats, without first listening to the older masters first, like Trane, Joe Henderson, Warne Marsh, Sonny Rollins and Stitt, ect. Maybe younger players will find their way back to Warne through guys like Mark Turner and Chris Cheek.

My buddy Markos sent me these MP3s of Warne Marsh practicing with an 'All Bird' Aebersold
record. Yes, records, remember those? They were big, flat, round, vinyl disks with grooves on them. You actually put a needle on them to play the music. No, I'm not even kidding! If the record was sharp then you could put pennies on the needle to make it flatter.

Anyway, these MP3s are very interesting because you can hear Warne try different ideas out. On Scrapple he plays the head up in altissimo and it sounds exactly like an alto. His 8th triplets and double time lines are SICK!

Warne was way before his time and I believe that players will eventually catch on to this monster tenor player.

These tracks must have been recorded by Warne or a student in the early 80's, since he passed in 1987. They were included on a CD that came with Warne's biography 'Unsung Cat' (used copies start at $40).

(Photos by Jack Goodwin and George Ziskind)

Scrapple fron the Apple

Warne's MySpace fan site- great videos
Warne Marsh info site


How to recognize a Vintage Otto Link

Reprinted with permission from Unbalanced Action-


Master Link (first mouthpiece made by Link)
Master Link 4**** (an update on a good design)
--both Master Link pieces were very large chamber, low baffle designs. I believe that 4* was the highest original facing.

Tone Master 9* (slightly smaller chamber)
"New and Improved" Tone Master 9* (same chamber, but higher baffle and in a red&white box)
--These are the pieces that I think set the standard for metal tenor mpcs.

Super Tone Master Double Ring (NY) (first STM made in red&white box)
Super Tone Master Double Ring (FLA) (same as NY but made in FLA and doesn't have the NY address on the shank, also in a black box with gold writting)
--The imfamous "double ring". Great mouthpieces and THE design that every Link has followed since. The same pieces made in two different states.

Super Tone Master No USA (FLA)
Super Tone Master USA (FLA)
--These pieces are the next generation of STMs. Smaller dimensions than the double ring but still an excellent mouthpiece. USA or NON, the same blank. (both in gold boxes with black writting)

Super Tone Master USA Big Font (FLA)
--Regarded as "Early Babbitt" mouthpieces, however they came in gold boxes with black writting addressed to 121 SW 5th St. not 21 SW 5th St. (something tells me that Link moved factorys prior to selling out to Babbitt

Super Tone Master USA Big Font (IN)
--I think these are the real Early Babbitt pieces. They came in P.O. Box boxes addressed in Elkhart IN, not 2201 Industrial Pkwy boxes. They have the number on the side.

Super Tone Master USA Shank Tip (IN)
Super Tone Master NY USA (IN)
--The modern Links that we love to hate. The NY chambered pieces are better blanks in my opinion and they can make really nice pieces when finished properly.

Slant Master Link (first rubber piece made by Link)
--Made originally as a budget model for their metal pieces. Very large chamber with not much baffle. These can be very nice when opened up.

Reso Chamber (NY) (second rubber piece made by Link)
--Sort of the Tone Master of the Rubber line. Great design, with a thick beak. They came in white boxes with black writting.

Slant Tone Edge (NY) - facings stamped on table
Slant Tone Edge (early FLA) - facings stamped to the right of the table.
--These two are the same blank just finished in different states. Just like the double ring metal pieces. Slim rounded shanks, the largest chamber of the Tone Edges and very nice pieces. NY ones came in white boxes with blue writting, and the FLA ones came in white boxes with orange writting.

Slant Tone Edge (FLA) - the "holy grail" as some people put it. Nice mouthpieces though you should watch out for original large tips (over 8*) as they were not measured accurately enough from the factory.
Slant Tone Edge USA (FLA) - same as above but they have USA on the shank
Straight Tone Edge USA (FLA) - same as all above but the signature is written across as opposed to on an angle. These came in 121 SW 5th St. boxes instead of 21 SW 5th St.
--These three are the same exact blanks. These pieces used slightly different rubber from the earlier Tone Edges, so they dont go as orange. Flat shanks, more rounded beaks, smaller chambers. These are the Tone Edges to have.

Straight Tone Edge small USA (FLA)
--These are what I call an early Babbitt mouthpiece. They came in 121 SW 5th St. boxes as well as PO Box Elkhart addresses. They have a fatter beak, and the material has more plastic in the compound. They have very synthetic looking baffles and they have a small USA font on the shank. They can be very nice, and they are totally different from the befores, and afters.

Straight Tone Edge small USA (IN)
--Fatter bodied, same material as previous, with a thicker beak and they have baffles that aren't as pronounced as the previous, but more obvious than the new ones. These can be great pieces when refaced.

Modern Tone Edge small USA (IN)
Modern Tone Edge small USA (IN)
--These 2 are the same exact mouthpiece but the rubber compound is different. It seems that Links before 1997 were still made from rubber that will change color, now they are made from a very soft rubber/plastic material that is not as durable as the older rubber... That being said, J.J.Babbitt is said to be working on a new "Vintage" line for Otto Link pieces, but I think that they are just releasing the Tenney compound pieces.


Jeff Holman- the quest for the Slant Link sound

Jeff Holman, an accomplished saxophonist living in the Pacific Northwest, has taken his time getting into the mouthpiece business. He started making adjustments to his own mouthpieces, then when he felt more comfortable he started refacing mouthpieces for his students and other professionals in Portland. Jeff has always been a player first so he has a very developed concept of what a good mouthpiece should feel and sound like. His tenor sound is dark and warm and his ideal piece is a hard rubber slant Link. On alto he plays an old Meyer 7 hard rubber piece.

I showed up at his house with both my horns and navigated through many kid's toys to his living room. Jeff broke out a large box of finished Zinner blanks that he had numbered 1-9.
Zinner blanks definitely have better rubber than what Babbit is turning out now and the shape is pretty close to a Meyer. I started trying the pieces out and soon realized that each one was totally different from the others. Some had too much back pressure and some were too open, they mostly reminded me of Meyers. Jeff uses his own Meyer 7 as his guide, so his alto pieces felt closer to Meyers than to Links. Meyers usually have smaller chambers than Links, which makes them less free-blowing and a little more nasal sounding than a Link. At this point Jeff only works on the lay, tip, rails and baffle, not the chamber. Jeff says that he starts out by putting the right curve on the piece he is working on. Then he tries to get the piece to look like his ideal, by shaping the baffle, tip and rails. The last stages of his work consist of constant play testing and minor adjustments. When he feels like he's has gotten all he can get out of a piece he stops.

Jeff's mouthpieces are much better than what is being manufactured by larger mouthpiece makers. They play evenly and have a complex and warm sound. If you're looking for a vintage Meyer or Link sound and don't want to pay over $600 then I think the a Holman piece would be well worth considering. Personally I wished the chambers were a little larger, like my slant Link, but I know my tastes are in the minority.

One thing a lot of people are using are the 'Tenny' Otto Link blanks, which Babbit claims are made using the actual Slant Link molds. Even if they are shaped like the slants, the rubber is shitty, giving a bright sound overall. These blanks are also very inconsistent and need quite a lot of finishing work before they're playable. Personally I don't think that Doc Tenney does anywhere near $200 of work to finish his, which go for around $300 (the blanks cost $100 retail). You'd be better off buying a Doc blank yourself and having someone like Jeff or Brian Powell finish it, costing under $200.

Jeff's current workshop is on top of washing machine in his narrow utility room. "It's the best light in the house", says Jeff. Even though he's starting on a very small scale I think Jeff has the potential to become a major player in the booming mouthpiece refacing trade. I would highly recommend Jeff's refacing work to anyone who likes what an old Slant Link or New York Meyer sounds like. You can see the high level of detailed craftsmanship just by looking at close. Jeff still has some work to do before he's ready to start selling his own tenor pieces, but his alto pieces are great and ready to go to some real players.

Because each and every one of Jeff's own pieces is quite different (not for a lack of workmanship, but because he's trying different things on each one) I would recommend talking to him so he gets an idea of what you need. Then have him send you a few at a time to try. It would be hard to find a new alto piece for $200 that plays as well as Jeff Holman's.

Further note: after playing on one of Jeff's alto pieces I've decided that they are excellent, rather than just pretty good, as I initially thought. I might even use it as my backup piece. It screams and is very pliable and free-blowing. The 7 that I've been playing feels a lot like an early Babbit 7 Link that I used to own. The core is huge and it feels like I could cut over a full Salsa band with no mic, and not sound too bright! I'm still not used to such a big tip opening so I think I'll have Jeff make me one that is slightly smaller. Beautiful work Jeff!

Jeff Homan: