What do you get when you combine Downbeat magazine’s thrice winning Rising Star award winner Brian Landrus, a Selmer series II Bass saxophone and a microphone? You get a hauntingly wonderful moment of expression on an instrument usually known for its subtlety. This is not to be confused with the exotic sounds of Collin Stetson or the basso profondo of Adrian Rollini. Brian is a skilled baritone saxophonist and clarinetist. This track is from his fourth coming album due to out on June 25th 2013. If you have the ability to see him perform with Esperanza Spalding while on tour.

TAKE AWAY: I am looking forward to getting this album when it comes out.

What do you get when give the baritone sax and bass trombone players the chance to bring out the heavy metal? You get improvised solos which are lively, heavy, and as interesting as you might expect. Jay Mason’s  bass saxophone tone blends well with Bill Reichenbach’s tuba tone. The bass sax adds a welcome reediness and projection whereas the tuba’s characteristic round and full tone adds body to the over bass sound. This combo is one of my favorites now and I hope to hear more of it. Of course it goes without saying that the arrangement  by Frank Macchia is a great pleasure to hear and a wonderful way to show off these two great horns now rare to mainstream jazz music.

TAKE AWAY: This is a pleasure to hear and I’m glad to share it.

I love new sounds on the baritone and this video from NAMM is a clean easy to hear example of sound modification.  Sylvain Carton is a fantastic player and sound  innovator. His use of multi-effects and advanced techniques makes his tone one to remember. I am a firm believer in pushing the boundaries and keeping an otherwise purely acoustic instrument relevant in a modern music landscape. This has given me some new ideas

Sylvain Carton is a principle voice of the group Beats Antique. I will be reviewing some Beats Antique in the very near future.

Sylvain Carton’s equipment is:

Vandoren V16 (B9?) Mouthpiece with Pasoana pickup

MXR Carbon Copy Analog Delay -> Bass Compressor -> Bass Octave Deluxe
MXR Bass Chorus -> MXR Bass Fuzz Delux -> MXR Bass Overdrive ->WahPedal

Supa-Pus Analog Delay -> Ring Worm Modulator
Bass Envelope Filter

Like many saxophone players born before the 1997 I had a fascination with Michael Brecker. His contemporary tone seemed to fit into any genre he played and his humble nature made him seem most approachable. I would listen to anything of his I could get my hands on via taped radio performances or shared albums. I enjoyed just listening to him play, there was an energy and mood in his playing that was hard to match.

Through out the years my private lesson teachers would share interviews he had done for the various magazines and on various TV programs. His insight would eventually change they way I viewed my playing. Just knowing that Brecker did not instantly assimilate new ideas into his playing made the fact that I was struggling to add new ideas feel more normal. Also knowing that during his early days Brecker admitted to being a tad bit lazy with practicing, just like me. This took the mysticism out of the musical god and made him more like everyone else. The candid way he approached his interviews made me admire him as a musician and a person. What other top level musicians admit to not being as diligent at practicing as they know they should be? None that I know of. Linked here is one of my favorite workshops Brecker did as a much younger man than most of us remember.

Part of why I bring this video selection to the front is that at one point in this workshop he explains that the player should play what works for them and not what his/her idol plays on. We should all strive to play what works for us as individuals and not follow the mouthpiece fad of the day. The man was a trend setter and a humble person.

Michael Brecker at North Texas State University in the Spring of 1984


Directs links below:
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

Side Note: In case you missed it he is playing a “Selmer Saxophone”, Dukoff D9 with LaVoz Medium reeds.

I will admit it I am a regular YouTube user. I use YouTube to find favorite artists, new music to listen to, and of course that rare interview. As a lover of saxophone ensembles I found YouTube to be awash with great musical reference material.

My criteria for a great musical YouTube channel:

  1. Unique/Rare Subject Matter
  2. Top quality sound/videos
  3. Variety
  4. Regular Submissions

Here are my two choices for YouTube channels to be followed: