Category: Reviews

Check out Banta Boxes!

Alden Banta is a fantastic baritone saxophonist and doubler (many times over) in the New York City area. He plays just about all of the woodwinds and can often be seen inhabiting the pit at a Broadway musical, or holding down the baritone chair in some of the city’s finest big bands. On top of all that he is busy with another new little project – his Banta Box.

I recently ordered one of his Banta Boxes from him. These are small open-topped wood boxes that very securely clip onto a music stand (see the pictures below). They are perfect for keeping all of the little accessories that often float about a music stand in a convenient location – reeds, caps, phones, pencils, metronomes, tuners, headphones, …beverages? If you suffer from WMS (Wandering Metronome Syndrome) like I do, then this accessory will really help.

After living with and using the Banta Box for a couple weeks now I am thrilled with it. It keeps the music stand clear of everything that would normally be constantly falling off or blocking the music and keeps me focused on the task at hand. The construction is quite sturdy, yet the whole thing is very light. While its a little large to travel with to every gig, for an at home music stand or perhaps longer engagement (especially one that involves doubles) its a valuable tool. The felt on the bottom of the inside is an especially nice touch as it prevents any noise and clanking when dropping things in,

They are individually signed and numbered, and built to order by Alden himself. He offers two sizes 6×12 and 6×15, and you can even pick the color of the felt.

If you’re interested in one contact Alden – abanta71 @ gmail.com

Andrew Hadro
Curator, JazzBariSax.com

 

Custom necks for Conn 12M’s now available!

I’ve long admired the work of the ProShop that is part of Music Medic, run by Curt Altarac. They are always doing interesting, fun and creative projects. They have a great series of repair articles, offer great repair tools and supplies for professional and DIY repairmen, provide incredible insight into the major overhaul of an original Adolph Sax saxophone, and are always releasing innovative new products – and some wacky ones like the keyless overtone sax.

Having met Curt and a lot of his team at various saxophone events around the country, I can personally attest to their passion and knowledge about the saxophone. In Georgia recently I geeked out with a fellow saxophonist about the intricacies of building sax necks and how they have changed over the decades.

brassbrightneckAnother thing I love about Music Medic is that Curt is a baritone saxophonist himself, so the big horn does not get neglected the same way it might in other situations. The most recent news on this front is that Music Medic’s ProShop is now offering custom made necks for Conn 12M baritone saxophones!
Check them out!

The neck is important on any saxophone, but from my experience the neck on 12M’s makes a huge difference, and an under-performing neck can ruin an otherwise good horn, especially intonation wise. So I am happy to see a new option. I hope to get my hands on one or two of these to test out in the future, and I will be sure to post an update or demonstration if I do.

If you get a chance to try them out, let us know how they are!

-Andrew Hadro
Curator, JazzBariSax.com

New CD from Larry Dickson

larrydicksonA reader and fellow baritone saxophonist, Larry Dickson, recently sent us a copy of his new album, “Second Springtime”. Larry seems to have a vast knowledge of the baritone saxophone and its various practitioners and it shows through the varied song selection on the album. There is everything from original music, to a Pepper Adams composition, some Ellington, and even a beautiful ballad that you may have heard Mulligan and co perform on the album “What Is There to Say?”.

Definitely worth a listen from all fans of the baritone saxophone. Its available on Larry’s CD Baby page.

Brian Landrus features the deep end

landrusdeepBaritone saxophonist and multi-instrumentalist Brian Landrus has recently released a new album titled “The Deep Below”. It features him on the low range of woodwinds, baritone sax, bass sax, bass clarinet and bass flute. This release comes shortly after Brian’s tie with Chris Cheek for Rising Star in the Downbeat Critic Polls.

Definitely an album worth giving some attention to. Check it out on amazon!

New album from Glenn Wilson

TIMELY CD800S 10Glenn Wilson is a long standing proponent of the baritone sax with multiple albums as a leader and an extensive discography He is adding onto his already impressive collection with a new quintet album titled, Timely. Its a live recording – It swings like crazy and has a really interesting line up of tunes. Check out Glenn’s website here, the album is out today, so be sure to pick up a copy!

New album from Adrian Barnett

Its About TimeBaritone saxophonist Adrian Barnett has released a new album called “It’s About Time”. Its got a lot great arrangements of original composition, mostly swinging but in a variety of different feels and approaches. And of course, lots of great solo work on the baritone.

With him are also a few other horn players, alto/tenor, trumpet and trombone and  a nice rhythm section that does well in both a straight ahead set up and different configurations with organ and electric bass as well.

We highly suggest you head on over to Adrian’s website and have a listen. Always nice to hear some fresh writing and arranging that features the baritone.

Have you checked out the Mary Joyce project?

Claire Daly’s Mary Joyce project is full of great music, and an incredible back story to boot.
“Saxophonist Claire Daly has always been a true original and, as it turns out, part of that is in her DNA. Mary Joyce Project: Nothing To Lose is a musical/genealogical journey through the life of Daly’s father’s first cousin, Mary Joyce, who lived her life the way she wanted to, rather than succumbing to societal expectations for women during the ’30s and beyond. As the press materials note, “She satisfied a restless and courageous spirit with a wide range of adventurous exploits—Hollywood actress, nurse, stewardess, bush pilot, and bar owner. She was the first non-native Alaskan to dogsled the 1000 mile run between Juneau and Fairbanks (in 1936), the first ham radio operator in the Alaskan Territories, and the only woman to run supplies for the Allies by dogsled in World War II.” ”
Read the rest of the description on AllAboutJazz.com

And check out a live performance of the music:

Grab the album from Claire’s website too!

New album from Ryan Middagh

cb_coverbookletSaxophonist and transcription contributor, Ryan Middagh has a new album out which features him on the baritone saxophone as well as well known saxophonist Jeff Coffin (Bela Fleck, Dave Matthews) and his drummer Tom Giampietro.

The title is “Colorado Brew”, an homage to the huge selection of wonderful craft beers to come from that state.

It offers a rare tenor/baritone front line that shouldn’t be missed. Its available on iTunes, Amazon, and CDBaby – go check it out!

New album from baritone saxophonist, Charles Evans!

subliminal leaps coverCharles Evans’ last album garnered a rare 5 star review from DownBeat magazine. His newest album looks to be no less impressive. It features Charles along with fellow saxophonist Dave Liebman.

To celebrate the new release there is a CD release party at ShapeShifterLab in Brooklyn.

Be sure to check out this new album, and head to the CD release party for some excellent baritone saxophone performances.

 

CEvans sept 20th poster

A new saxophone harness from Vandoren!

bgharness

BG’s current harness

Many baritone saxophonists use a harness or an elaborate saxophone stand to help cope with the sheer weight and size of the big horn. There are a number of harnesses and special neck straps out there, and each has its own set of drawbacks. Using a saxophone stand while playing has some obvious problems. Awkward to handle, difficult to move, extremely inconvenient to transport, and lacking the option to play standing up are among them. Many traditional harnesses force you to hold the saxophone  dead center instead of to the side as some people prefer. And even with some adjustment to get the horn in the right place players may find that they can’t move the saxophone without adjusting several straps. Placement aside, the next big concern is breathing constriction. Some harnesses fit well until the player takes in a large breath and then they find that the harness is constricting their lung expansion, or worse, their diaphragm. On a big horn that needs a big sound this is one of the worst handicaps a player can face. A number of players that use harnesses don’t actually prefer them, but find they need to use something other than a neck strap for physical reasons, either neck pain, or lower back pain.

New Solution, what is it?

FNH100_front

FRONT – Vandoren Saxophone Support System Harness

Vandoren, the renowned reed, mouthpiece, ligature, and accessory maker has jumped into the fray with a new solution. Their offering is unlike most harnesses and neck straps out there now and features some very new and exciting solutions. For a full rundown of all of the features and a demonstration, check out the video from Vandoren below. The harness works by transferring the weight of the saxophone up through the shoulders, and uses a counter-lever system to absorb much of the weight to the belt where it unlikely to cause injury. The harness is adjustable in front just like a neck strap, and the slats in back automatically adjust for the player’s height. The belt strap is also adjustable and comes with an optional extension.

The harness folds up very impressively, and fits in its sleek carrying bag that will easily fit in to the bell of a baritone, and even a tenor saxophone.

FNH100_back

BACK – Vandoren Saxophone Support System Harness

Does it work?

In a word, yes. The way the harness suspends the saxophone allows just as much freedom of motion as a traditional neck strap, if not more, since weight distribution is not an issue. You can play with he horn in the front, to the side, lifted up, sideways… whatever. As for the weight distribution, the harness was very comfortable to use. I recently had a chance to use it on a 4 hour gig, standing the whole time and was pleased with how well I felt at the end. But the benefit really hit the next day when I put my horn together for rehearsal. As soon as I put my old neck strap on and clipped into the horn I immediately realized how much more comfortable the harness was.

 

The production manager of Vandoren explains and demonstrates the new harness:

JazzBariSax.com curator, Andrew Hadro takes the new harness out for a spin: