What a great pleasure it is to share with you a fun hour and a half of baritone saxophone playing. Roger Rosenberg plays standards as well as some unique pieces then leads an all baritone ensemble. If 14 baritones on one stage sound frightening then you’re in for a surprise. The arrangements are the interesting and some of the student solos are very on point.
Category: Master Class
Thanks to VOA Music for sharing the nugget.
In 1929 Adrian Rollini sat down to pen what could be considered the earliest treatise on the bass saxophone for the Melody Maker Magazine. It was authored only a year after Rollini made the trip across the pond to play with the Savoy Ballroom band as lead by Fred Elizalde. This would be a short run for Rollini as he left the band in 1928 and returned to the US. Throughout his career Rollini defined and refined the roll for the bass saxophone in the hot jazz band. Of course he wasn’t the only person playing the bass saxophone but he was widely known from his time with Bix Biederbeck.
In the articles linked below Rollini touches on the major parts of bass saxophone ownership and paying. In fact much of what he describes still holds true today nearly 86 years later.
His vibrato is decidedly not modern but his approach to baritone saxophone exemplifies the fresh and dynamic qualities which describe a modern bari sax player. In this series of videos Tim Sullivan, a great player himself, interviews the legendary Joe Temperley. In the process, Joe shares everything from his approach to vibrato and tone to his early life and experience on the road with Duke Ellington.
While I don’t care for Tim Sullivan’s interview style he did succeed in getting Joe to loosen up and encourage him to dive into his stories.
I am a big fan Ernie Watts, from his crazy huge mouthpiece tip opening to his amazing melodic improvisations. This masterclass offers a great view into his personal sound concept, philosophy, practice techniques and improvisation pedagogy.
Here’s a warmup exercise based on the warmup Ernie recommends to start each practice session with.
When I first started playing saxophone I had no idea what a classical saxophone should sound like. My saxophone tone exposure was limited to George Coleman, Branford Marsalis, Kenny G, and the various Reggae and Ska saxophone players. I hadn’t really heard the clear, crisp, and distinctly sax tone that classical players were using. It wasn’t until I got to high school that I would first hear a truly classical saxophone tone. This was in the time when the internet was just starting and there wasn’t a YouTube. My private lesson teacher played for our entire saxophone section a recording of Fredrick Hemke or was it Marcel Mule playing the Concertina de Camera? I remember distinctly that my tone was nothing like theirs and I wanted to learn more.
Throughout high school I would spend 2 to 3 hours a day practicing my tone. Seriously, I would practice during my lunch break and then after school before marching band and concert band. at the time I played 80% alto and I loved it. I was very proud of my tone by the time I was a senior. I landed an alto position in the county band and was happy to perform with my peer’s across the county. The one thing that stuck out was the player in the 1st chair. I heard his tone as being sweet and rather dark. I remember asking him about his tone and he said his lesson teacher preferred the Rascher type alto tone. That conversation set me on a course to learn more about Rascher and his remarkable tone.
Now that reference material is so easily located I am excited to share the kind of material I wish was available at the time I was learning tone, overtones, and articulation. Rascher and his daughter deliver these lesson in a clear and easily demonstrated manor. This is a good time to mention Top-Tones for the Saxophone: Four-Octave Range by Sigurd Rasher. This book changed my playing immensely.
Saxophone Basics by Sigurd Rasher (Covers tone, breathing, embouchure, articulation, overtones, posture, vibrato) :
Bill Evans has been an identifiable voice in the saxophone world for decades now. His characteristic tone and enthusiastic playing style landed him gigs playing with musical giants like: Herbie Hancock, Lee Ritenour, Dave Grusin, Steps Ahead and Mick Jagger. This master class brought to us from the great people at Mariachi Sax Boutique Moscow is loaded with great advice and examples of Bill’s amazing techniques.
My favorite part is Bill’s discussion of his practice routine at 32:42. Bill shares his relaxed embouchure style and love for Aebersold recordings.
Kenny Werner is a world class pianist, author, and jazz educator. His book Effortless mastery has been instrumental (pun intended) to my own personal development. Here is a short master class.
What is there to say about Joe Lovano which hasn’t been published before. He is a monster player and educator. He is passionate about his art and loves to share his knowledge. I’m glad I can help pass along a bit of it.
I had the absolute pleasure of hearing Phil Woods when he came through my town and played with the local Jazz band. His tone and technique was phenomenal to hear live. For a rather large man his playing was light and airy. At the time I was playing alto full time and this man was who I wanted to emulate. One of his comments that always stuck with me was his comment on Charlie Parker. While I don’t remember it exactly as he told it, I do remember the gist of of it. Essentially he said that he does in fewer notes what took Park a sheets worth of notes to accomplish.
This master class is heavy on performance but is worth the 38 minutes spent to enjoy and learn by example.
Please follow the LINK to AHmusicmedia.com to purchase this content on DVD.
Long before I found the love of the low note I was enamored by the technical and stylistic abilities of Ernie Watts. Growing up he was right along side Eric Dolphy, Miles Davis, Charlie Parker, and Gerry Mulligan in my jazz listening. So when I stumbled on his master class I thought it important to share his knowledge and performance.
Here at MBS we feel that passing on musical knowledge is one of the most important things we can do for our readers. Masterclasses will be a regular section of the site.