You’Re in russia, okay, where in russia, saint petersburg, ah okay, i’ve been there played a couple of times there i’ve been to uh. Well, i was there for a few days. I played uh. I don’t remember now. If i did just one concert or more played the in st petersburg played in moscow and uh moscow and played in um arkhangel arkhangelsk, i’m sure there’s terrible pronunciation.
Well, you’re asking the wrong guy sakanga yeah it’s in the north yeah, okay yeah, and you mentioned you saw the interview i was doing with sammy remington right, yeah yeah. He i love his playing, he’s wonderful and that’s a very interesting instrument. He has it’s like. It seems like an historical instrument, but apparently he had it made new. If i understand correct, if i understood correctly well, i i i don’t remember already but yeah it was a special thing.
Yeah yeah, i guess you’ve had a lot of people on the show. I’Ve i’ve seen a number of my friends. I saw that were we’re on there, too dan levinson and dan block and so on and so forth. You found those interviews by by hanging on youtube. So looking for something i guess i went just, i guess i went to whatever link he sent and uh.
I saw a whole pile of stuff. I didn’t have time to watch all of it but uh. I watched the sammy remington thing. He’S he’s an interesting guy. Yeah he’s in sweden not not too far away from where i am oh, really he’s in sweden yeah is there a house he’s a beautiful he’s, a beautiful player, not enough people know about him absolutely yeah.
I think most people just who are into that kind of style in jail, are aware of, but but the others not necessarily yeah, which is too bad because uh, you know i don’t. I don’t pay much attention to style. I just like to hear uh beautiful music delivered uh in a heartfelt way and uh, and i think he does that, so it doesn’t matter so much to me. You know whether it’s this or that and i’m actually i’m excited to uh is with you because i mean we all know that you’re playing so many instruments on such a high level, but on this channel we can focus on on the clarinet and what i’m aware Of uh is the alto clarinet. I found some clips where you played and the targato we can take that that into into our chat and um.
Maybe you tell us uh when you started playing music and what actually was was the very first instrument that you that he picked up or when, when the clarinet enters um, whatever clarinet, that was sure, um sure i’d be happy to and by the way i have. I have a little show and tell here of some of my more unusual clarinets i’ve got about. I don’t know 10 instruments here so later we can do have a little spell on hell. Um. To answer your question, i started on the alto saxophone uh.
Most of the really good clarinet players started on clarinet because it’s easier to go the other way, but i didn’t do that um. I started on the apple sacks and i didn’t get into the clarinet until high school, so i’ve always been behind with the clarinet. I still today, i’m far behind my abilities on saxophone on the clarinet and and i go through periods where i i don’t play it much like right now. I haven’t been playing it very much except a little bit on my symphony, recording i’m working on a 15-year project, creating a symphony note by note instrument by instrument slowly over a period of time without any written music. Just just improvised just listening and adding, but very but in a very, very careful way.
So that’s a really long term project and it’s up to about 100 instruments now that i’ve used on this thing, uh four, four and a half minutes of music. So i’ve been using the clarinet in that, along with contrabass clarinet and bass, clarinet um, but you know this my uh field, our field of work has been pretty well closed down, so i’m not going out and performing like i was so. The clarinet is being used mainly just for that type of thing here. In my what i call my laboratory, which is my studio out back so anyway, the the uh i i started on an outdoor, i started playing clarinet in high school. I bought a used uh metal clown.
I’Ve always liked metal, clarinets, they’ll, never crack and uh. I got a betany um three star, which is a student horn. I got it used for 30 35. I think – and it played pretty well – and i used that for for many years um, but that company was a boston company betany. They actually made a really good metal clarinet, which i have a couple of versions of down in my basement called the silva bet.
I don’t know if you know about it. The silver bet it’s a very heavy metal clarinet. I have one of them comes apart in the middle and the other one doesn’t, but it’s very well very strongly built big, full sound, really nice instrument, very professional quality metal. Clarinet, so i have a couple of those now um and uh. I just kind of got into it slowly and then, once i got into college, i started playing trumpet and other things, and i don’t know it just grew and it just grew and grew because i love sound and i’m sort of addicted.
I shouldn’t say: sort of i’m an i’m a sound addict, so i’m addicted to all these different instruments and anything that i find that i can play, even if i can only play it a little bit in a certain way, i’ll i’ll use it. You know like trombone, i mean i have extremely limited capabilities on it, but in my symphony i can drop it in in just a couple of little places just for a little r and and it it makes the piece come to life. So some of these, i think of my instrument, world as like a solar system and some of these instruments orbit very close to me, they’re very near i could just reach out and touch them at any time and they’re part of my sound world all the time. All the time and there’s other instruments that orbit very far away and they only come in – they only come in and get used on certain occasions and then there’s instruments that are more like coming from the oort cloud. If you know what i’m talking about, where comets come from, okay way out and part of the beyond the planets, you know and and those instruments might only get used once in in 10, 20 years, so it’s a kind of a revolving system and you and you’re Also, inventing new instruments is that correct?
Well, not as much as i wish. I have i mean i have ideas. I have all kinds of ideas for things, but i just i never have the time uh. So, no i’m not really so much inventing things. A lot of people think that i would love to build instruments.
It’S just something else. I need extra lifetimes to do. But what about that beautiful instrument that sounded to me kind of like a bassoon but looked like a bass taragata with the tenor sex neck that he played um? Was that a bass, clarinet or a modified? Do you have a dress like this right here yeah?
You can’t really see me yeah, it’s too big, barely but uh man. That was, i enjoyed so much to listen to that clip where he played in hungary. I think it was oh. I know the clip you’re talking about with uh uh, with uh, with angular rogue yeah yeah this. This is the.
This is the target. This is the well okay. This is a. Is this a base target, or what is that name? So these are clarinet.
These are clarinet-related instruments, and – and this this is the uh regular-sized targato – that i got from joe mourinho, who was the last clarinet player with louis armstrong. He was hungarian, he was of hungarian descent and he loved everything, hungarian, and so he loved this instrument. He didn’t play it very much, but uh it’s it has a conical bore like a saxophone, but the fingering is is like albert’s system, clarinet yeah. I i can see it’s a simple, so that’s the normal target though, and then uh there’s a fellow there’s a that that one there is a very historical yeah. It is so instrument and then there’s a fellow in hungary.
That’S been making instruments for me named gregorus powell, and so this is one of the terrigatos that he’s made yeah it’s more of a brighter, lighter color right. The wood yeah well he’s got different colors of wood. You know yeah, you sound gorgeous on that target too. In hungary i listen to is just fabulous. Thank you.
So then this is the base version, which was extremely rare, but then he started making them and he’s made a certain number of these, and so i don’t know if you can see, but it’s like a it’s. The length of a tenor sax, it’s a wonderful instrument. I don’t have a mouthpiece on it right now or i would play it for you, but it’s uh, the bigger ones are, are are made more like saxophones fingerings are like saxophones or clothes yeah. The small ones are like albert’s system clarinet but of course the big ones they don’t have open holes because it would be too big, so they just made them even the original ones were made just more like saxophone close to saxophone fingerings. So now i’ve got i’ve been able to get this man to make me uh other sizes of instruments.
So he made me a a uh. Well first, i got him to make. I helped him design it a little bit. I got him to make a contrabass taragato. So that is uh more like a baritone saxophone.
If you can picture that, it’s like a giant wooden baritone, so they’re they’re, amazing, that’s where the roadie comes in right. It’S straight. You know straight uh, tube all the way down and at the top it loops around. Like a baritone sax, except that that’s all wood, it’s pretty amazing. I don’t have it here to show you it’s back in my laboratory and then the most recent thing i have been working on is a sopranino, so he made one it’s a little saponino targato uh, but he needs some improvements.
He’S he’s working on uh. You know the next, the next version of it and uh, so that’s kind of fun and exciting stuff. So i have a whole family of these. Now he may he made me an alto also, so we’ve got uh. I helped him with the measurements for that.
So right now one two three four five sizes and plus a couple different versions of some of those sizes. So it’s a whole. It’S a whole area of interest that i really love. I love these these instruments, as you mentioned before. Is it because you’re looking always for new, sounds or is it just the interesting curiosity that you can play a new instrument, another instrument, the new fingering and you uh whatever it is, it all starts with sound.
You know i mean i have my head is always full of ideas for music, so every sound i every instrument i encounter it’s right away. I i can use that. You know. I know where i can. I know where i know how i can use that sound after i have to have it it’s like that, but at the same time i’ve always felt that musical instruments are perhaps the best use that humans make of material substances.
You may not kill others. Yes, exactly. There’S probably nothing better that you can do with material materiality than build beautiful musical instruments, they’re they’re all like sculptures. They they seem to speak even just sitting there without anybody playing them and uh, i’m just fascinated with them, but i’m not a. I don’t consider myself a collector because i’m not one of these people that uh takes all this pride and likes to pose with big pictures of big spread out instruments and look at me – and i have this and i have that – and i own this and i Own that you actually have a lot of systems.
Yes, your tools, that’s why i call my studio, a laboratory people say: oh wow, you’ve got a museum here, and i say no. This is not a museum. This is a laboratory. Everything is here to be used. Everything’S here for because it has a purpose because it has a story, a sound, a voice that wants to speak.
That’S why these things are here: they’re, not under glass, and you know, put gloves on and look what i own and i have this. I have that. That’S not what it is. These things are here for for their uh voice for their voices, but they’re, really beautiful, amazing objects too yeah, i’m sure – and can i ask, is those i mean those skills they evolved over years. Obviously, to be able to play different instruments.
Was it uh like that, like? Were you able to play different instruments when you were 20 and it helped you to play different kinds of gigs on different instruments or what was it was going another road? Well, it started before 20 I mean by the time i got to high school. I was starting to to really so ninth grade. I was starting to really open up to the possibilities of sound, and i was you know i had started on alto within a year.
I took a baritone okay and then, when i got to high school, i started in on the tenor, which really became my primary instrument, but my high school also had a bass saxophone, and i was completely amazed when i saw that thing and i started taking it Home and carrying it, you know i walked to school and back, and i would carry this giant case. That’S why i’m still slouched over today and i’m still sleeping you know by the time. I discovered that, and that was such a different, sound such a different world than the alpha sax that i started on and yet the fingerings are pretty much the same. You know you, you have to it’s not automatic that you could play it, but if you really want to play you, you can transfer a lot of your knowledge to that instrument. So right away um the idea got lodged in my brain that okay, you cannot just play one instrument, but that one instrument can be the start of a whole world of instruments, and you just transfer what you know and then you learn what you need to learn And you add another sound, and so i started with this really ninth grade, one that got going.
I think that’s when i got my clarinet. I started fooling around with flute and i started playing vibes. I put a little quartet together and i would write music and i played would play vibes and marimba um badly [ Music ], but you got to start somewhere and uh yeah. I was just then it became by the time i got to college. It was out of control it just quickly spiraled out of control and in college i went to berkeley college of music.
I had a roll, a big rolling cart and i would roll it around the halls with you know: tuba and double bell: deuphonium and the baritone and tenor all in hard wooden cases stacked up on this card. I would roll this thing around. Sometimes i’d have the big tuba big, marching two over my shoulders and people would laugh at me. You know, but is there an instrument that didn’t appeal to you like one that stands out that you never touched or never found a way to somehow uh? You know what i wouldn’t say didn’t appeal, but the instrument i never took to that i probably should have.
I know i should have – is the piano. That’S what everybody’s supposed to play and my mother actually was a piano teacher and she gave me a few lessons and i just never went anywhere with it and to this day i just don’t play piano. I don’t use it to write, i don’t uh. If i really have to i’ll sit down and try to figure out a couple of chords, but it’s very slow and painstaking because i have to go, let’s see, f, sharp! That’S this one [ Music, ] g – is that it’s like that, and so that’s the instrument that i just i should play, and i just don’t somehow too normal, maybe or obvious too many you make keys on it too many kids, okay, interesting, i mean in terms Of sound, you can manipulate a lot of sounds there too, with plucking the strings or uh.
It’S interesting that i mean you, don’t even have to do that. It’S a world of sound, even even without that look, i love the piano. I’M not saying i don’t like it. I i i just uh it’s interesting. It always felt like this big hill that i never climbed.
Do you remember when you started working as a musician? Well, my first gig was uh in high school. With that little quartet that i mentioned we got, we got to get well, i played vibes, alto, clarinet, different things and we we got hired to play some school function, some party or dance or no, it wouldn’t have been a dance because we we weren’t a dance Fan but some uh party or something at the school and we got hired and uh. I remember it pretty well because it paid 25 for the band, and so i divided it up evenly uh, so everybody got dollars and 25 cents. You kept it up to this day right.
How did you know that? Well, this is symbolic. How did you know that number did you know? Did you know that story? I don’t know the story, but it’s with a lot of people like something like that is in a frame or somewhere.
I don’t know wow, that’s so funny. You would say that because here’s here’s the story, so everybody got a five dollar bill, a one dollar bill and a quarter and now fast forward, uh what 40 50 almost years later and i’m up in my attic going through some boxes and stuff and here’s this Envelope and i open it up and there’s a flyer for that, show if you could call it a show, it was what it was, this kind of blue. They used to call it mimeograph. I don’t know if you know what that is, but it’s it was like an early form of xerox sort of it was a mimeographed flyer. Scott robinson quartet, blah blah blah and with this flyer, was a five dollar bill, a one dollar bill and a quarter beautiful, and it was kind of a revelation to me that i had filed that away and kept it with the flyer.
It’S pretty interesting because, first of all i was a kid so that was a you know. That was a lot of money for me as a little kid i could have used it, but i didn’t use it. I put it aside for the future and i think i must have realized. I must have known at that time that this is where i was going, that i was going to have a life in music and that someday this would be special. You know this would be the beginning.
I knew that this was the beginning of something and i kept it. I saved it and i haven’t framed it, but i i need to i should now. I have to find it again. It’S still up in the attic, but i really should frame that. I mean that’s a special thing.
Yeah it is. I was stunned to realize that i must have at that early time. I must have realized that this is my life. This is where i’m headed something completely else. I remember uh uh.
What is it called the sink park the vendor and jam uh is that is that uh was that is that a gig of yours that you used to open that jam session or no, they just they bring in uh some of their vandoran artists to do it At different times, i think uh, the one who did it more than anyone was uh mark gross but uh they they had me. Do it uh once i think maybe twice: okay were there. Well, actually i met you there we didn’t talk but uh. I sat in with the bass clarinet and you hosted with steve with steve ash on the piano. Oh he’s a beautiful player, yeah and uh it was was, was a nice evening.
Yeah, that’s great, not too many players showed up, but i liked it was the time to play yeah, okay, good. I i wish i could remember all these details but yeah and then you travel. It’S like your addict, exactly yeah exactly and another thing that is of interest, i think to all of us that um i mean you traveled a lot. Obviously i uh you’ve played the music everywhere was. Was it something that you always kind of like had to do on your own to find to find your next gig to find work where, where is your next gig?
What what to do where to go? How did that kind of career happen for you to be able to like? I think i read that you traveled to to um. Was it africa make a tour to play the music of louise armstrong? Is that correct, yeah yeah well, uh things like that yeah?
I i just um, i’ve never been as ambitious as i should. I mean i’m musically ambitious, but i’ve never been. I’Ve never had the career drive that i probably would have benefited from. So i went from being a complete unknown, of course, as we all start out, um to being somebody who’s, uh, pretty widely known and respected, but not considered that important. You know i mean i’m not considered important like the way uh the figures, the the people that you see on the covers of magazines are getting.
You know the big prizes and stuff like that and uh. You know thinking about it now, i think to myself. You know the different things i do and – and i probably if i had more of a publicity machine or something i probably could be more highly regarded um. But you know the the attention that i have gotten, i’m very grateful for and it’s due not, i don’t feel as do so much to me as to some of the people i’ve performed with um, particularly maria schneider. I mean playing in her band for it’s been 30 years now with her that really made a difference in my visibility and how i was perceived so to answer your question.
You know i came to new york with just about nothing and i lived in a pretty crappy place up in east harlem and had roommates that ripped me off multiple times and i got beat up on the street and robbed and – and you know, couldn’t open my Jaw for a week and all this you know, i’ve paid those kind of dues, but just word of mouth and you you get calls to sub steve steve slagel was the one that gave me my first gig after i got to new york subbing for him. In a band that paid like a dollar and a quarter of man, something like that literally but from there all these different branches come out. You know you start somewhere, and then people hear you and they go. Oh man. What are you doing next thursday?
You know that kind of thing and then somebody says i need a bathroom player. I need an alpha player. Oh you should call this guy scott robinson, so it just and i met steve slagel because i came to new york before i actually moved here. I came here and sat in with chet baker and steve slagel was there and he also sat in and we became friends at that moment and we’re still friends. Today, we’ve been, we were in touch yesterday.
Actually so you know all these these little moments they they become big because everything leads to something else. So earlier on, when i was in new york, i was doing a lot of leading my own quartet and trying to book things in europe and stuff like that, and it just became very, very difficult. I had some very traumatic experiences with stuff being cancelled at the last minute and wait a minute. I’Ve already bought the flights, and you can’t do this to me and all this kind of stuff i was doing uh some gigs with horace parlin, the great pianist who was living in copenhagen – and you know i remember, being almost in tears on the phone in the Middle of the night, with this club owner in paris going, you can’t do this to me. You can’t you know.
I’Ve got horus parliament, i got. What am i gon na do? What am i supposed to do? It was just, and so when i started to get hired a lot as a side man, i just kind of let most of the leadership thing go for quite a period of time, and and i’m sad about that, because i think of the progress i could have Made but i was sort of trying to preserve my sanity and yeah. I was getting offered a lot of work and i didn’t have to go through that kind of anxiety and just pick up the phone and yeah okay, tuesday yeah all right and oh here’s.
My flight ticket, okay, we’re going to belgium, okay, it was easy. You know. I started touring with all these different bands and toshika, akiyoshi and and louis belson, and lionel hampton and illinois jaquette band and mel lewis, and all these big bands and and uh. So i became a side man for for quite a period of years through most of the 90s, i was mostly tired man and i started to do a lot of record dates for arbor’s records, kind of mainstream, jazz dates with dan barrett and ruby, braff and uh Bobby gordon and people like that, i love doing that. I love that music, so i got a little bit comfortable, but then, as we get towards the late 90s, i started to realize you know.
A lot of time is passing and i’m working i’m playing all the time. I’M touring constantly it’s great, but i’m not doing my original thing and i should be because i have all these sounds and all these ideas and all these things, and so i realized what i need to do is have a laboratory. I need to buy a house. I can’t live in an apartment anymore. With these instruments piled up, i can’t even find them you know, so.
I started looking for a house with a structure where i could create my laboratory and that’s when i bought this place in teaneck new jersey, big garage in the back, and i turned that into a beautiful studio. It’S all wood, paneling and everything, and now i have all my instruments – set up the marimbas and bass, marimbas and gongs, and huge drums hanging from the ceiling and all these instruments, and i’m i’m there every night until four in the morning, i’m out there working on It so that’s kind of in a nutshell: that’s that’s kind of how it’s evolved yeah to the present time, and now i’m turning out a lot of i’m putting out a lot of material. I’Ve got my labels, science sonic and putting out all this adventurous music. All the stuff that wouldn’t happen, if i wasn’t doing it right i’ll, never get i’ll, never get tired of playing body of soul or yard bird suite. I want to do that.
My whole life, but this a lot of this other music um, i’m not necessarily getting asked to do, except by a few people, roscoe mitchell, for example, but mostly it’s on me to do it. So i’m out there doing it every night and was there a point in your life where you were offered like a teaching position or a time where you were interested in that a bit jazz, wise or money-wise, or i’ve kind of i’ve kind of stayed away from That i taught at berkeley very briefly before i left boston, just part-time and when i came to new york, i gave some private lessons at a little community music school for a little while for a couple of years, but other than that um. No, i, when bob minster moved from new york out to california. He called me up and he said scott. Do you want to take my position at manhattan, school of music and uh wow?
I was incredibly honored. That’S a very prestigious school and he’s a very prestigious guy and for him to call me – and you know, ask me that i hated to say no but but i did, i’ve always made those kind of choices you know when i graduated college. I had no work. I had nothing and i got offered a position with the airmen of note, which is the air force jazz band um. So it’s a military band.
You wear uniform and everything, but you’re you’re, taking care of all your medical and dental and everything’s taken care of your insurance and all that and it’s a steady, it’s security. You know, and at that time i had nothing, but i i said no, i didn’t. I didn’t go down there. I just came to new york and struggled, but it was the right move. It seems like you decided, always, i think, and it worked out yeah the music is the boss.
That’S what i keep telling people she’s she’s, my boss, she’s, who i work for and she’s a good she’s, a good boss to work for, because she’s understanding, she’s patient but she’s also very very demanding and that’s a good combination. You know she also. She knows she sees in you what you don’t always see in yourself and she says come on. I need you to do this and you’re going. What really yeah i need you to do this get get going get busy.
So i listen to her and – and i you know like the symphony, i’m i’m working on – like i told you, there’s no written music, i just let the music goddess tell me. I need a. I need a gong right here and then these two little clarinets coming out of that going range yeah. Well, i wouldn’t call it a head arrangement, it’s a composition. It’S a very detailed composition.
That’S going to take me, 15 years to finish it, but the way i look at it is uh, it’s the music goddess that has it in her head, not me! So i don’t know: what’s gon na happen, i’m going what do i do now and then she says well, listen to that thing right there. You need a bell. You need a certain bell. That’S gon na ring for a really long time and then i have to go all around my lab and go through boxes and bags and try them out this one.
No, this one. Ah there it is so then i put that sound in so she’s awesome. Music is the boss and she’s a good boss to work for um. What about practicing found out works personally the way functioning like besides getting no doubt, there’s something you can tell about the process that you’re going through. You try to think try to open a new door.
Well, um, you know my practicing uh goes goes through phases. I try to do basic uh. There’S these carmine caruso exercises on trumpet. I try to do those every day. I do them just about every day and i practice the trumpet around the around the house here.
Um then my morse, my more serious practicing is on the tenor and that takes place at night back in the in the laboratory and there i go through phases. So um, just since this pandemic time over the last year, uh i’ve spent a lot of time learning tunes because i always need to work on tunes and try to increase my repertoire, and i have a very bad memory. So it’s i have to try to hammer these things in and studying tunes means for me. Listening to many many versions – and you youtube is a great way to do that. So if i want to learn a tune, i start with old band singers connie haynes or people like that that just sing the song very straight, then i’ll, listen to more jazz kind of players, mostly to figure out what keys they like to play.
The songs in and stuff like that, and so i study these things and then i go out and i practice them uh. That’S one thing, then: lately i’ve been working out of books too. Last couple of years i never practiced much out of books. I was never a book player. I never approached music that way, but everything’s good.
All knowledge is good. All work is good at all ads. You know nothing. Subtracts everything adds so. I’Ve spent uh quite a lot of time practicing out of this eddie harris book that eddie harris gave me in 1984 and i didn’t do anything with it for 30 years um.
I just finished, recording this 52 page etude, that’s in this book he gave. So that’s a lot of work, uh mingus tunes – i went i play in the mingus band, so i went through a whole period. Sumingas gave me a whole book of his tunes and i spent months working on that. I spent months working on thelonious monk, music. Right now, i’m practicing charlie parker solos out of a book i got from joe marini.
I mentioned joe morani before a lot of people, probably surprised that he had these charlie parker books and he had quite a lot of stuff but uh. You know he studied with lenny tristano, i mean he was always interested in trying to learn and grow just like the rest of us. So but there again you have to listen and study, because nothing in the book is really right. I have to listen and make a lot of corrections and changes and things, and then i work on these and it’s just all good for facility uh. Sometimes i just play long tones.
Sometimes i work on what i call motivic chromatics. It’S actually an idea. I got from an altar player named eric marienthal that was at berkeley when i was there. I knew him from from those ways and it’s a you just take a you. Just take a you just make up a motif and you play it chromatically up and down.
It’S just good for your ears and your facility to just take make up any kind of motif and just and i go all the way up to two g’s above the tenor and back down. So it’s a real chop workout and the parker. The charlie parker is too because i’m doing all that in the outdoor register, i don’t switch registers. That means i’m playing up to a’s and and b-flats some pretty intricate stuff on the tenor it’s challenging. So those are just a few of the things i’m working on.
Yeah every day very interesting, and can you recommend for me i mean i didn’t maybe search long enough but um. I found those you played taragato or the bass targato or the uh alto clan on it. But when you mention about bass, clarinet or the regular b flat clarinet people are referring to in terms of clarinet uh with what? Where did you play those instruments, those clarinets was it live or in the studio or with the mario schneider orchestra, where we can listen to or find something all right? Well, there’s uh, there’s a couple of recordings that i’m proud of uh one on the clarinet.
One is with uh uh marty gross the guitar guitar player marty, gross um, there’s an album called thanks, and it’s just beautiful traditional jazz uh, the great peter eklund. We lost him uh recently he plays beautifully on there and i’m playing one of my metal clarinets and, and i’m just i’m happy with how it sounds. There’S a tune on on. There called looks like rain on cherry blossom lane and it’s just a short little thing, but when i listen to that, i say: okay, i like how i sound on that on the clarinet. It’S just pretty simple.
It’S not you know anything virtuosic, but the sound and the feel of it, i think is, is good. I’M pleased with that record and then maria snyder to my astonishment wrote a very complicated clarinet feature for me. I was surprised she did that because i wasn’t uh playing clarinet solos in her band or anything. I’M not. I’M still not sure why she wrote this piece, but it’s called iris de lando and it’s uh trying to think what record it’s on uh.
I can’t remember, but i’m sure your listeners are very astute and can find it if they don’t already know it, but it’s a whole written out. I mean it’s not that written out. It’S a lot of improvisation, but it’s a whole clarinet feature piece. I think it’s like 11 minutes, b-flat clarinet with a lot of time changes and this percussion cajons and all kinds of stuff. That was a big big clarinet thing uh.
So that’s one of the major things i’ve recorded and then uh. You know there’s this uh. This is one of my science sonic albums nucleus, that i’m pretty pleased with for those who are open to really adventurous music and there’s a little piece on here called muon. It’S only about a minute long, but that’s another piece where i feel like you know what i like the sound, and i just i just kind of hit the sweet spot on that little piece, one minute, long, muon and there’s also you mentioned bass clarinet this little Piece on here called dark matter, which is uh well, that one’s contrabass clarinet and there’s a bass, clarinet and bass, drum [, Music, ] duet, and i’m trying to remember which piece that is anyway. This album has a few interesting clarinets.
You want to see some of these crazy instruments. Yeah, please, i think, as a as a closer. We need something uh, something uh. Well all right. So this is a.
This is one of the clarinets that uh i’ve played for a very long time. It’S uh! Everybody looks at it says: oh it’s rosewood, it’s not rosewood! I mean rosewood is actually usually a lot darker than this, but this this is a kind of uh. I don’t know how well you can see it.
Does that help any not really yeah? Well, i, like it yeah, we can see it’s a red, it’s a very red, colored wood, it’s a laminated, it’s actually a plywood. It’S a super duper plywood made of many many very thin strips of wood. Okay and supposedly this is made by khan under their pan. American name and it’s called the propeller wood clarinet, because supposedly this wood was a u.
navy surplus, u.s navy, airplane propeller. Would that kind of pressure they made a certain number of clarinets out of it, and so sometimes, when i play it, it spins around [, Music, ], [, Laughter, ], military secrets, then uh. Let’S. This is one of my metal clarinets that i’ve played a lot with maria schneider um metal.
Clarinets are usually very thin because the metal is so thin compared to the wood, but this one – i don’t know if you could see, but it’s almost uh, almost the same thickness as a wooden clarinet, and the reason for that is that it’s a double wall. Construction, can you see that yeah so there’s actually an air space in between the two walls of the instrument? These are pretty rare. This one was made by uh pencil mauler, it’s called the clarimet and it’s actually a very good instrument. It’S not one of these student.
Marching band metal clarinets, this was made for symphony, orchestras and stuff, and i just lucked into this. It was on a wall display, sculpture in atlanta, georgia and uh and uh. When i inquired about it, because i could see it was complete and everything just stuck there with all these junk instruments, i said listen. Can i send you another clarinet that you could put there. That would look just the same.
You know to as far as a sculpture, but it wouldn’t be, you know, a special playable. You know this one should be fixed up plate and they told me, ah, if you could use it, just take it. So i just lucked into this. It was on a gig with maria schneider and i’ve been playing it with her for many many years since then um, here’s, an old, boxwood clarinet. I have never played this.
It would have to be repaired, but you know this has the interchangeable. They used to change keys by interchanging, the upper joint. So, okay, you can see the one is longer than the other. I guess it’s a and b flat, so that’s kind of cool, [, Music, ] um, here’s my little metal e flat clarinet. This is a betany silva bet like i was talking about, but a little e-flat version.
I didn’t know that they come in that size yeah. You can see the difference. Amazing. It’S kind of cute. I’Ve used this in uh in james reese, europe, uh recreation bands and stuff.
Oh here’s an a flat. You ever seen an a flat, clarinet uh right now, yeah yeah, it’s an albert system founded at a flea market. So you can so here’s the b flat and here’s the e flat and then here’s the a flat pretty tiny about the size of my head. Well, you have enough tools, i guess here’s a cute one yeah. I i think i saw you performing in in with that one with marty.
Girls, okay, is that oh really yeah, it’s possible possible. What’S that! This is that this is an albert system. It’S made by gretch the drum the drum company and i don’t know if he can yeah i can read, have a glimpse. It says it says: gretch saxonette.
Okay, can you see that name not really, but i trust you gretch saxonette, pretty ridiculous. Look at this little barrel with a tiny little curve to it, so that’s kind of fun. I’Ve played this sometimes and here’s a very strange one. I got from perry robinson, no relation perry robinson used this on a lot of albums and stuff, and this is uh. It’S a selma, it’s a very weird.
Nobody knows where this came from or what the story is with it. But it’s a it’s a it’s a selmer and it’s a wooden clarinet, but it’s encased in metal, okay, probably hard to see, but the even the the tone holes are are wood. You know where they come up through. These chimneys are wood. Okay, so that makes me wonder how did they get the metal on it because the metal is just sealed?
It’S just one piece all the way around. It’S almost as if the wood, it’s almost as if the wood was plated. Somehow it grew yeah. There’S no way you could just slide it on or something very, very, very, very strange, uh one more toy. Well, look at that!
This is your invention. No, yes, it is no. This is very old. This is a very old exactly this came from this came from russia. Actually somebody found it in russia and brought it to new york.
I think it might be hungarian made, because i saw something just like it in the stolwasser catalog from hungary, what you called it. Well, i call it a bastard horn because it has the low thumb keys down to low c. However, it’s in e flat and basin horns are usually an f, so it’s sort of like an alpha clarinet version of a basset horn or something and the way it’s constructed. It’S like a bassoon at the bottom, absolutely and the belt comes out. I don’t know it’s very weird, but it actually has a nice, a nice sound and and there’s a there’s, uh yeah.
I’Ve used it for some of my crazier projects, [ Music ] with all those tools. Maybe my last questions my last question with all those instruments that you have, did you go through a phase, or do you sometimes play like a broadway show a musical or some film music scores just because you can provide a lot of sounds to to whatever is Needed or wanted um i’ve never been a broadway guy. I’Ve kind of stayed away from that. I’Ve subbed on broadway a couple of times, and it’s very stressful for me, and also very repetitive, and and so it’s just not it’s just not really my thing: improvising, um. I’Ve done a few film scores, but for the most part uh it’s just been playing parts on.
You know, bass, clarinet or baritone sax or something you know nothing. I haven’t gotten too many calls to do film scores on really unusual instruments. Uh one notable exception is when i first got my uh contrabass saxophone, my vintage contrabass sax, which is uh nearly seven feet tall yeah. I saw the picture. It’S huge amazing instrument.
I got that from an antique shop in italy and uh pretty early on. I was hired to play that in a film score for a jackie chan action movie and i don’t think much of it got used in the film. Actually, they redid most. They they recorded the score with all these trumpets and wind instruments, and then they redid it. The producers didn’t want all that they wanted electronics, and so they redid it all with electronics, but i did do the.
I did record this whole film score thing with this giant saxophone in the studio and uh. You can see a little bit about that. If you go on youtube and you look up scott robinson’s, cnn, contrabass or something because cnn did a little show about me and this giant sax and they showed a clip from the film or i was recording it and stuff it’s kind of funny. We’Re definitely going to watch that yeah yeah very cool. Well, thank you so much for for uh.
It was very informative. It was just information and it was the man itself from others. Listen about i’m losing you you’re breaking up. I can’t hear you anymore. I lost you well i’ll, just say that uh, you know.
Okay i’ll just say. Thank you for having me. Thank you for your interest and for asking me i’m sorry. It took me so long to get back to you, i’m extremely disorganized person, because i got a lot on my mind, but anyway, i’m happy to to be here. I’M grateful for anyone anywhere.
That shows any interest in what i’m doing and for those uh uh list of your listeners that want to hear a little sample of my newest kind of work. You can go on youtube. I just posted something. Two days ago, there’s there’s uh three clarinets in it. Along with the contraba two contrabass clarinets is contrabass cerusophone.
There’S a lot of different sounds in it um it’s something i just posted and you can find it on youtube. If you look up uh scott robinson, richard m powers, because it’s a it’s a kind of a uh, it’s done in honor, it’s a it’s a five-minute piece. I did in honor of the centennial anniversary of richard m powers, who is the artist who did all these kind of covers that we knew all the artwork, and i made a video where all these paintings are coming in and out to go with the music. And it’s kind of cool, i’m actually pretty proud of this piece so check out on youtube. Scott robinson, richard m powers and you’ll see this thing i did we’ll do so.
Thank you so much scott thanks a lot simon thanks for having me and stay well. Everybody yeah