Category: Interview

Historical Interviews

While we have done some more recent interviews with great baritone saxophonists, there are some excellent historical interviews floating around the internet and we’d like to highlight some of them for you.

JazzBariSax.com Interview Series: Adam Schroeder

The next installment in our interview series feature Adam Schroeder. Adam holds down many of the baritone chairs on the West coast and has put out several albums as a leader. He is a tremendous guy and an accomplished saxophonist, we’re glad to feature him here.
  • Adam SchroederWhy the baritone? I found my voice on the baritone saxophone during my senior year of high school.  I had been playing the lead alto chair in our jazz band for three years however was trumped in the audition by a great friend.  We had both been studying with David Glasser from NYC at the time and had both learned that the two most important chairs in the saxophone section were the lead alto and the baritone…support!  Since my friend and I each knew one another’s playing, it was an easy switch for me to hopefully offer a stronger support in the section instead of playing the second alto chair.  Needless to say, I loved it and never looked back.
  • Favorite recordings of and/or with baritone saxophone? 10 to 4 at the 5 spot, Encounter & Julian by Pepper Adams; The Concert Jazz Band stuff by Gerry Mulligan; Stop and Listen by Cecil Payne & anything by Leo Parker
  • What’s your equipment/set up? Right now I’m floating between two set ups: 1. Berg Larson Hard Rubber 110/2 SMS chamber with a Rovner Lig and Rico Jazz Select 3M reeds 2. Vandoren B9 with their M/O Brass Lig and Vandoren ZZ #2 reeds.  I find each suitable for many different occasions but if there is an extra punch needed, then I throw on my Berg
  • Low A, Low Bb, or “My favorite horn is the one in front of me” ? I currently play a low “A” horn; Yamaha 62 with some custom work done after an extensive repair from an airline incident.  I’ve owned a 1920 Silver Conn low Bb however did not play it that often so I sold it to someone who is playing it full-time.  I’d love to find another low Bb horn as I believe they speak better all around the horn…and as a soloist, I find that the horns themselves resonate with more colors than a low A horn
  • Anything specific to the baritone you recommend practicing? Just think of it as another saxophone, not a baritone…that’s a common stereotype, that this horn we love is SO different than the other saxophones.  Don’t be scared, put some air into it and your back into it and have some fun!  LONGTONES!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • Favorite venue/place to play? Anyplace where the audience is involved/engaged.  They want to feel the energy as well…not just the musicians playing for themselves (or each other).  I love live clubs where there is conversation going on music related…not just obscene talking or chatter.  In Los Angeles, I really enjoy the Blue Whale, Jazz at the CAP, Alvas, The Lighthouse, Vitello’s and then anything that In-House Music represents.
  • When travelling, does the horn go under or in the plane? IN THE PLANE – but be nice!  Everyone is just trying to do their jobs and being an ass gets you nowhere!  Be accommodating as well.  Most of us traveling with the new “Manning” custom cases also take pics on our cell phones of the horn in the overhead/closet on the different aircraft models that we are flying on.  But overall, JUST BE NICE and they are usually pretty understanding.  If not, stand your ground in a polite and reassuring way and continue to ask for their supervisor.
  • Favorite quotes about music? Keep On, Keepin’ On (Clark Terry); Take care of the MUSIC, and the MUSIC will take care of you (John Clayton); the 5 “T’s” of playing (Oscar Peterson) and Dizzy’s list (can’t remember what its called at the moment)
  • What do you do when not playing music? Enjoy the outdoors…mother natures natural symphony.  Compose and sing; work in another field which I feel allows me to focus in on music at a much more heightened state when I get the chance.  Read and spend time with my family.  All of which I’ve mentioned above leads right back to my passion, our passion, which is music.
  • Bonus Question: “A penguin walks through that door right now wearing a sombrero.  What does he say and why is he here?”  Humor Me, you look just as lost as I do…but lets enjoy today for what today brings and hopefully make a few smiles and memories along the way

Be sure to check out Adam’s website for more info!

JazzBariSax.com Interview Series: Paul Nedzela

999346_10200125395448846_2100103875_nThe latest installation of our interview series is with a baritone saxophonist who is taking over the world. Paul Nedzela was kind enough to spend some time while on the road with the prestigious Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra to give us some insight into his artistry. He has recently been seen performing with the Village Vanguard Orchestra and you can catch him with the Ted Nash big band later this month at Dizzy’s in NYC. On a personal note, I have great respect and awe for Paul’s talents and his congenial vibe. I am glad he has shared some insight into his world with us. – Hadro

Sound.

Sound is always the first thing I notice about any player, regardless of what instrument they play.  And personally, I think that sound is the defining characteristic of most baritone players.  Though the sound wasn’t what initially drew me to the baritone in the first place.  When I went to junior high school, everyone picked up an instrument, and I picked tenor sax.   It wasn’t til a year later, after I showed some proclivity for the horn, that they switched me to the baritone; in part, because I was a little bigger than the other kids.  Looking back on those first couple of years, like many other bari players, I looked forward to getting the chance to honk out a few low notes and make my mark.   It wasn’t until I started studying privately that I started to mature, and slowly approach the instrument differently. I began to hear some of the great baritone players around town; taking in the unique voices each of them had on the instrument.   I slowly grew as a musician, assimilating as much as I could, and working as hard as I could to take what I heard and recreate it in my own way.

The horn.

The baritone, more than other horns because of it’s register, can have very different personalities.  It is able to sound light and romantic in the upper register, full and vibrant in the middle, and sharp or robust in the lower. It can take on the characteristics of a tenor sax or a trombone, but also a cello, bassoon and even the human voice when played well.  Each player must decide for themselves what it is they want to hear in their own sound.  Of course, set up can have a lot to do with that.  Different horns and mouthpieces will lend themselves towards one approach or another.  Personally, I prefer a low Bb horn and I tend to think that older horns have warmer and richer sounds, though that is certainly a generalization.  There is nothing inherent in modern horns that prevent them from being able to do that, I just don’t think it’s a priority for those who make the horns these days.  Low A baritones have to add a fair amount of metal tubing to the horn which changes the intonation and sound of the horn.  Low A’s are recalibrated to account for this of course, but I tend to believe that the extra note isn’t worth it.  Ultimately, however, I believe that it is the man or woman behind the horn that makes the sound, regardless of what he or she is playing.  Michael Jordan will always be Jordan, no matter what shoes he is wearing.  Bird will always sound like Bird, and Coltrane like Coltrane.

Influences.

My influences have changed over the years.  My first exposure to the baritone was with the album, Birth of the Cool.  That got me checking out a lot of Gerry Mulligan. I loved his pianoless quartet albums.  He would certainly be my first influence.  After a while I started to feel that my playing was mirroring his a little too much and I started to move away from it.  I started listening to a lot of Pepper Adams.  I loved his playing with Thad Jones on Mean What You Say, and with Charles Mingus on Blues and Roots. Then I started seriously listening to the baritone players I could in NYC like Joe Temperley, Ronnie Cuber and Gary Smulyan.  After a while, I really started listening to and transcribing a lot of other sax players, not just baritone.  Now I would consider some of my big influences to be Cannonball, Coltrane, Joe Henderson, and Bird.  The real benefit to that for me was realizing that the baritone, like any instrument is to any artist, is a medium or a tool; a means of expressing the music in each of us.  And why restrict our appreciation to those who happen to play the same instrument we do?

Practicing.

Now in terms of practicing, I find it hard to give general tips to an unknown audience.  But I will say that it’s important to know how to get to Carnegie Hall.  For sound, there is no replacement for long tones. There are many different ways to approach long tone exercises, but no real substitute for doing them.  Technical exercises can depend on what you’re going for as a musician.  I do think that fundamentals will always be important.  Knowing and being able to play all types of scales in all keys, at all tempos.  A simple enough idea, but a difficult one to master.  Then anything from etudes, to an endless combination and permutation of patterns to practice getting around the horn.  I think transcribing is a great way to train one’s ear and also assimilate the playing styles of the players we love. Then there is the idea of playing in an ensemble.  There are so many skills and concepts to practice in that setting that it’s hard for me to know where to begin.  I would say that it’s important to know one’s place at all moments within the group; how your note fits in the chord, what your role is in the composition, what other instruments you’re playing with, and who is leading and who is following. But an overarching idea that I’d like to stress is the importance of focus in everything we play and practice.

The best lesson I’ve learned is that the goal of a musician should not be how to impress or make his or her mark, as I once thought as a child, but rather how to make as much music as possible.  And the goal of music, for me, is to evoke emotion, whatever that emotion might be.


 

Be sure to check out Paul’s website too!

JazzBariSax.com Interview Series: Aaron Lington

Tlingtonhe latest installment of the JazzBariSax.com interview series features Aaron Lington.  He is a great baritonist and holds down the fort on the west coast. He is an educator and a leader, having led numerous recordings, as well as having been kind enough to add a handful of transcriptions to our repository here. Please get to know him:

Why the baritone?
I have played all four of the saxophones to varying degrees throughout my playing career (hardly any soprano, a good deal of rock/blues/R&B tenor, and a TON of classical alto), but it is the baritone that I have always returned to and it is what I have played exclusively now for the last 10 years or so. I feel that I get a better and more natural sound on it than the other saxes, altissimo comes more easily, and as I play pretty aggressively, I feel I can “lay into the horn” a bit more than the other saxes.

Favorite recordings of and/or with baritone saxophone?
Bob Brookmeyer and the New Art Orchestra – Celebration (features Scott Robinson)
Pepper Adams – The Master
Gerry Mulligan – What Is There to Say?
George Benson Cookbook (features Ronnie Cuber)

How did you find your way to the baritone saxophone?
I played piano and violin for many years as a young man. I played violin in my high school orchestra and the orchestra director also happened to be the band director. The two of us had developed a friendly relationship and I asked him the summer before my sophomore year in high school if he could teach me a wind instrument so that I could play in the school marching band. Saxophone was his primary instrument, so he loaned me his alto sax and gave me some lessons. I played in the marching band that fall semester, but all marching band members had to also play in the concert band. He had me play baritone saxophone in the concert band and I *really* fell in love with it and have played it primarily ever since.

What’s your equipment/set up?
1969 Selmer Mark VI Low Bb
or
1994 Selmer Super Action 80 Series II Low A
Lawton 8*B
Rico Orange Box 3.5
for a ligature I have lately been using a new prototype ligature designed by Bay Area engineer Joel Harrison – it’s a unique new design and is REALLY awesome…he hopes to have some in production soon

for classical bari I play:
Selmer S-80 C**
Rico Reserve 3.5 or 4
Francois Louie ligature
Low A, Low Bb, or “My favorite horn is the one in front of me” ?
Low Bb for most all jazz gigs, low A for classical solos, saxophone quartet and pit shows

Anything specific to the baritone you recommend practicing?
Long tones: it helps with developing efficient air control and tone quality which are essential for the big horn.

Tips for young baritone saxophonists?
Have fun!

Favorite venue/place to play?
In the Bay Area there a a number of great venues:
Davies Symphony Hall
the new SF Jazz Center
Studio Pink House (a “house concert” setting in Saratoga, CA)
Yoshi’s Oakland
Yoshi’s San Francisco
Palace of Fine Arts (San Francisco)
California Theater (San Jose)
Le Petit Trianon (San Jose)
Blackbird Theater (San Jose)
Cafe Stritch (San Jose)
the list could go on…
In my home town of Houston, there is a really hip, intimate club in the Montrose called Cezanne’s

When traveling, does the horn go under or in the plane?
Anvil case under the plane. Although with the exorbitantly high baggage fees lately, I have been borrowing a horn at most out-of-town gigs. Not ideal, but not the end of the world either (my wife is a pianist and she reminds me that she plays on a different instrument EVERY time she leaves the house!! lol).

Favorite quotes about music?

Art teaches nothing, except the significance of life. (Henry Miller)

What do you do when not playing music?
Long distance running. Wine making. Video gaming.

Bonus Question: “A penguin walks through that door right now wearing a sombrero. What does he say and why is he here?”
“My iceberg made a wrong turn at Albuquerque.”

JazzBariSax.com Interview Series: Lauren Sevian

lauren-sevian

In this installment of the JazzBariSax.com interview series we are featuring one of the best, and hardest working baritone saxophonists out there today, Lauren Sevian has been good enough to take a few minutes to answer some questions for us.


Why the baritone? After struggling with the alto, I tried the baritone and discovered my “voice”. Been with it ever since!

Favorite recordings of and/or with baritone saxophone? Pepper Adams “Encounter” with Zoot Sims, and Burn Brigade with Ronnie Cuber, Nick Brignola, and Cecil Payne. Also a fave is Coltranes “Dakar” with Pepper Adams and Cecil Payne.

How did you find your way to the baritone saxophone? I felt like it was better suited for what I wanted to say vs playing the alto or tenor.

What’s your equipment/set up? A Buffet (new) Low A 400 series, RPC mouthpiece, Rico H ligature, Rico 3 reeds (yes orange box!)

Low A, Low Bb, or “My favorite horn is the one in front of me” ? I’ve always been a low A gal but recently tried the first low Bb horn I really liked! So I’m curious…but I will always go back to playing a Low A.

Anything specific to the baritone you recommend practicing? For me, any kind of technique exercises to help facility, especially in the upper register, helped me tremendously. Especially chromatic exercises.

Tips for young baritone saxophonists? Longtones, practiced in wide intervals to train your embouchure.

Favorite venue/place to play? Jazz Standard! Also like Kitano & Smoke.

When travelling, does the horn go under or in the plane? I used to bring it on the plane, but due to difficulties traveling recently I just try to get a bari wherever I go. I have a golf case to check it in if I absolutely have to.

Favorite quotes about music? “If music be the food of love, play on” -William Shakespeare

What do you do when not playing music? I like cooking, going out with friends, chilling at home in front of the tube.

Bonus Question: “A penguin walks through that door right now wearing a sombrero. What does he say and why is he here?” He says, “Oh hello El Boogie I’ve brought you your sombrero back.” I let him borrow it since it has been heating up in Antartica. 😉

 


Find out more about Lauren at her profile here, and visit Lauren’s website.

And of course be sure to check out the rest of the interviews from the JazzBariSax.com interview series.

 

JazzBariSax.com Interview Series: Kenny Berger

bergerIn the next installment of the JazzBariSax.com interview series we have with a us a veteran of the baritone saxophone. Kenny Berger is a complete wealth of knowledge and history of the baritone saxophone. We are very glad he has shared some of his experiences with us.

 


 

Why the baritone? – I have always had an attraction to lower pitched sounds and I find the baritone register compatible with my own speaking voice. I also was attracted to its versatility as an ensemble voice as well as a solo voice.

Favorite recordings? – “Reflectory” by Pepper Adams on the Muse label is my favorite record of his and the title track features what I consider to be his best recorded solo. Dakar (Prestige)issued under John Coltrane’s name but actually led by Pepper, features a front line of Trane, Pepper and Cecil Payne. Several of Harry Carney’s features with Ellington are essential listening, including “The Telecasters” from such Sweet Thunder, “Frustration” from the Bethlehem sessions as well as La Plus Belle Africaine and Chromatic Love Affair. I love all the Mulligan Concert Jazz Band records. though my interest in them is primarily from my point of view as an arranger.

Equipment setup? – My horn is a low B-flat Selmer Mark VI ,110,000 series which dates to the early 60’s. Mouthpiece is an old rubber Otto Link Tone Edge 7* that I bought around 40 years ago and used for several years on my old Conn. When I began playing the Selmer I had the piece worked on by Phil Barone and have been using it exclusively for around 20 years. Reeds are Alexander Superial DC 2 and a half. The reeds are so much better than any others I’ve tried that my biggest fear is that like many good pieces of baritone equipment, they may one day stop making them due to lack of demand. So help keep me in business. Buy several hundred boxes today!

Low A or B-flat?– I am a devout low B-flat advocate. Adding the extra tubing for lowA throws the horn out of tune with itself and alters the tone quality of all the notes below written low D and can also cause the palm keys to tune flat. On any conical stopped pipe ( sax, oboe..) the note nearest the bell (low Bb) tends to be bright in quality and relatively free in response while the next note up ( B natural) tends to tune a bit flat and be somewhat stuffy in response. With the low a added these qualities get thrown out of whack and also can have bad effect on the lowC# if the tone hole is not placed right. Every time I play a low B-flat on a lowA horn, I want to reach into the bell and remove the dead animal that I’m sure must be stuck in there. I have several ways of producing a low A without the key. I could describe them but then I would have to kill you.

Anything specific to the baritone you recommend practicing?- The main things I recommend practicing are articulation and overtone exercises. For a jazz baritone player it’s all about articulation as far as I’m concerned. Every time I hear a player whose lines get garbled, whose time is shaky and/or can’t be heard without a mic, it is due to a lack of command of articulation. If you have trouble projecting the solution is not using the brightest sounding setup available, it;s getting your tongue to play more of a role in how you shape your lines and where you place the time.

Tips for young baritone saxophonists? – The horn is an inanimate object. A piece of brass tubing. You, presumably, are a human being with the ability to make inanimate objects conform to your needs. Therefore don’t let the baritone’s size and weight distort your air-stream and and body shape. Try to have the horn hang in a way that allows you to address the mouthpiece and the keys without scrunching up your shoulders and folding your windpipe. No matter how intense the music gets, try not to make what I call the “Jazz Face” (squeezed tight with all energy directed toward the tip of the nose). Keep the so-called facial mask relaxed and open. This is one of the most important lessons i learned from the great Danny Bank which he learned from watching Harry Carney up close.
Try to maintain the integrity of your sound regardless of how loud or unresponsive the rhythm section may get. Don’t change to a bright,uncontrollable setup purely for the sake of projection. Other players’s insensitivity is their problem, not yours. Of course in situations dominated by amplification all bets are off. Best to just ram those earplugs in, cash the check before it can bounce and live to fight another day.

Airplane travel? I long ago gave up the ancient practice of engaging in the ritual dance with airline employees. I have a specially made flight case made by Calzone. It goes under the plane. They make a tracing of the horn and create the tray to fit the individual horn. I had one that was made of wood and lasted me 22 years. The new ones are made of a material that is lighter, thinner and more durable. Never had any damage with a Calzone case.

Favorite quotes about music? – Perhaps my favorite quote about music was not said about music at all. The great Lawrence P. Berra while watching a young hitter try to copy a famous player’s batting stance said “If you can’t imitate him, don’t copy him”.

When not playing music? – I am a rabid baseball fan and an avid reader. I sometimes have 2 or 3 books going at once including books on space science, evolutionary science, history and the occasional murder mystery.
I also dig trail hiking, camping and birding. Playing and writing music takes place in too many windowless rooms. Got to get outdoors.

 


Find out more about Kenny at his profile here, and visit Kenny’s Website

And of course be sure to check out the rest of the interviews from the JazzBariSax.com interview series.

 

JazzBariSax.com Interview Series: Brian Landrus

landrusNext up in the JazzBariSax.com interview series is a very hard working next generation baritone saxophonist. Aside from having released several albums as a leader, Brian Landrus tours the world as part of Esperanza Spalding’s latest band. He took a few minutes to give us some insight into his world. Check it out!

 


 

Why the baritone?
The first time I played a baritone was when I was sixteen. It was an old silver conn keyed up to Eb. I turned to my friends and said “I think I’m supposed to be a baritone player”. They all laughed and asked me to stop playing cause it sounded awful 🙂
I bought the axe and played it for years until I was 20 and got a nightly casino show gig where I needed a low A. I then bought a SX 90 Keilwerth with a bank loan.

The same year I was playing tenor with all the Motown bands that’d come through town and when they found out I owned a bari they had me play that instead because they all said its easy to find good tenor players but strong bari players are rare.

When I went to NEC for grad school Bob Brookmeyer encouraged me to focus on Bari and bass clarinet because he said he heard something new with me. That’s been endlessly inspirational.

Baritone has always felt the most natural even when I wasn’t able to maneuver like I heard. I fought it for awhile and then gave in to what I always knew. It’s my voice, and by far my favorite horn.

Favorite recordings of and/or with baritone saxophone?
Hamiet Bluiett-Birthright

Gerry Mulligan’s complete concert jazz band-Complete Verve

Pepper Adams-10 to 4 at the 5 spot

Serge Challoff-Blue Serge

Leo Parker-Let Me Tell You Bout It

George Benson’s Cookbook

Duke Ellington’s Far East Suite

Henk Van Twillert-Bach Cello Suites

What’s your equipment/set up?
I play on a low Bb Selmer Super Action from 1948. Its such a free blowing horn. I have a low Bb VI from 1954 that I also love. The old Conns from 1930-1945 are also amazing and I had one for years.

I play on mouthpieces made by Fred Lebayle. My main piece is a Rubber AT 10. His new metal LR III is also incredible.

Rico Jazz Select filed 4M reeds

Ishimori silver wood stone ligatures

Low A, Low Bb, or “My favorite horn is the one in front of me” ?
Low Bb. The Bb has a free blowing, and more of a large tenor feel to me. It sings more. The low A is a much different horn. It sounds lower and heavier to me, and has more resistance. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, just my taste. I have owned many Low A horns and still have one for the absolutely mandatory gigs. I’ve learned to not ask the bandleader and they rarely notice.

Anything specific to the baritone you recommend practicing?
Long tones throughout the entire range and focusing on the bottom of your axe as home base. Long tones originating from the fundamental tone (low Bb or low A) makes a solid foundation to jump off from. Use a tuner and listen for the tone to open up with beauty. This will build your flexibility and awareness.

Tips for young baritone saxophonists?
Listen to all the greats. This website has amazing resources to find all the cats that’ve laid the foundation for all of us. Learn the history and carve your own voice from what you learn. Jerry Bergonzi told me something that always sticks out. “We are who we are from three things: who we listen too, what we practice, and who we play with.” That seems poignant to me more than ever.

Favorite venue/place to play?
I’d have to say that out of everywhere I’ve been I really love Paris and Barcelona. London’s Royal Festival Hall might be my favorite venue I’ve ever played. Truly gorgeous hall.

When travelling, does the horn go under or in the plane?
When I fly internationally I put my horn in a Crohnkite gig bag and put that inside an Anvil (Calzone) case and check it. Sometimes the horn needs adjustments on the road because of this. I had it worked on twice on my last three week Europe tour. It’s the only super safe way to go. I have a magnificent Manning fiberglass case that I use for all my US flying. The main issue for me is that I always have at least two horns (usually three) with me. Bari, bass clarinet, and alto flute is most common. The Manning fits in the overhead of almost all planes but in Europe and Asia some planes have tiny compartments-regardless of the size of the plane. Gate checking is never a sure thing because they’ll sometimes put it in the regular cargo hold and you pick it up from the belt anyways.

Favorite quotes about music?
“Practice makes perfect”

“If you work as hard as you possibly can, it’ll all work out the way it’s supposed to.”

What do you do when not playing music?
I love exercise and go nuts if I haven’t worked out. I love pushing myself to run farther and lift more. That helps me stay sane on the road.

What are you currently working on?
I recently recorded the third album for my record label BlueLand Records. It’s titled “Mirage” and will be released June 25, 2013. It’s my Kaleidoscope quintet plus string quartet. I’m currently touring with Esperanza Spalding and planing a new trio record for this summer.

 


Find out more about Brian at his profile here, and on his website!

And of course be sure to check out the rest of the interviews from the JazzBariSax.com interview series.

JazzBariSax.com Interview Series: Claire Daly

dalyWelcome to the JazzBariSax.com interview series, where we get to know some of the practitioners of the big horn. Up this week is Claire Daly. If you don’t already know of Claire Daly, you probably should:

“Claire Daly’s first CD as a leader, “Swing Low” (1999) is in the William Jefferson Clinton Library as a CD significant to him while in office.  She has won Downbeat Magazine “Rising Star” 8 times in 10 years.  Her most recent CD, “Baritone Monk” hit number one on the CMJ Jazz Charts, and rose to number nine on the Jazz Week Charts. It is sponsored by the North Coast Brewery, makers of Brother Thelonious Ale and all proceeds from the CD go to the Monk Institute for jazz education.  She was the Jazz Journalist Association’s Baritonist of the Year in 2005.”

 


 

Why the baritone?  Why not?  I mean, if you don’t mind hanging 20-some pounds of metal around your neck and blowing air into it for many hours of your life, why WOULDN’T you play baritone?  It makes a lot of sense to me.

How did you find your way to baritone?  I worked my way down. Started on alto as a kid. Found the bari in my 20s. Never looked back.

Low A or Low Bb?  I play low A Selmers. I had a low Bb Selmer, but it wasn’t a great horn. I think I could adjust to whatever I had to – I’ve just always had Selmers.  I am not a big equipment geek. Find something that plays and play it. My setup is a Low A Mark VI and a Jody Jazz DVNY 7* mouthpiece. I love it.  Before I got it I used a custom Phil Barone for 10 years. It was also a great piece. I have used Bari plastic reeds predominantly for over 20 years.

Anything specific to the baritone you recommend practicing?  I’m a big fan of the longtones. They do so much for your personal sound, as well as opening up the horn, your breathing, your connection to the instrument, etc.  I tell students: “If you do 15 minutes of longtones a day, your life will change”.  I believe there is a meditative quality to doing them. Also, you can know everything there is to know about music, but if your sound sucks, nobody will want to hear you.

Tips for young baritone saxophonists?  Best advice I ever got was “Just keep playing”. It’s worked so far. [George] Garzone says “Just keep the horn in your mouth”. I’m with him.

Favorite venue/place to play? Could be anywhere a good, musical gig happens. Sometimes the fancier situations have other pressures attached. I’ve had some great gigs in unlikely little spots. It’s the music more than the venue, and a great gig can happen anywhere.

Favorite recordings?  I hate this question because it changes regularly. I love most of the bari players, and I love many styles of jazz music (and more). Just start googling. You will be led.

Baritones and airplanes?  Bad combination, but so far, I’ve only had to buy my horn a ticket once. Twice, really, but I talked ‘em into refunding one of them. I take it on the plane with me. Andrew Hadro and I threw a party for bari players and every conversation in the house ended up on this topic.  It’s our cross in life to bear.

Favorite quotes about music?  “Writing about music is like dancing about architecture”

When not playing music?  I wish I had some other cool hobby at this point. I’m looking for one. Anybody? It feels to me like I’m always either playing, listening to, teaching or doing something music related. I’d like to even just be able to take a vacation.  The other night I was walking home from teaching and jumped into a comedy club and saw Bobcat Goldwaithe (or whatever his name is). He was actually pretty funny. I’d like to be a comedienne, but I think it’d be like another music career. Lots of “uphill”.

Bonus Question: “A penguin walks through that door right now wearing a sombrero.  What does he say and why is he here?”  I think the penguin would say “Quick! Run out of here before someone tries to give you a day job!”

 


Find out more about Claire and her latest CD, “Baritone Monk” on her website! Also be sure to check out her profile here on the site, and some of her upcoming gigs on the Gigs listing page.