Eternal Be-Bop!- Duet by Nat Kline

Here is a nice Bop duet written by saxophonist Nat Kline. There are PDF charts in concert, Bb and Eb for download.

Eternal Bop Duet


Gig Book iPad app

A few months ago I finally broke down and bought an iPad. I must admit that I was drawn in by apps like Angry Birds and Plants vs Zombies, but the thing has really turned out to be really useful as a PDF score reader for gigs. I used to have to print out copies of charts before every gig, which ate up printer toner like crazy. Now on a duo gig all I do is make bookmarks and set lists on my score reading app. The first app I used was Unreal book, which did almost everything I needed it to do. I was able to load every fake book PDF I would ever need onto the iPad, therefore having thousands of tunes at my fingertips on the bandstand. Now I no longer need a stand light in a dark club!

Recently a new app was released called GigBook that has the best organization system of any music score reader on the market. There are still a few features that GigBook is still lacking (like the ability to zoom), but overall the superior ability to categorize scores into books, volumes, collections, and set lists tromps the competition (Unrealbook, forScore, Notation Pad, ect). I spoke with the developers of GigBook and plans are underway to release updates that will give GigBook the edge  in every way over the other score apps.

The issue that I began to run into when I was using unreal Book was that there was no good way to organize my library. I had one huge list that contained all of my fake books AND all of my bookmarked tunes. It was hell trying to quickly find the tune I was looking for and the longer I used unreal Book the more disorganized it got. GigBook's architecture allows the user much more ability to organize and categorize charts and the interface is much more appealing than other score reader apps. First put all your fake books into Collections to take the clutter out of your main library.  GigBook's Super Bookmarks feature allows you to bookmark a several page tune in a PDF fake book.  It then extracts that score (while leaving original PDF book intact) and  allows you to move it into it's powerful Binders and Set List features.  This is a feature which is noticeably lacking in the competition.

For a short time only GigBook is 50% off!

Here's a description of GigBook's features from the developer's website:

The Beginning
Even back when the iPad was a mere rumor, we began imagining an app that could be used to house our extensive musical libraries and be used seamlessly at our rehearsals, on stage, in our classroom and in our private lessons. GigBook is not the first out of the gates, but we believe it’s the most mature, elegant and intuitive sheet music reader in the App Store. GigBook is simply the best way to organize, store and use your musical scores, chord charts, and lyric sheets in a live setting on the iPad.
 Quick Navigation
We’ve designed GigBook to be a powerful app that is simple to use in any musical situation. As soon as you launch GigBook you’ll see that it’s not like others out there. The Navigation drawer allows you to quickly get to where you want to go. And GigBook has been designed to grow with you. Collections of over 1000 scores will be just as easily accessible as collections of a 100.
Built In Filters and Metadata
Access your complete musical library or filter by composer, genre or simply see recently added scores. Add metadata that is always in plain sight. You can add composer, genre, tempo, key and time signatures, along with extensive notes to each score.
A Place to House Your Books, Volumes, and Collections,
Have a large PDF containing multiple scores? Store them in “Collections” to access them quickly. Or use Super Bookmarks to mark and extract a score on page 250 of a 500 page collection to use in a set list or binder with the greatest of ease. No more running down to the copier with books in hand before a show.
Binders Keep You Organized
If you play in multiple groups or have a heavy teaching load sort your groups’ repertoires into binders. Binders can hold an unlimited number of scores; and the same score can be associated with multiple binders. Make as many binders as you need. GigBook finally helps you to be more organized.
 Advanced Set Lists
GigBook is a very flexible and powerful set list creator. Add and arrange scores in any order. Add detailed notes for each score. Playing a tune that doesn’t have a score in GigBook? No problem. Create a new item for that set list. Write out your notes, chord chart or lyrics for that piece and arrange it like any other score.  You can view all your titles and notes just like a handwritten set list. And with a single touch you can flip the set list over to see all scores moving through them in set list order.

 GigBook web site


Drake NY Jazz mouthpieces

When I was over in Bend my buddy Joe asked me try a few new mouthpieces that he was going to be stocking in his music store. The first was a resin tenor Aizen, which was pretty mediocre. It had good response, but no real core to the sound. It was a C+ at best.

Next Joe brought out two alto pieces made by Aaron Drake, who is known for his ceramic pieces. These new models were made from a resin compound rather than ceramic. The Drake ceramic pieces always looked like they were really well made but the material never interested me too much. The "Drake vintage resin" (whatever that means) pieces that I tried are called the NY Jazz model. Aaron also has some ceramic/resin hybrid pieces which I did get a chance to check out.

The NY Jazz model alto pieces are modeled on a NY Meyer, so the chamber was a little smaller than my Slant Link. The baffle is long and pretty flat and every aspect of the workmanship is excellent. Joe tells me that all of the pieces he's tried have been consistent and all played great. I must say that I was kind of shocked at how good the NY Jazz piece played. I really do not expect very much from modern mouthpieces. I tried a 5 and a 6. The 6 was a little more open than my Slant 6, but it still blew easily with little resistance. It had a big fat warm core to the sound and it was easy to make subtle changes to the timbre. The 5 didn't have as big of a sound, but it was easier to control and a bit more focused and sweeter. I would think that I would probably recommend the 5 to my students over the 6, but I might feel more comfortable on the 6. One thing that was a little strange was that the shank opening was really large. I had to put some tape on my neck cork to even play it. I wondered why Aaron did that, but it's a minor issue regardless.

The pieces run about $300, which is a little high to recommend for my younger students, but still much lower than trying to find a vintage Meyer or Link (and without all the hassle). These pieces have my full endorsement and I look forward to trying Aaron Drake's other models in the future.

Drake Signature NY Jazz alto mouthpieces


Ronald Caravan's special fingerings for saxophone

With my more advanced students I often use a book called Preliminary Exercises & Etudes In Contemporary Techniques for Saxophone by Ronald Caravan. This wonderful book covers things like alternate fingerings for timbre variation, quarter-tone fingerings, multi-phonics and singing while playing. There are etudes for each technique.

I especially like the alternate fingerings for timbre variation. Working with these alternate fingerings can give you many different options for shading the same note and also for slight pitch adjustments. Below is a page from that chapter. I've also included a link to a PDF of a few pages from the chapter on multi-phonics. I highly recommend this book for every saxophonist.

(click the above graphic for a larger version)

Joe Henderson Master Class at North Texas State University

You won't find this lecture anywhere else.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6
Part 7

Thanks Markos!