Click on the picture to download and read the article from the June 2018 issue of DownBeat Magazine. Article by Bill Milkowski.
Click on the picture to download and read the article from the June 2018 issue of DownBeat Magazine. Article by Bill Milkowski.
Brian Landrus has a very nice album out recently that involved quite a bit of orchestral work that took some time to write, prepare and record. Brian has been kind enough to provide JazzBariSax.com with the baritone parts for his baritone saxophone Concerto ‘Jeru’ that is part of his latest album so other baritonists can download, view, and practice the parts along with his record.
Click to download the Landrus’ Jeru Concerto Baritone Parts
I try to make it apparent that I (Andrew Hadro), am simply the curator of this website, JazzBariSax.com. I inherited this site, and have done my best to add to and improve it. I encourage as much as I can other baritonists to submit content, news, and information, and we are fortunate that so many have done so.
That being said, I would like to take the opportunity to share something of my own.
Today, April 1st, is the ‘official’ release date for my second album. 🎉
I’ll thank you in advance for the inevitable congratulations – I am fortunate to have kind internet friends, I do appreciate the sentiment very much.
April Fools seemed as fitting of a release date as any – release dates being mostly arbitrary vestiges of a once-existent jazz industry. The title of my album is For Us, The Living II: Marcescence. Marcescence refers to when leaves die and wither upon a tree but do not fall off – My own semi-private joke about how it feels to study, practice and perform original acoustic music. I don’t mean to be overly-bitter, but having a dark sense of humor seems to help with being a musician these days.
It’s four years to the day since my first album released – It took over two full years to make this album. I wanted something I could keep going back to and work on until I felt it was done, rather than lining up a day in the studio and hoping for the best. (And why limit the self-deprecating torture of hearing yourself play to a single session when you can stretch it out for months?)
A lot of thought and production went into the album, but at the core of it, it is a duo album with my friend and pianist Julian Shore. While I am constantly in doubt of my own abilities and ideas, I trust Julian’s taste and ears more than most things in my world. Rogerio Boccato was kind enough to add his percussion to the tracks that required more than I initially could foresee. Michael Perez-Cisneros is the first person to ever capture the sound of my saxophone in a way that matches what I want to hear in my head, the audio quality and sound of this album makes me as proud as the performance on it.
As with my first album, I recorded compositions I’ve collected from living composers. A couple of my own ideas, but mostly those of other people who write beautiful music that doesn’t get heard as much as it could. I like the idea of recording, or re-recording others’ works – Why must jazz artists all write AND compose? One could spend a lifetime dedicated to either pursuit.
I was recently interviewed by a journalist for an upcoming article in Downbeat Magazine about being an independent/DIY musician. So I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about the last 15 years I’ve spent in New York City working as a musician and damn near every other aspect of the music business as well. Many people marvel at my Jack of All Trades abilities – Web designer, production assistant, arranger, tech support, interviewer, graphic designer, composer, consultant, teacher, administrator, product specialist, saxophonist, editor, band leader, record label manager, crowd funding planner, distribution/shipping lackie – I would give it all up to be master of one – and am slowly shedding the parts I am fortunate to not need anymore. This history and ability to see so many different facets of music has just made me want to do something different with my output.
There is no Kickstarter. This album won’t be on iTunes, Spotify, Apple Music, or Amazon. There aren’t really liner notes. I sent it to only the few reviewers I respect or who were kind enough to listen to my last album. I won’t be posting outside of my own site the inevitably positive reviews (has anyone read a jazz review that was incredibly negative recently?), and I won’t boast to you how well its doing on the radio (although this I am actually genuinely optimistic and thankful for).
You can hear the album on my website (http://www.AndrewHadro.com). I don’t expect you all to buy it, but as I said of my last album, if you think its good, buy it for a friend. I don’t expect this album to reach the far corners of the universe, but I will be pleased if the people who appreciate beautiful sounds made with acoustic instruments hear and enjoy the album.
For those of you that made it this far, I invite you to my performance at the Cornelia St Cafe in New York City to celebrate the new work. Ingrid Jensen is kind enough to lend her beautiful sound as a special guest on Wednesday April 18th.
Thank you for your time,
Baritone saxophonist Eden Bareket shares videos of some interesting and unusual things he practices, often working on extreme altissmo. He has gathered them all in a YouTube playlist to check out. If you’re looking for some new things to spend time on in the shed there are some excellent ideas here.
Check out the full playlist at: http://bit.ly/Practicebarisax
Below is an example from the playlist:
Leo Parker is definitely among the greats when it comes to baritone saxophonists, although he is mostly known only to dedicated baritone saxophonists. He passed away at a somewhat early age and only produced a few different albums under his own name. But fortunately we now have a new resource for finding recordings with Leo on them.
Baritone saxophonist Frank Basile has completed was must have been a massive project to compile Leo Parker’s complete discography. Including all recordings he appeared on, both as a sideman, co-leader, and as a leader. The amount of research that Frank did is astounding and this is a great document for those of us interested in the original Leo P.
You can check out the fruit of Frank’s labor over at jazzdiscography.com:
It took longer than it perhaps should of, but with the new addition from Maximiliano D.L. we now have a Harry Carney solo transcription in the repository. Since Harry almost universally agreed to be the father of modern jazz baritone saxophone, i’d suggest everyone check it out! Its from a beautiful album where Harry got some much deserved solo time with strings.
Head on over to the transcriptions page to check it out!
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.
Rampone & Cazzani is an Italian company that has been making instruments for well over a century. Recently they have been putting quite a bit of work into their saxophones, and my opinion is that this is one of the finest modern baritone saxophones available anywhere. In this era where there are more new saxophone companies than ever before this is quite an achievement.
One of the key things that makes the Rampone horn different is that it is completely hand built. It comes from a small artisan workshop in Italy. The bells are hand hammered and everything made by hand. Many of the newer saxophones are all built in factories in Asia. Even ones that claim to be hand assembled have quite a bit of machine-based work in them. Repairmen have grumbled about build quality, materials, and repair-ability of these horns, although that is not something I’m overly qualified to comment on.
The modern Asian horns all play pretty well, they are generally priced fairly well and look great – but they all play exactly the same. (To clarify I mean the horns coming out of China and Taiwan, less so Japanese insturments). If you blindfolded me I’m not sure I could easily tell them apart. None of them really stands out as different and honestly they are all basically copies of Selmers – with some small differences here and there and a huge range of aesthetic finishes and options. Not to mention more and more keys (do you really need a high G key?). As baritone players even the companies that are making decent horns these days either don’t put as much time into their baritone, don’t offer a professional level horn, or only offer a Low A option.
A really important difference and distinction between saxophone brands and models is the shape of the bore. The shape of the bore determines a lot about a saxophone, especially its sound. Conn’s, Martin’s and Kings all have different bore shapes and dimensions that the Selmer horns. Most modern horn are modeled after the Selmer dimensions since the Mark VI is so highly regarded and was played by many of the saxophone greats. However baritone players have often sought out slightly different horns than alto and tenor players, often favoring Conn’s (Mulligan, Temperley, Carney, Smulyan etc).
Rampone offers their baritone with many different options, finishes, materials and offers both a Low A and Low Bb variation. I’ve had a chance to play the horn many times and it’s by far my favorite modern horn to play and very comparable to my vintage Conn baritone, albeit with modern keywork and so many fewer dings and dents. I also recently had a chance to speak with Claudio who along with his father are the makers of these new horns. He is incredibly knowledgeable about saxophones and modern players and did not have the snake-oil salesman aura about him that a lot of other modern horn manufacturers do.
When playing the horn it had a huge, robust sound. Lots of projection, and maybe a somewhat brighter sound than my Conn – although this could also be related to the silver plating. The neck is very long, even longer than my Conn, so it had a slightly different feel to it and need the harness/neckstrap to be let out a bit, but was fairly comfortable to play, and the modern keywork was much appreciated, especially compared to an unmodified Conn layout. The horn comes with a beautiful hard case, covered in leather, and on wheels. The case in and of itself is a huge step up for a baritone! The model I tried is their R1 Jazz saxophone, it was fully silver plated, although the neck had a slightly different finish to it. The whole horn and especially their engravings are beautiful – as one would expect from Italian craftsmen. Check out the gallery below for all of the pictures!
The folks over at Rovner are handling the US distribution for Rampone horns and have been travelling around to some shows with them to let people try them out. If you get a chance, I would really recommend trying these unique horns.
You can take a look at them over on their site as well:
Jazz is a disproportionately male genre, at least in the US and I suspect most places. As such, it is unfortunately not shocking, but disappointing, to learn that the ‘scene’ or industry is rife with sexism against women.
Sometimes its struggling with the absurd assumption that women can’t play as well, and sometimes its just dealing with everyday stupid and inappropriate behavior from teachers, colleagues, promoters, or anyone else – I’m sure many other scenarios that I can’t even imagine.
I would very much like to present Lauren Sevian‘s recent story about her own experiences:
Sexism in Jazz, From the Conservatory to the Club: One Saxophonist Shares Her Story
Playing and promoting jazz, improvised music, and even just acoustic music is already an uphill battle. The negativity from sexism doesn’t help anyone and can be incredibly damaging. Lauren’s story is just one of many, and honestly by far probably not the worst out there, hopefully with the recent attention to this issue things will change for the better.
Those who know of Leo Parker know he has influenced many modern baritonists, despite not having wide recognition for most jazz listeners. The Jazzwax.com blog has put together an excellent article about Leo Parker and some of his records as a leader, including some interesting back story to the true composers of Miles Davis’ supposed song “Walkin'”. There is also some excellent info on Gene Ammons’, one of Leo’s frequent collaborators. If you aren’t familiar with Leo Parker, this is a great place to start.
In a lesson with Ronnie Cuber, I once asked him if he like Leo Parker. He laughed and told me that he couldn’t listen to Leo Parker or he would start trying to sound too much like him! I guess that is as close to a compliment as he would go. Gary Smulyan and almost every other baritonist of note seems to speak highly of him as well.