The Monster Meets George Garzone- part II

The long wait is over for part two of the greatest video on YouTube- The Monster Meets George Garzone.

What happens when the baddest saxophonist on the planet goes head to head with THE MONSTER?!

You'll just have to see for yourself......

Part I

Part II


Jazz Video Guy's 'Saxophone Summit Michael Brecker Tribute'

Bret Primack, aka Jazz Video Guy, produces video for Sonny Rollins, Joe Lovano, Billy Taylor, Hendrik Meurkens, Denny Zeitlin and many other musicians.

Writer/Video Journalist Bret Primack was the first Jazz blogger when, as the Pariah, he started posting his outrageous opinions on Bird Lives! in 1997.

In 1999, Bret began producing video for the web and now utilizes web video as a marketing tool for musicians and labels.

His documentaries and Video Podcasts include "Orrin Keepnews, Producer" for the Concord Music Group, "The Sonny Rollins Podcast" for Rollins' own Doxy Records, an ongoing documentary about the Saxophone Colossus and the "Saxophone Summit Seraphic Light Podcasts."

Here is Bret's YouTube Channel with his excellent Saxophone Summit Michael Brecker Tribute video, which features clips of Becker and a tribute by David Liebman, Joe Lovano and Ravi Coltrane.


Casa Valdez on Apple TV & Casa Valdez podcast

I recently bought an Apple TV as a pure impulse buy while at the Apple dealer trying to fix my iMac (which turned out to be toasted). Apple TV is a little box that looks like a squashed mini Mac. It connects to your HD television set with an HDMI cable and allows you to access your iTunes library on your desktop computer. I liked it because I have my good studio monitors hooked up to my HD TV upstairs, and my iMac with my 500 gigabyte library of MP3s and videos is downstairs in my studio. As long as my iTunes is open on my computer I can stream or sync to my Apple TV. Apple TV also can sync photos in my iPhoto library. Pretty bad-ass right?

This may not sound all that amazing if you're not a media junkie like my, but there's even more. Apple TV has a built in YouTube search interface that allows you to watch homemade videos of rabid chihuahuas frantically trying to hump cats, and of course babies swearing like tiny little truckers. All of this on the big screen! The resolution can suck, but you'd expect YouTube to look a lot worse than it actually does.

The coolest feature for is has to be the ability to watch, listen and subcribe to any Podcast that is listed in the iTunes store. One of these podcasts is the Casa Valdez podcast. I mentioned this a while ago, but haven't pushed it because there aren't many media files in my podcast page. The reason for this is the iTunes only turns links to media files into listed podcasts after the point when you register the podcast account. So in order to getter all my old media files turned into podcasts I'm going to need to post them again one at a time. Even if no one else bothers to watch or listen to this material, I need to do this so I can access everything on my Apple TV in the comfort of my living room upstairs.

So I apologize for re-posting this stuff again. Maybe you never checked this stuff out before because it was buried in the archives. Here it goes........

Live recording of Tristano/Konitz project @ the Cave

Here's the first set from my Tristano Project show at the Cave. I recorded this on my Zoom H4 recorder. Something always seems to go wrong with the recording, last night was no exception. I lost the entire second set somehow, which was of course when we really got warmed up.

David Valdez- alto
Tim Wilcox- tenor
Dan Gaynor- piano
Bill Athens- bass
Alan Jones- drums

5/17/08- First set at the Cave


The crash of the US Dolar causes reed crisis!

Do you play Vandoren, Rigotti or any other European made reeds? If you do you may be shocked the next time you order reeds. I play Rigotti Golds myself and this month I ordered seven boxes (5 alto and 2 tenor) from Roberto's in NYC. I didn't bother to ask what my total was because I thought that I already knew how much they would be, which I figured to be about $150. When called back to check to see if they'd been sent yet I remembered to ask about the price. My total was $250. HOLY SHIT! The alto reeds had gone up 50%, from $20 a box to $30 a box and the tenor reeds had gone up from $32 a box to $45 a box. Gulp. The dollar was at an all-time low to the Euro a few weeks ago- $1.59 to 1 Euro. It was bounced back slightly just recently to $1.55, but that's still pretty pathetic.

There is also such a strong demand for Rigotti reeds that every supplier usually runs out weeks before each new shipment arrives, but I do think that the biggest factor is the exchange rate. This means that all the European instrument makers have also been jacking up their prices. In fact, Selmer just bump their prices up almost 15%. Those Chinese horns may be starting to look a little better to some people.

Even if the dollar bounces back in the near future the reed companies will never drop their prices to reflect the stronger dollar. We're F$cked. I'm now going to totally reassess how I deal with bad reeds. No longer will I be able to afford to luxury of going through a box of reeds, picked out the good one and giving the rest to my students. I'm going to have to break out that infernal reed rush, reed knife and reed clipper. It really frustrates me to try to get shitty reeds to work. So few of these reeds ever turn out to be playable for me, they usually work right away or they never do. I'm just not patient enough to polish these exorbitantly expensive turds of reeds until they play. Will only wealthy saxophonists have good sounds in the future?!

I suggest that if you play European reeds you stock on as many of them as you can afford and sock them away. Find a supplier who hasn't sold out of the stock that they bought at the lower prices if you can. I know that Woodwind & Brasswind is out of the strengths that I play (if they did I certainly wouldn't be telling you about this), so see if they still have your reeds and snatch them up while you can still afford to throw away shitty reeds.

If the dollar drops any more I just might be cutting into some of the bamboo on the side of my house. At least I'll be able to feel confident that everyone else will also be sounding like crap.

Here are some pages about working on reeds:
Pete Thomas
Charles Socci
Col Loughnan
Ray Reed
Adjusting the single reed DVD
SOTW forum on reeds

Something that I've found useful for chosing and adjusting reeds is a funny little tool called the Reed-O-Meter. It measures reed strengths and is probably similar to the tool that reed manufacturers to sort reeds by strength. Once you have determined which reed strength you require, the Reed-O-Meter will aid in the consistent selection of reeds of exactly that strength.You can order the Reed-O-Meter from WWBW.

There is a company called the French American reed company that will custom make reeds to your exact specs in any quantity. I can't imagine the custom reeds would be cheap.

They say:
"For a number of years we have worked with some of the biggest names in music to produce custom made reeds. These tailor made reeds can be produced with specific profiles and cane treatments. In the past this was a very manual process. Now with the help of new software tools the process is much more efficient. Access to a mass produced yet consistent custom reed has never been easier. Please contact us to discuss your plans."

The Music of Lennie Tristano/Lee Konitz and Warne Marsh

If you've never heard the music of Lennie Tristano, Lee Konitz or Warne before, then you have missed out on hearing some of the most interesting and unique compositions to come out of the Bebop era. This Saturday night at the Cave you will have an opportunity to experience this incredible and unpredictable music.

While Bird and Dizzy were shaking up the world with their fiery and blustery Be-Bop, Tristano was on the periphery of the Jazz scene crafting, teaching and performing his own groundbreaking style of Be-Bop. His star pupils, Lee Konitz and Warne Marsh, went on to become two of the most interesting and unique (if not widely recognized) Jazz saxophonists of the last 50 years.

I'd have to say that this is the most challenging and interesting material that I've played in years. I just saw the Cave for the first time today and it's by far the hippest Jazz room in PDX.

David Valdez- alto saxophone
Tim Wilcox- tenor Saxophone
Dan Gaynor- Piano/arranger
Bill Athens- bass
Alan Jones- drums

Saturday, May 17 at 8:00pm

all ages are welcome and encouraged until 9:30pm
($5 cover charge at the door )

THE CAVE atmosphere blends the dim under ground funky sophistication of a fifties European Jazz club, the creative bohemian vibe of the legendary Village Vanguard in NYC, and the Oriental feel of a Persian cafe.

The Cave is an environment where inspired world-class musicians can experiment and develop their art...an environment that encourages original composition, creative project ideas, young emerging artists, and fresh new combinations of veteran players.

Excellent handcrafted Persian food and appetizers can be ordered off the Green Onion menu or from the buffet in the restaurant, with plenty of options for vegetarians and vegans.

And of special note, there is a meticulously selected wine list featuring varieties that not only pair perfectly with the Persian cuisine, but also are among the most interesting and exciting wines available for the price.

Find The Cave at the Green Onion:

636 SW Jackson St (at the corner of Broadway in the PSU neighborhood).

Free parking after 7pm, across Broadway from The Cave in the metered slots in front of the tennis courts. Also, 2 blocks from The Cave in PSU parking structure (enter on Broadway or on 6th Ave between Harrison and Hall).

For more info and a complete schedule of performances CONTACT:
Alan Jones – (503) 333-5197 www.alanjonesmusic.com the Green Onion - (503) 274-4294


"Lennie Tristano (1919-1978) was a jazz pianist and teacher of jazz improvisation, who emerged as an original voice in the New York jazz scene in the 1940s. An uncompromising individualist, he transgressed the boundaries of jazz as well as conventional style categories of jazz history through a succession of innovations, exploring musical means that were considered avant-garde, evidenced by the 1949 recordings of free group improvisations, which predate the free jazz movement by a decade, his ground-breaking use of multi-tracking in the 1950s, and the intensified use of polyrhythm and chromaticism in the 1960s."

Lennie Tristano occupies a rare position not only in jazz history but in the history of twentieth-century music. Emerging from an era when modernism was the guiding principle in art, Tristano explored musical avenues that were avant-garde even by modernism's experimental standards. In so doing, he tested and transcended the boundaries of jazz.

In 1949, years before musicians such as Ornette Coleman and Cecil Taylor took credit for the movement, Tristano made the first recordings of "free jazz," a new kind of group improvisation based on spontaneous interaction among band members without any regard for predetermined form, harmony, or rhythm. Then, in the 1950s, Tristano broke new ground by his use of multitracking.

Tristano was also a pioneer in the teaching of jazz, devoting the latter part of his career almost exclusively to music instruction. He founded a jazz school---the first of its kind---among whose students were saxophonists Warne Marsh and Lee Konitz and pianist Sal Mosca."

A pianist of exceptional co-ordination and skill, for whom playing in different metres with each hand held no terrors, Lennie Tristano overcame blindness to become one of the leading teachers in jazz. While he was studying for his music degree in Chicago in the early 1940s, he had already begun playing and working with a circle of musicians who became his pupils - including saxophonist Lee Konitz and guitarist Billy Bauer.

Tristano mastered the bebop style, playing both intricate runs and sustained chordal passages, and by the late 1940s was working in New York, where he made some significant discs with the musicians who had developed bebop - notably Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie. But his own musical direction involved exploring ideas of both freedom and abstraction, together with a 'cool' atmosphere.

He formed a sextet, that included some of his former pupils and tenorist Warne Marsh, and their work paralleled much of the experimentation of Gil Evans and Miles Davis. In the early 1950s, Tristano opened his own jazz school, and for the rest of his life he focussed on teaching rather than playing.

His pupils included many significant figures in jazz, all of whom benefited from his rigorous analysis of classic jazz performances, and the scalar and harmonic exercises he developed. He appeared in public from time to time in the 1960s but his best playing on record dates from the late 1940s, when his blend of innovation and technical perfection was at its height.

Tristano maintained a teaching regimen in the early ‘60’s, yet his performances were very few, he did a tour of Europe in 1965, and his last US appearance was 1968. He continued with his teaching until his death in 1978.

Lennie Tristano is an enigma in jazz, though he is not for every listener, his pioneering efforts in the forefront of the free jazz movement speak for themselves. Maybe because of his isolated sense of cerebral perception, he has not received his proper recognition, nonetheless, an innovative jazz pianist.