Live with BEN KONO

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Perfectly okay, you’re in your bunker, yeah, it looks like a bunker right. It’S it’s my basement, studio um! You can do whatever you want there. You do pretty much whatever i want down here as long as it fits the uh the family protocol. As long as it has to do with music, somehow exactly yeah yeah, well, it’s nice to meet you and uh.

Thank you for having me uh do this. This is great yeah. I checked out a couple year. Interviews and um got a really wide range of of talent and guests on here yeah. I guess it’s fascinating, yeah yeah, i’m glad you saw something you liked yeah, it’s uh!

It’S been a! It’S been a lot of fun so far, yeah yeah! So is it streaming right now or are you just recording it and then putting that’s why i i’m staring on my phone, because i would like to tag you right away. Maybe it’s appearing on your facebook wall immediately. I’M not sure about that.

But it’s streaming to my uh facebook twitterings well linkedin. I guess just various social media platforms great and then maybe you will tell us a bit about your musical upbringing and during those seconds i will try to tag you right away. If that’s, okay, with you sure, yeah fantastic yeah, so um well right now, i’m in new york, city and uh, actually uh north of new york city about by about 20 miles into town called nyack, which uh that’s. Actually it’s interesting since the pandemic uh hit it’s! It’S starting to look more and more like new york city, more, like brooklyn people are just moving out and uh, taking advantage of the uh, the change in their lives to uh to make to relocate or do whatever, whatever kind of change they thought about doing.

But i’ve been here about um i’ve been in new york city area for about 22 years, maybe and um. Before that i was in uh sort of the washington dc area in one of the service bands, the jazz ambassadors, the the army, um touring component uh yeah. I read about that when i, when i was preparing for the interview, maybe you can tell this is like the jazz division of the military or what yeah? Well, i i would say it’s the hearts and minds of the of the military, it’s sort of like the public face of uh of the military uh, so it was really more like a civilian job as a as a musician, you audition as a musician first and Then um uh and then once they once once you get the job, then you have to go through the basic training like every other uh military person has to do so uh. I i spent about five years down there doing that and uh.

That was very interesting part of my career kind of like nothing else. It really matches it in terms of just the difference in uh in lifestyle and um uh. Although working-wise it was very similar to what i’ve been doing before, which was a lot of big band work uh, i grew up in a town called brattleboro, which is in the southern uh southeast corner of vermont uh. It’S uh. We lived in the village, so it wasn’t really like normally when you think of vermont, you think of a very rural kind of farmland and woods and pastures, and that kind of thing, but this was actually uh not unlike where i live.

Now i mean you can walk to downtown. There were clubs there there were places to hear music. There was a lot of classical music happening because we were located near the marble music festival, which was kind of the summer home for a lot of uh boston, symphony musicians and new york, new york, classical musicians as well. There was a big classical component uh, harold wright from the boston symphony used to spend a lot of time up there, um uh. He was uh the principal clarinetist of boston, symphony uh marcel the moises marcel mauis uh, louise moyes um.

You know world famous flute, pedagogues um, so i grew up mostly around classical music music. My parents were not musicians, although music was very important, uh culturally to them, and they felt that we should all have some kind of a music upbringing included in our lives uh. But i didn’t have any real, like family role models uh. Nobody in my extended family uh was a musician really so uh. So i just you know it was banned.

I went to i started on clarinet uh. I went through the the elementary band school program and the middle school band and when i got into high school i really started taking clarinet seriously uh as a classical player and uh. So this was your first instrument: yeah yeah, b-flat, clarinet and uh. I auditioned for concerto competitions, [ Music ]. When i was a senior i got to play uh weber’s concertino with the wyndham uh windham orchestra, which was you know, a real thrill and terrifying uh, but uh, that’s really kind of where my my head was.

I mean i, i discovered jazz halfway through high school and uh it was. It really had a profound effect on me. I heard that the high school jazz band play and it was just uh. I never really heard what is there’s some difference when you hear uh, it’s amazing, of course, to hear a professional play, uh jazz, but when it’s your own peers and they’re up there and they’re improvising and it really hasn’t a profound effect, i think on you as A developing young musician, you know – and we had some really good jazz players in our high school band. They went to the eastman jazz summer camp and they came back with all this.

You know knowledge and uh skills and uh, and so i decided i wanted to do that. But the band director said i’d love for you to join the jazz band, but you know you play clarinet, so you can’t. You have to learn how to play saxophone or or trumpet or something so uh. So i learned saxophone and i was pretty terrible but uh. I had the clarinet skills uh to sort of carry me through the basics of saxophone learning and then eventually, i i did get hooked up with a saxophone instructor, who was very uh knowledgeable in a lot of ways uh.

I didn’t really appreciate it at the time, but i mean he he knew he could compare like a charlie parker tune to wagner. For example, you know harmonically and uh he’d spent some time in new york city and then stayed in vermont, and at this time there was uh this vermont jazz center. That was starting to really really become big, so i would meet jazz musicians just in downtown brattleboro. Vermont, like john abracomi or or uh jimmy heath, you know who are up for the camp and just hanging out in a cafe. You know it was really i took so much for granted back then you know it was a little piece of new york in southern southeastern vermont um, so i auditioned at colleges to be a classical clarinet player, because even though the jazz thing was starting to really Interest me so actually the band director, somehow uh put you aside with the clarinet in jazz for the for the first moments there yeah, i think i credit i had three band directors.

They they all came in and came out at different times in high school. It was just it was kind of a transition period for the band, but each one of them had a different uh skill set that they brought and the last one that i had uh was this woman named julie holmes. She was married to this educator from umat university massachusetts named jeff holmes and, and he had gone to eastman, he ran the jazz department at umass and he said you should really. You know should really consider eastman. I think uh they would love you there as just because i was a well-rounded uh, saxophonist clarinetist.

You know i could double and um play both genres fairly. Well, at that point uh, so i auditioned there as a clarinet major for stanley hasty, who was the outgoing professor of clarinet at eastman he’d been there for decades and has you know, was sort of a wool renowned, pedagogue and clarinet uh. But i i uh. I didn’t get accepted on clarinet because there were so many applicants uh such a clarinet heavy school conservatory, but i had taken an audition like a secondary audition on saxophone and it was all classical. There was no jazz, i mean it was just you know.

I had to play, i think, like maybe a something out of the fairling etudes or something and and then just play my scales and do some sight reading and ray ricker. Who was the sax teacher. There was also a very well studied clarinet. He actually has his phd in clarinet and – and i think he he liked the fact that ray ricker yeah, i think, he’d, like the the fact that i uh was versatile in both clarinet and saxophone and and so he accepted me on saxophone. So i i chose the school over the instrument, uh that i was auditioning on so uh it was uh.

I think it was a good decision. I went there uh and then, of course i got there and i found out that i was so far behind on my saxophone skills. I mean i’ve been playing clarinet since fourth fifth grade and have been taking it very seriously. But saxophone was like my my fun instrument, uh, where i would just go into a room and just improvise. I don’t know what i was playing.

I mean i was just it was. It was jazzy or jazz in my in my ears, but i i had so much catch-up work to do that. I felt that the clarinet just kind of got lost in the mix, and so that was 1985 when i started there in 1986 uh we had a visit from eddie daniels and he was coming through rochester to play with the rochester philharmonic. He had just released his record breakthrough, which is just you know. It was truly a breakthrough album for him uh.

I think it kind of took it from the commercial world into you, know the more artistic realm uh and it was it was. I had never really heard i i kind of knew who he was, but i knew him as a saxophonist from the fat jones, mel lewis, band and uh. I think i have freddie hubbard record that he’d play saxophone on, but i never heard him play clarinet before and so before he played that night with the orchestra. He he just played a quartet set for the school um with uh pianist bill dobbins, who was uh one of the jazz directors there at the time and uh at a quartet and man. It was just mind-blowing, like i never heard clarinet.

I think you know. I think i never got really into jazz clarinet. I i really kept like the clarinet and the saxophone very separate. You know uh, i think part of it was i just even though i appreciated benny goodman and artie shaw and uh and jimmy hamilton. It wasn’t the kind of music that i was really interested in.

I was, i was more into you, know the hard bop and call train post culture and that kind of thing by the time, by the time i went to college and to hear eddie daniels come in and basically sound, like john coltrane on clarinet was just like Wow this is this is what this is. What jazz clarinet should sound like to me at least to my it was just so burning. I mean he played giant steps and it was like faster than any saxophonist i’d heard it play it before in and and just just killing it. So this was a jazz kick before the classical gig at night, with the orchestra yeah. In fact – and it was funny because i mean the the the class the the set that he played with the orchestra – was very much like a crossover i mean it was going in and out like on the album yeah like it was based on on, like, for Example: uh solfegeto, you know by bach you know uh and then it would kind of morph into a jazz improvisation.

I’Ve seen him do this like demonstrate: uh improvising over standard, classical repertoire like he’ll, take like the pulank blank uh, clarinet, sonata and just improvise over it and just the fluency. The way he just kind of moves in and out of of, serious, classical and and jazz is is very it’s almost seamless. You know so this was somehow like a wake up call for you to maybe yeah stick to the clan yeah. I started. I started chatting clarinet again uh and for my senior recital i you know it was a saxophone degree.

Recital half the stuff i played on it was clarinet like i played the blank uh clarinet sonata as well, as you know, some other classical saxophone stuff and then uh. I took a year off and i toured with the tommy dorsey band uh and actually i started getting into sort of. I started getting into benny goodman and artist shaw like just that kind of music. There were a lot of old-timers in it band and had a lot of music to show me that i hadn’t really checked out before, and i really got into jimmy hamilton like to me he’s one of the greatest jazz clarinet players that ever lived. I mean just his sound and his concept with duke’s band uh and then um, and then i got my master’s degree in clarinet, so uh and now i’m back to primarily being like a saxophone and i’m kind of a jack of all trades in in new york.

I do i play a lot of oboe and flute as well. What about when came the bass climate into your arsenal? Well, uh, when i was in grad school. That’S what what what drew me to you, because i saw a clip on youtube where you play with the facts: oh yeah yeah with the guitar player and that really struck me and i thought yeah nice to chat a little with you about that kind of band Settings and uh imagination: well, the cl the it was really just uh. It was a very practical reason.

I got into base clarinet uh my scholarship at north texas uh, where i did. My grad school was based on playing in the wind ensemble and they put me on bass clarinet. I said like man, i don’t want to play this thing. It squeaks. You know it’s hard, it’s big heavy and reads just suck on it.

You know i. I really had no experience on bass, clarinet and they’re. Like sorry, that’s what we need. You know. If you want a full ride to the grad school, you got to play bass, clarinet so and funnily enough there was the other bass clarinet player in the orc.

In the wind, ensemble was a saxophone mainer and he was in the same boat. He was, he was a. He was playing in like the one o’clock jazz band, but he was there on a woodwind on a wind, ensemble scholarship, so uh it was kind of like sink or swim. You know i had to learn how to play it and uh. The wind ensemble stuff is is really hard.

You know, because there’s a lot of orchestra transcriptions that are, you know originally written for um orchestra, like you know the holst planets, for example. You know so a lot of that stuff uh well, that stuff was was probably originally written for for bass, clarinet, but there’s a lot of stuff. That’S you know goes to the clarinet because it was originally written for strings right, so uh transcriptions um. We did a lot of sort of more kind of like 12-tone kind of post-modern music as well um, and so as bass, clarinet player, you’re, pretty busy learning those parts, it’s not easy music and then i started getting work around the area playing in local orchestras um. I think the garland symphony uh they’re, all suburbs of dallas um but uh – i i kind of became like known as a bass, clarinet player in those – and none of this ever led me to you, know the aha moment like wow.

This could be a great jazz instrument. It was just really more like practical work. For me, there are a lot of clarinet players out there. It’S not so many, and it’s funny like some of the clarinet players who uh get put on bass. Clarinet are not necessarily that great at bass clarinet, because the embouchure is different, um, the way you blow it is different.

You have to be real loose, but at the same time you can’t play with a saxophone embouchure. I mean it’s. It’S kind of its own instrument. Right so uh um that band the i the i the what that band that i heard. What’S the story there, what’s the concept, what’s the music, my band, that particular thing that you’re you’re, probably talking about a river of fire, which was this piece that i wrote for um, a record that i did called don’t blink.

It was a chamber music, america commission to write music for multiple woodwinds and my quartet, which i or my quintet, which i’ve been playing for for a few years and writing for it, and that particular uh project was all based on um sort of a a path Towards environmental awareness and enlightenment, and that particular so each each movement had to do uh some kind of effect that mankind has on the environment, which leaves you know an awful lot of material to write about, but that particular one was based on uh this river. This body of water, if we can call it that that i used to live near in in brooklyn when i first moved to new york city, called newtown creek. It’S it’s a tributary to the east river, but you’d never know it. I mean it just looks like a big garbage sludge and uh. I lived there for five years about a block from the newtown creek.

Before i realized what it was. It was basically a super fun site where uh this oil leak had been happening for uh, 50 or 60. Some odd years before. Finally, uh this group called riverkeeper, came in and basically took uh the exxon mobil corporation to court and said you got to clean this up or you know we’re just going to keep levying fines against you. So i wanted to come up with this thing.

That was just kind of like real industrial sounding and uh angry and not pretty. A lot of the record is kind of pretty sounding. I wanted something that was more like uh, just kind of over the top heavy metal sounding and this guitar player i’ve played with for years pete mccann is, is uh he’s such a he’s, an amazing jazz, guitar player, but when he, when he turns the rock on Man – it’s it’s just so awesome, so i wanted to kind of you know, come up to his level and i’ve been experimenting with saxophone uh playing through effects. Uh there’s this group called bloom daddies when i first moved to new york as uh these two saxophonists seamus blake and uh chris cheek, and they had this group with two drummers and they would just play through these effects, and it was it was. It was exactly like what i was looking for, uh and but i didn’t want to do it on saxophone, because it’s kind of been done, uh and so i started messing around with bass, clarinet and putting like a contact mic on the yeah.

What’S the mic that you’re using there, it’s really it’s brand new. I don’t even know it’s just like one of these contact mics that i think mostly like string players, use them like like mandolin players or bazooky players. You know they. It’S you use this little piece of putty and you attach it to your instrument and it just picks up the vibration. So it’s like a piezo mic uh and it sounds terrible.

You can’t really reproduce the clarinet sound. No, so it just takes. It takes a signal and you have to boost it and put it through uh. Originally i tried putting it through a guitar amp, my brother’s a guitarist, and he left all these amps here when he moved out west uh, so uh and then i started going through um ableton live and then i just you know, there’s like a million effects. You can play with there.

I don’t know what i mean. I just there’s some sort of heavy metal guitar rack that i was was going through. It picks up a lot of it’s hard to use because it picks up all the key noise, so you have to gate it like crazy, uh to otherwise you’re just making noise. Every time you touch a key um, but i’ve also kind of incorporated that sound into it kind of sounds like an electric guitar. I mean it kind of you know the string, the fret noise, you know if you gain it enough, you can use it.

So you use distortion on that piece or what was the effect yeah lots of distortion, lots of like you’re, just over driven tube amps delay. Was it with uh. I mean pedals from bass, players or guitar players, or was everything in the computer in the computer that you used. That was a live gig. I think i think that’s what you’re talking about yeah.

So i like to try to. I had a lot of pedals that i was using like for looping um, but i was trying to uh keep things light, so i i i just run everything through the computer. You know i mean i i’ve gone back and forth and uh um. I find like the the computer processing is: is uh just got so good that um, the music was written by you, but that piece that i heard was kind of that that sweet that you uh mentioned about environment, and so this was cool that was all funded By uh chamber, music, america, new jazz works, grant so uh you apply and it’s a little different. Now it’s actually a little easier now um, but back then you had to uh write this whole sort of thesis statement on what you want to do.

Uh, it could have a theme or could not have a theme i basically applied for, like maybe three two or three times and then like third time was the charm. You know they said wow. We like this idea. We want you to go ahead with it um. So we got actually quite a bit of uh, quite a bit of use.

Out of that that grant we were able to tour, we actually was not for the for a composing part of you. It was was like a like a grand for the for the whole band to make music exactly yeah. There are different components of this. Of course, the composing, the composer, gets a a uh, a stipend to write the music, but then there’s another component. That’S just for concertizing, which that’s really the the um.

The main thrust of the cma grant is to get your band out there and perform and and actually give the musicians a decent wage, because you know so much of what we do is like playing for five dollars at the door right past the bucket or you Don’T so um we actually tore down, we uh were able to tour down to um uh, where is it missouri flew into arkansas and then drove to missouri, and so we’re playing this suite of music about uh. You know save the environment basically and we’re flying around right, as somebody as somebody put it. You’Ve just arrived at the lion’s den with this with this piece, because it’s like this is this is where they do. This is the the primary industry in that area was fracking like getting uh natural gas out of the uh out of the plus. It’S a very sort of, i don’t know conservative area of the country, and we had a huge impact at our concert.

We were really surprised. There were a lot of people that came out and thanked us and said you know. This is the kind of message that uh people in this community really need to hear because we’re getting sacked by uh global climate change and the town was actually town called joplin and joplin was leveled by tornadoes a few years earlier and they’ve. Just seen like you know, tornado after tornado come through man. This is not.

This is different. When i started that project uh, i was, it was really sort of um a response to questions that my daughter had. Who was four at the time uh about uh our environment, and i i started kind of looking around and – and it was just kind of before, global climate change had really become like a major political issue, um my daughter’s 14 now so this was like you know, Over 10 years ago, when i started working on it and now, like the you know, the message is even more dire than when i started so it’s interesting when you, you start something that uh you’re, not sure you know you have. You may have certain feelings about the message that it brings and then you know years later, uh and part of that just comes from educating yourself for any kind of cause, whether it’s um ra, you know racism or um, politics or or or even love. You know like, as you start to uh, dig deep.

You know you, you become more involved in it, but how was it delivered in that? In your case, concretely, i mean, like you, handed out like some papers with that with that topic on it or you played the music and between pieces, you announced what brought you to the music or what? How was it that purpose of environment, thoughts and whatever yeah? Well, it was an interesting uh way of writing. I’D, never written an entire, it’s basically an album’s worth of material.

I’Ve never written something that was that had an arc to it built in so it starts out with uh uh a piece about the dodo. It’S actually a dream that i had when i was when i was little and i was just starting to learn. I just learned about this. You know creature and why it went extinct. It didn’t get go extinct because of you know a meteor crashing to the earth or anything like that.

It went to extinct because uh the dutch settlers arrived at this island of mauritius and and killed them all so uh, so that was sort of the beginning of so it’s a little bit chronological that way and uh. I didn’t really. I didn’t really present it. That way, but it just kind of turned out that way and when people came up after the show and said thanks for that piece, i mean they somehow must have known about what brought you to to write the music. So you made an announcement or you wrote a poem or you had lyrics yeah the the uh.

The piece was uh well. First of all, the concert was interesting because we were playing for a classical music series uh in joplin and they always book one jazz group per year. So when you present yourself you’re kind of looking at what other groups that they’ve brought in over the year and uh and how they structure it, so i didn’t want to come in just like playing tunes. You know i wanted to come in with a program saying this is this: is the history of because that’s what you see when you go to a classical music console? Usually people want people are really interested in the pieces that you’re playing and what um?

What the narrative is for the music uh more than just like you know, we’re gon na play a bunch of cold porter tunes. You know, which is great too. You know, and that could also be part of that program, but uh. I wanted to make an impact with the message, so i sent them all programs ahead of time. They have like an education outreach uh program that they do uh in conjunction with the visiting artists.

So we, during the day before the concert we had a like a workshop at the university there and kind of a question and answer kind of session as well so and most of the people that show up to these concerts are very educated. You know uh, it’s not it’s like i. I hate to sort of paint an area of the country in uh, monochromatic colors, but they don’t get a lot of. You know: culture, new york, city, culture in that area. You know it’s, so it’s um!

You want to present yourself in in a way that’s going to be meaningful to the people that come out. You know it was a lot of the baseline was just one of the tools of the instruments you played all the other ones. Oh yeah yeah. I mean that was another part of the grant was to write something that things that were specifically like that tune. I’Ve played it on saxophone, especially if i’m having to fly around.

I don’t want to carry all these instruments and it doesn’t really work the same on saxophone. It’S just not a jazz tune, and you would think that even you know, playing saxophone through effects would make it more like the original concept. But it just sounds, like you know, a jazz saxophone playing through uh effects, rather than what i originally intended it to be, and the bass clarinet like there’s something about it. That’S it’s to me. It’S like there’s a sonic part of it.

That’S almost like sounds overdriven like like, or can sound overdriven like a like an electric guitar and i kind of wanted to exploit those sonic characteristics, um and kind of blend in with the other guitarist or the real guitarist. I should say uh and uh, and just the range you know being able to play low and when you play a low note and you play it through an overdriven two band, you get a lot of different sounds that are unexpected yeah doing it live, of course, Is just uh presents problems just in terms of feedback and um. Why feedback your mic is not going into the bore of the base clock? That’S that’s why i used uh the contact mic uh to avoid you know any kind of feedback, because i wanted to play loud. You know, and i wanted to really overdrive the sound and you can’t do that with with a microphone and plus the microphone is like for bass.

Clarinet, it’s really difficult to pick up the entire instrument. You know it’s hard enough with saxophone. So what what? What is it, what does it mean contact microphone like you just touch the instrument on the outside. I wish i had my i don’t know my.

I can’t really show you because it’s all packed away, but it’s not going into into the bore of the instrument. The one that you have no, no, i thought you said board, it goes into it. Just where do i? I actually have it attached to my ligature okay, because that’s about as far away from the keys as i can get, and the court for the mouthpiece actually kind of dampens, the um, the vibrations from the keys a little bit more too. So the microphone is sitting on the ligature top yeah and then there’s a long cable that comes.

The cable is actually the tricky part because it can get tangled up and in the keys and um. If you’ve ever seen, the sax the summer used to make a saxophone called the veritone in the 1960s, they used to take these mark sixes and they used to put an uh a contact mic. That actually goes. The bug actually goes through the neck and then the wire they actually soldered these um pieces of tubing onto the this is all done at the selma factory. They actually solder these tubes onto the the body of the saxophones.

The wire will go through that because you know people were getting tangled up in the wires um, but have you ever seen like pictures of eddie harris play uh? It’S kind of the concept that i was looking for with the bass, clarinet and really my next step would be to um. I mean i’ve seen lots of clarinet players. Do this, where they um drill a hole uh into the mouthpiece and then they put the contact mic actually inside and they seal it with like epoxy resin. So then you’re not getting the key noise you’re just getting the noise from um from the from the instrument.

But it’s very again: it’s like it’s not really well, some of them sound, pretty good uh, but there’s really like there’s two different sounds that i have in my mind for bass. Clarinet one is that classical sound that you know i was trying to really develop as an orchestral player uh, which i you know, clarinet is basically clarinet’s beautiful, but bass. Clarinet to me, i think, is – is just a beautiful instrument that uh is is very unique and underutilized um, even in classical music uh, and there aren’t too many jazz bass, clarinet players that i i really love to listen to in terms of just the purity of Sound um louis glavis is one i think, he’s fantastic. The way he plays uh paul mccandless, who is one of my big heroes of woodwind, doubling with the oregon oregon to me, he’s got the most beautiful bass, clarinet sound he’s using it that he’s using it in the in that band. Basically, oh yeah.

For from the beginning, but even before he was playing uh soprano saxophone, i think he was playing uh bass clarinet. Maybe i could be wrong about that, but he’s been playing that for as long as he’s been playing in oregon. I think i mean he’s primarily known as a as a double read player, but yeah. I know him from, but he sounds. Although yeah, he sounds amazing on everything that he plays.

Yeah he’s another guy who, like eddie daniels, like what completely changed my uh concept of of what a woodwind can sound like like uh oboe. You know i mean, i think to me – was just a j, a classical instrument and had no place, even though people have sort of uh messed around with it in jazz he’s the first one that i’ve heard that just improvises just completely free of any kind of Conception of jazz, i mean he’s a great jazz player, but i mean his improvisation is just so free and it’s just the sound is so beautiful on the instrument. He could be playing anything and any kind of music yeah. Maybe maybe you can tell a bit about your your practicing on the clarinet and bass clinic uh in regards to jazz, because this is like the jazz channel of the clarinet yeah um is, it is the? Is the practicing classically oriented to be ready for whatever is coming in in the jazz world or what how you, how your brain works?

Well, it’s interesting that that uh that you asked that um, because i asked that i asked that same question to eddie daniels uh. When he came, i said uh so on clarinet. How do you practice jazz and he said it just immediately said i don’t practice jazz and uh. I i had to really think about what he meant by that i think uh. I think it meant several things.

I think, first of all that you know mostly he’s practicing technical stuff that he can use as jazz vocabulary right and uh. Clarinet is such a different instrument than saxophone or flute, and even oboe i mean it overblows an octave and a fifth. You know, as opposed to just an octave, so your brain has to think differently. As soon as you go into the upper register, so um you know, just practicing patterns is really great is something i like to do on on clarinet. I don’t i, i hear a lot of saxophone players who play clarinet and play jazz and usually what i hear is uh they’re playing only in the upper register or only in the upper register and only in the lower register, but not across the registers.

You know why right do. I know why you know why. Well, i think it’s just because the upper register is more similar to the saxophone, you know and then uh and then the lower register, i don’t know the null register is hard. I think, except that it’s yeah to be heard even yeah, oh, and to be heard that and that’s actually that’s uh uh. I asked paul mcanlis about this uh.

Why how i said, how is your upper register so in your altissimo, so in tune like he has the most pure effortless sounding altissimo, even like compared to great classical oh boys like his altissimo chops are incredible. It says it’s because i play with drums. I can’t hear myself so i learned how to play that way: um but uh, but yeah. I hate that. I mean i hate.

That’S that’s the one gripe that i have about playing jazz clarinet in a uh big band, for example, or any kind of band. That’S going to overpower the instrument is, unless you have a good sound person and you have a monitor and you can hear yourself, you tend to start playing in the upper register and just staying up there. Because that’s what you hear i mean i you know. I think about yeah right think about benny goodman, and you know he was in front of a whole big band playing loud swing, music with gene krupa and uh. You know screaming trumpet section and what kind of sound reinforcement did they have back then.

So you know, most of his stuff is very uh, with the big band is kind of in the upper register. You know unless it’s unless it’s you know a slow dance tune right. That’S why i love. I really love his uh. You know his quartet recordings with lionel hampton and teddy wilson, because he he’s really my what much more of a chamber music uh instrument then he’s playing all the all the different registers but yeah anything that i can practice that’s over the break.

Uh, that’s the hardest part uh i’ll give. I love those close a exercises. Those are just finger exercises that just kind of go over the break, they’re kind of like you know, tongue twisters, for the for the fingers and uh. I give those to my students. You know to practice: if they’re you know trying to really kind of improvise around uh on on the clarinet, especially if they’re a saxophone player coming to clarinet.

You know just just find a you know, just find a charlie, parker lick and and transpose it to all. All the keys, but but do it in a range that’s like going across across the break. That’S a really good exercise, clarinet’s hard man i mean for for jazz instrument. I mean i’m i’m you know stating the obvious you know but uh. I think it really helps if, if number one you can get that facility across the break happening and number two that uh, you really learn how to play how to not overblow, because that’s the tendency to want to do one of my favorite uh clarence jazz clarinet Players actually is this guy uh chris speed, who is a really great saxophone player uh, but he’s kind of uh made clarinet his voice.

I think yeah he’s such a great tenor player too, but i used to sit next to him and uh when he was playing with uh john hollenbeck’s band and uh, and his sound was just such a. It was not. I would not, i would say, with not a jazz, typically a jazz sound. It was a real kind of classical sound and he was really approaches improvising. That way, i really enjoy listening to clarinet players, who have kind of a classical approach to playing jazz yeah, and, if you’re into that, like i just i just know a narrow part of you like that, especially only that song that i just mentioned what problem you, Like on the bass client with effects, but you should definitely check out that room burger microphone that is drilled into the into the neck of the base or into the barrel of the clarinet.

Because no feedback again and you can you can play beautiful uh with a pure sound, but you can also, of course, use whatever you want to use. Do you use to use one of those yeah? I use them and a lot of guys do it’s just what? What is the name, because i’ve seen a number of those? It’S a small brand, it’s uh it’s made in germany.

It’S called roomburger bloomberg, yeah yeah. I can send it to you. If you want, there was a great clarinet player. I met in um. There are plenty of others, of course, frankfurt, maybe he’s a jazz clarinet player.

He was, i think he plays with one of the radio bands there um and he plays the older system and uh. He i think he was playing one of those he has one of those pickups his microphone and gets an amazing, sound, yeah, yeah yeah again demands. He demands a good, sound guy or yourself to do the adjustments, but right, but it’s really, you can play classical a set with that if you want, but of course it goes directly when you need a clear signal for your effect. It works as well. Of course, very cool, yeah, there’s so much there’s so much uh.

I’Ve always been scared to drill a hole in my mouthpiece. That’S the only thing the next barrel. That’S all yeah wish one for christmas yeah exactly so. What what town are you in? Are you in um you’re in germany, right uh, i’m here in zurich, switzerland?

But, oh you, weren’t yeah, we’ll go back to saint petersburg in russia where i’m living oh you’re, from saint petersburg, i’m from zurich, but i i’m living there you’re living in saint petersburg right! Oh okay, i didn’t know that wow yeah. I spent a lot of time there. Uh years ago, uh i was working on a ship uh, one of those cruise ships. You know playing in the orchestra we used to port in st petersburg every every two weeks.

This was 90 uh, three, maybe 92 93, so it was very soon after you know kind of the fall of the iron curtain and all that it was crazy. It was just a wild time. I had some great music on the street, though it’s really it’s really pretty interesting. All these uh brass bands um playing really funky instruments. I don’t know what they were.

It’S like some different system of like valve valve trumpets and ben. I saw a mandel. That’S a mandolin uh orchestra, no uh, bella lyka, follow lego orchestra there too yeah, and that trio that you mentioned. When you listen to to my music. That’S it’s!

Oh yeah! It’S an instrument called goosely. It’S it’s not balalaika! It’S like a sitter. It goes into that direction like like a native uh like a special instrument from from russia, yeah it’s plucked with strings and um gorgeous sound too, and i really like the way you play bass clarinet in there it’s almost like uh, like uh.

It almost sounded like an indian bansuri flute kind of like yeah. You know you probably listened to the raga right in the church yeah, it’s like a raga kind of drone kind of thing. That is a lot of fun yeah. It’S also with the room burger by the way, and oh really, oh, that was through the runebook yeah with the help of roonberg. I think it was another mic because we were recording for that clip and for uh for an album.

Probably i remember some years ago, yeah yeah wow. Well that was entertaining ben. I i’m glad you could make it yeah. My pleasure, you know it’s. This is one day to the next.

We have an appointment. Yeah this pandemic is is uh. I mean it’s terrible. It’S terrible what it’s done to people’s lives and to music and uh, but it’s been interesting uh to connect with people all over the world that i normally wouldn’t have you know normally the people that i would see would be people you know in pit orchestras or You know wherever it is, i’m working whatever big band, i’m working with in town or i mean i never saw people in my own town. I would see people that live neighbors and i would only see them in new york city like in the rehearsal hall.

I wouldn’t see them in my own hometown and now i’m seeing them, you know on the street or or i’m seeing you on. You know the end via the internet, yeah um. So it’s been uh strange and interesting times yeah. I think it will remain a bit like that, for who knows how long, but yeah music makes it easier a bit at least when you can play it at home. Yeah, you know yeah, i mean i’ve.

I have like i’ve started, like i think, maybe 15 different projects since this started and i’m recording like remotely oh tons of recording remotely um. In fact, i’ve got this. There’S a big band project um one of these great composers from the bmi workshop that i been involved with for the last 20 years and uh. So we’re going to do a remote recording for her uh. I’Ve been doing some pandemic recordings of uh.

Just compositions based on uh sounds from around the town like wildlife. You know i’ll record during my biking, trips and walks. You know earlier in the year and have uh set them to music in different ways. I guess that’s sort of like sort of the sequel to my don’t blink, recording that you listen to um. I’M writing some big band stuff, some saxophone section stuff uh very few of it – is your completion.

I just keep because i just keep starting new things. You know, but uh it’s a good time to do that. You know what else are you gon na? Do i guess, but yeah, let me know when there’s some more on the bass clearand. I am writing something for bass, clarinet.

It’S it’s a little more sort of quasi-classical sounding, not really, i wouldn’t call it jazz, but it’s more new music. I guess whatever. That means well. Thank you very much uh. It’S great that you’re doing this and uh.

I hope you get a lot of followers and not about the clicks yeah. Well, it’s about you know people being able to see outside their window. You know see a bigger world how we saw into your room, you see. Now we have yeah well we’re enlightened and lively yeah. Honestly, it’s a little claustrophobic behind you, but so that’s we have to that’s why we haven’t.

You can see all my horns exactly set up there for for some video project, i’m doing uh but all right. Well, thank you so much simon thanks to you ben and see you later,

Read More: Live with CHRIS TANNER

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Live with EWAN BLEACH

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Sorry, you’ve um you’re cutting out. I can’t hear you very well yeah. You were teaching. You helped me before um. That was the intention, but actually no uh.

I didn’t have a lesson in the end, so i’ve been uh. I’Ve just been working on promotion, really fun stuff trying to uh. Well, i’ve missed the deadline today, but i’m putting out a mailing list. You know i’ve got a mailing list, i’m putting out a the 2020 update 2021 update yeah, getting it together. Um yeah, you wrote me uh, i remember now you know what you’re talking about like here, where for a newsletter right, yes, yeah right, so just working on that you know looking back at 2021, putting together all my thoughts for the new year, you know um, so Yeah, that’s what i’ve been doing today or drinking or what’s in for the new year um, i’m sorry, i’m starting you’re cutting out a little bit.

I don’t know why, but well, there’s quite a distance between the two of us but uh. Let’S, let’s hope this sticks with us, you know i was. I was saying like what did you like some people? They tried to do things better next year and uh. I always choke that i will start smoking and start drinking um.

I don’t know i i think i completely forgot about new year’s resolutions. I guess because i didn’t really have a party or anything any celebration of the new year. Um, i’m just uh carrying on as always really just um yeah i’ve got. I’Ve got big intentions for things. I you know projects that i plan to do.

I guess so. That’S um! So that’s a good thing. Yeah just watched your uh one-man one-man orchestra before oh yeah, wonderful yeah, you actually own that base accent problem. Yes, no.

I have everything you can. If i go out the picture you can see uh can you get in the picture? You can see my collection of instruments there. Well, not the whole, but just all the i’ve got the the soprano alto c melody: tenor, baritone and bass. Sax phones and e flat b, flat um and g clarinets and a bass clarinet.

So we’ve got quite a big collection of instruments and um, and the thing that you saw was the uh yeah. It was a little thing i did for my mother’s 70th birthday um. Just you know: it’s been before this lockdown happened. I had this big intention of um making some one-man recordings, because i have a full orchestra available to me. You know um and yeah.

I’Ve been working on some original music in this. In this vein, the last year um nothing’s finished yet, but i’m um yeah, that’s quite an exciting thing, having time to to sort of figure out what my sound is um of my own music, i’ve been doing lots of improvisation, uh recordings and then turning these piano. Improvisations into uh, multi-tracked orchestras, you know um kind of inspired by those old saxophone orchestras from the 1920s like the six brown brothers – and you know i sometimes think of moon dogs, orchestras that he had. You know you’ve heard of moon dog right. No, the uh, the um american composer, who wrote um.

He wrote some pieces for saxophone orchestra anyway, you know so so thinking about that sound. But i’m aware that we’re here to talk about clarinets, not uh, not saxophones, absolutely right, absolutely right so which instrument uh! You started with of that whole bunch of i started the i started on a clarinet at the age of seven um, a plastic clarinet, a c clarinet. You know these clarinets are made entirely out of plastic um and i was playing that i don’t know when i switched. You know to b flat, but that was the beginning and then, when i was nine, i started the piano when i was 12.

I started saxophone and it was when i was 12 that i started learning jazz and when i was 13 i decided i’m going to be a jazz musician for life. I decided this was my thing um and really i for a long time. I thought the saxophone was the jazz instrument and the clarinet was the classical instrument. I did uh classical clarinet at school. You know i did all the grades i played in the county, youth orchestra, um and i played saxophone.

I i did it for um. You know this saxophone, i played just jazz on it. You know um, and i went to music college to study in london at the guildhall for four years and it wasn’t until the third year of music college that we started looking at some 1920s jazz. And it was at this point that i got very excited about. The clarinet again and started practicing um practicing.

Well, i had you know i had to bring the clarinet up to the point of the saxophone playing and then i guess at some point: well, the clarinet’s more demanding than the saxophone. So it’s always been the one. Since, then that. I’Ve practiced a lot more um so you played strictly classical music until that. Point, on!

The clarinet i guess so i. Actually i. Remember struggling when i picked it. Up again to you know um yeah it, wasn’t a prime, instrument of mine! I i i guess um yeah, it’s just.

I got very obsessed with sydney bechet for a while, so and at the time at music college. I i had just clarinet alto saxophone and baritone saxophone, so um yeah – i i guess i don’t know how that’s connected but yeah i started playing jazz. You know i started working on a sort of sydney bachelor like style and then after a while i found that was quite intense, so i got kind of into lester young for a bit. I’M a big fan of lester young’s clarinet playing sure which is not talked about enough. Actually, i’m just aware of that of his playing in the uh count.

Basie big band, like i hadn’t, had an album come come and uh, but maybe you can tell us some recordings where you listen to to him playing the clarinet um. Well, i can’t think of an example of him playing clarinet on um. On account basically record, i mean i mostly listen to his work with um billy holliday and i’m just struggling to remember which tracks it is. I think it um, i think he plays on i’ve, got a date with a dream. Okay.

Yes, that’s a really beautiful solo. I’Ve got a date with a dream which is one of her 1930s recordings. I know that he played a metal clarinet um and i heard that he stopped playing when he he he somehow um. I don’t know if he lost that instrument, but because he couldn’t find another instrument with the same sound he just sort of gave up on the clarinet at some point in his career. But i think the thing is that stan’s stands out.

So those are my two favorite jazz musicians of all time: sydney, bechet and lester young, and i think both of them. You know it doesn’t really matter whether they’re playing saxophone or clarinet, because they just sound like them. You know like there’s no clarinet player in the world that sounds like bechet on the clarinet he’s got a very unusual sound and the same with lester young. They, i think their sense of self and their sense of sound transcends their instruments, and so those have they’ve always been basically the most important replays for me in jazz, there’s, no one else who for me comes close to them. Did you i do some research about their playing about their upcoming about or how did you approach um those guys for for your own advantage?

Um, i don’t know i i when i when i was at music college and i first kind of got into sydney better. I was it was, i guess it was a. It was a time when you know i guess there wasn’t the same things. There are today with youtube and everything. I just remember going to the college library and listening to the getting cds out and they had they had.

You know listening booths with headphones and you could just you know, pick cds out of the thing and just sit and listen to stuff and that it was yeah. That’S kind of what blew my mind. I remember suffering at music college a lot because i couldn’t get on with modern jazz. I found it very hard to connect to the sound of the way people played. I found it very sort of you know the word cerebral comes into mind.

It’S it’s not uh and i was always trying to find something. I don’t know i i always loved to play music for people to dance to you know, and i was outside of the jazz world. I was very into things like um. You know like afrobeat, like fella, cootie and stuff like that and african music and things like that um. I know i’m digressing from your question, but i i you know.

I just remember this thing of being into lots of different things and it was uh discovering 1920s jazz. That made me realize. Well it just felt like it had all my favorite things in it. You know it has you know it’s music for dancing too. It has beautiful classical harmony and it has um, improvisation and so yeah.

I mean anyway, so sydney beshte. I guess that’s it. I listened to loads of records of his and at some point i read his autobiography um and i also read another one of his books. Not so a biography of his called the wizard of jazz recently, but i guess yeah, mostly it’s just sort of listening and imitating you know to get into sydney better. You have to spend a lot of work on your vibrato, so i remember walking down the street um just seeing how fast i could possibly move my lips, so you know it’s kind of.

Can i get it faster? Can i you know, can i hold a strong, embouchure and wobble my jaw like? How is this possible? How does he make this sound? That was something that was very exciting for me, um and then i remember hearing a recording of myself with far too much vibrato and far too much.

It sounded very exaggerated and silly. So i kind of you know i i felt like i needed to do something different to find my own sound. I guess, and i and i think for me it always comes back to those two players because lester you know, then having a period with lester young. I ended up that’s when i first got my first vintage saxophone. I struggled for ages to make the sound i wanted on saxophone.

So clarinet became my primary thing and then i went out and i found out how to get an old 1930s con saxophone and got into lester young um, because i now had the instrument that was quite close to the one that he played um. But i guess that’s the thing like yes, you know it’s funny. I keep talking about the saxophone, but i think um. I don’t really see these instruments as necessarily being completely separate from one another. You know um they sort of influence one another um and i guess that’s the thing the planet’s always been more demanding in terms of you know, there’s there’s more notes, there’s more fingerings.

You have to know that. I think, since that time i i’ve always spent much more time practicing the clarinet than i have the saxophone um yeah. But you know – and i i see those two guys as as like yeah, you know the sun and the moon, the best shades like the sun, because it’s like blazing hot, fast, vibrato, very rich, very, very uh. You know so he has this sort of fiery. Angry.

Sound and lester young is mellow and um. To be honest, i mean you could say i could spend more time with other great jazz clarinetists, but i kind of don’t feel like i need anybody else to teach me about jazz really. So i just listened. Listen to those two guys. Did you transcribe gripe at one point, or was it just absorbing the records and play along well, i am well actually yeah.

I i’ve done a fair amount of transcribing. You know it’s interesting when you start teaching, you know you get other people to transcribe, so then you feel well. I ought to transcribe the thing. I’Ve got them to transcribe. So recently i transcribed the famous lester young solo on ladybe good for something i feel i should have done a long time ago.

Um and um should i count it off right now? No, no! No! No! I haven’t done it on the clarinet um, but uh yeah.

I i’ve done transcribing over the years. You know i had to do a music college um. I got very, very excited about um. You know cindy bechet’s uh pieces as well, so both of those guys i’ve got sometimes i’ve just copied their sound and their phrases, and sometimes i’ve um transcribed the whole thing recently, because i entered this uh jazz competition, this jazz clarinet competition um. I don’t know if you heard, but i just came second yeah want to mention that i came across your name through that thing, so maybe you can tell us a bit about what happens well, just with regards to transcribing, i mean i don’t think it came out In my playing, but i um, i suddenly thought you know what uh, if i want to get.

If i want to win a jazz competition, i should probably spend a bit more time with charlie parker, because because i’ve spent so much time on the old guys that i i you know, i realized actually that charlie parker is very much within my sort of sensibilities. As well so i transcribed a little bit of i’ve been working on um, his recording of cherokee from 1942, but trying to play it on clarinet. I thought like if i’m gon na you know really you know, but yeah so in the competition. I i practiced a lot and i and i i don’t think any charlie parker came out of my plane because i think in like three weeks: you’re not gon na, but i thought well, that’s a good sort of focus. I i played quite a bit of bach as well um solo bach, you know to sort of gear up and i basically did the same exercises every day, which have always been my main exercises.

Um there’s a few things that i always do, but it was nice to actually really you know practice all day, long for like a good two-week period and then yeah i mean it was interesting because i had to play some modern music, which is not something i’m Used to doing i’m so much used to playing the old style of music from the 20s and 30s that it was interesting to suddenly have to play the altered scale again, and you know to navigate these these tunes that were written by victor coynes um. I had to sort of so you guys just you guys had to record playing their compositions and send it in and they chose what they liked. Yeah yeah. So i had to pick from a list of things and they were all modern, modern compositions by members of the panel um. So i picked two by victor goins and one by one by eric seddon, the other judge, one of the other judges um and yeah.

So i memorized the tunes and i did my best to internalize the harmony. I don’t think i completely nailed the harmony there’s a few mistakes on the submission, but it was one of these things. I i decided to put my eggs in one basket as it were. I booked a recording session um with some. You know the only day that i could get my favorite musicians to play and it was two days before the submission.

So whatever happened on that day had to be what i submitted. You know um. I think if i was to do it again, i would have, i would have done it all at home and i would have had hours and hours and hours to find the perfect tape. I wasn’t, you know overly happy with what came out, but i guess i guess that’s the thing. It’S you know um.

We can we’re never going to be playing our best. You know and that’s what drives us so well. At least it led to an interview. So far, yes, definitely um. I hope i haven’t um rambled too much into into many different directions.

No, it’s interesting. Just keep going. I mean it’s it’s. We can really just follow. Follow your thoughts or, for example, you mentioned like there are things there are things that you’re practicing on a daily basis.

Maybe you can share with our audience some things that you’re working on, for example? Well, i mean if you want yes well, one of the things that i’m completely obsessed with is the melody to stardust, which i was very proud of myself on the other day, because i managed to play it in all 12 keys in two different registers and in Two of the keys in three different registers, so i did it in six 26 different positions. I can now play the melody to stardust um, and i think this is my favorite practice. Actually, you know when you just just when you learn a melody to take that melody and take it throughout your instrument. You know, find the lowest part of the tune.

You know, what’s the lowest note and then pick the key accordingly and go up in semitones until you get to the highest thing, and currently i i work all the way up to the top um a top b flat. You know so so i you know so i was, i don’t think i can perform stardust in in e major up to top b flat right now, but yeah. We don’t have the time for the 26 keys uh, but uh uh yeah. That’S that’s! That’S the interesting thing about the clarinet: isn’t it because you know you can say: okay well, there’s 12 different keys, but the clarinet doesn’t work like that.

You know so and at least in the first register i like to think of it as being in 19. Different keys because there are 19 different semitones before you start your fingerings again. So if you learn you know what i mean, if you learn a pattern, you have to do it 19 times before the fingerings. Are the same so and then, of course, the top is different again so yeah i am so transposition, in other words, is one of the focus focuses that you have to be free to to play a melody in different keys like you’re, totally yeah. You know whatever.

So my obsession is it’s about playing the melody, how i play it. So if i’m and i can pick you could just pick a random key, if you want, i mean it doesn’t really matter, but um yeah well, any keys springs to mind yeah. Well, let me let me smell the air. Well just go ahead, and we i mean it really doesn’t matter i mean so so so, basically, what i’m obsessed with is is portamento. Portamento is my is my main one of my main parts of my practice, which i think is kind of a lost art, and it’s also something you know it’s something, that’s very, very key to classical violin and well classical string playing.

You know the violins and cellos and and and also a key part classical singing, and it was a very big part of jazz, but it’s kind of a skill that people don’t spend much time with. You know people’s people bend with their lips and they do glissandos with their finger, but i’m not talking just about cassandra’s. I’M saying i want to be able to bend between any note freely, so [, Music ]. I practice like this. You know i try and find you know um.

I try and find solutions to how to get my fingers to link notes together. Basically, so that’s why i find it. You know, i don’t just play the melody. I i work on the intonation. I work on the vibrato i work on making it sing like a voice.

You know um and i think portamento is one of the most exciting parts of that. Basically, if that makes sense, i think you’ve cut out. Are you still there hello, hello, yeah, i’m at the internet. The internet was gone, but i listened carefully. Sorry, i’m still here.

I said: oh okay, cool um, so yeah. So that was so that’s what i’m kind of thinking about. Um, i’ve even been working on the idea of glissandoing over the break as well so trying to do the impossible, which is uh. It’S probably not going to be easy to demonstrate right now, because it’s kind of impossible, but there it was. That was a very crude example, but i went from a from a.

I can actually go from an open g to a c over the break, um um, but you know so that’s the beginning of how it starts with the portamento and it sounds crude and a mess. And then you try and refine it. You know, and i like stardust as a melody, because it contains lots of very beautiful phrases. You know you know, you know that’s an extreme example. It starts like that, and i try and control it, and you know i’m very inspired by like uh the theremin as well.

I think that’s a great instrument because it has no uh. It has absolute freedom in this respect, who’s doing that, like you um who plays like that in the sorry, i can’t i’m i’m losing you for some reason. Your sound is not working hello. I’M here yeah um! Well!

Well, i didn’t understand the last sentence because the internet is going in and out yeah um. Can you um? Okay? So i’m talking about um, you know i’m practicing portamento all the time. That’S like a big part of my work, um and i’m very inspired by theremin, for example, because thoramine does look, that’s what it is and uh.

I was very very taken with a particular recording of um of the swan by uh by this famous theremin player. From from the uh from the 20s, well, i think the recordings later than that, like 60s or something called clara rockmore, you know the swan by samsung, so i said to myself: well i will i’ll practice this this style. You know it sounds ridiculous by itself, but it becomes part of my playing you know so you know, oh goodness, you see if it doesn’t work, it’s a disaster. If i’m not warmed up – and i don’t think i can do it on the clarinet very well, but you know this sort of thing, but then you know if i take it into like um, if i’m just playing like normally it just happens. Sometimes, oh anyway.

Sorry, i’m struggling to demonstrate these things right now, but this is what i’m practicing. Yes, it’s great to hear what you’re talking about yeah um, i’m also very influenced by ottoman music, so turkish clarinet style. I listen a lot to this music as well, so they also use um these techniques um in their music as well, and sometimes i play that style. You know when i’m practicing as well, um so yeah, so that’s it. I take tunes around all 12 keys.

I try and get them in different registers. Yeah um i um and i use you know i use the same pattern. I always use this sound this one [ Music ]. I don’t know if you’ve heard of this pattern before i’ve heard, but i’m not sure where i heard it well. I was, i was given lessons by a saxophone player in london called john tucson when i was at music college and he and yeah um told me to practice that and it’s become center central to all my practice.

So i do that in all different positions. I do it in the in the major key. I do it in the minor key and i do it in another mode as well, so in this mode, [, Music, ] and then i you know what i often do is i get my metronome and i put it on an uneven surface so that it swings Slightly right, so we have a nice groove, which is what i call a neutral feel it’s not it’s not triplet swing, and it’s not straight. No. Can you hear that yeah?

I can hear it so i play it. You know [ Music, ]. You know trying to that was probably put it slightly smaller swung than i want. I try and find the perfect angle. You know my my piano over here is not it’s not on a flat surface, so it’s quite nice and i think about this sort of micro.

Groove and then i do it different rhythms um, you know like oh then, and then like [, Music, ] and then finally and um, and i do it all throughout the whole instrument. Interesting, that’s that’s the metronome laying on the side or what no it’s. If you take a metronome yeah and you okay, just give it away okay, it’s hard to demonstrate exactly, but if it’s, if it’s flat, it will be even, but if you put it slightly to the side, you can get a little swing yeah and that’s it. If you have one of those metronomes, but these guys most guys have the other one, but the point is: is that when you play you know jazz phrasing and you want to play swing, you want to play it with a nice light. Feel you know it’s not.

You know i don’t want to be playing like you know, so it’s a nice. It’S a nice way to sort of find this neutral swing, which i think is something i’ve always very much admired about. Lester young, you know um. I can’t i’m struggling to actually play for you right now, but i don’t know if that’s what we’re supposed to be doing so um, it’s all right, yeah um! I totally get the point what you’re talking about like to to to place the notes?

Well, what’s i mean you’re looking for what fits your style of playing, what you like and admiring others and in yourself? So that’s why you place the notes behind the bar or ahead of the bar. I get it. That’S not the thing. This is not about um playing behind the b as such.

This is about ratios. So, for me, swing has two elements right, it’s well. So it is about what you said, but there’s two elements. One element is ratio, so you know the more i tilt the metronome. The bigger the difference because it becomes between the two beat lengths right.

So i mean i don’t know it doesn’t work very well on the hand you see, i normally do it um. So that’s quite a high ratio now they’re more even so. There we go now. The ratios got bigger again and you know i think people when they when they learn classical music and they learn about jazz. They think the ratio is two to one.

You know triplets, but i i like to find something you know. Maybe it’s more like three to two. You know, or maybe it’s more like you know, 3.6 to two point. Whatever it’s it’s a it’s a microrhythmic thing, it’s just fine, but it’s, but it’s a scientific thing too.

At the same time, and and the great thing is you know sometimes what i do is i just i have coins and i just stick them underneath one of the legs to change the swing of. What’S going on. Of course, you know you have to put the metronome right down to its lowest point and so that’s the fastest. You can use this metronome for it’s the tempo. I just showed you so so that’s um yeah.

So i use that as a kind of it’s been a nice thing for me, because i feel that it’s very difficult in these times to get away from looking at a screen all the time you know, so i don’t actually own an electronic metronome. I can stick it on my phone or stick it on the computer, but it means invariably i’m looking at a screen, so it’s nice to get away from electric electricity. When i practice you know it doesn’t blew up and i and it’s very very, very hard to find a flat surface in my house. So where are you living man? I i live in london in an old, victorian house.

You know so i guess it was built. 150 years ago – and it’s just not flat and um, and so if i do want to use the metronome in the conventional way, it’s it takes a long time of adjusting to find that to find that equal spot. So if i want to practice, you know other things i find i i use a drumbeat actually on my computer, hey and then i can record myself playing and listen back to what i did um. So i do you know i use technology as well um but yeah. So but that’s the thing.

The main. The main elements of practice for me are just it’s getting my fingers to move in rhythm um. You know being able to play melodies in any key and then obviously range. I do the i do the. What do you call it um?

I do extended arpeggios. You know [ Music ], my goodness, i’m not warmed up today. I’Ve got a terrible, read. I’M sorry! Um this um, this exercise, which you know if i’d done my long notes and warmed up, because i didn’t warm up before our interview i didn’t know i was gon na – be playing uh.

It’S it’s really just those things and then yes, then, after all that becomes we get into the world of improvisation practice, which i guess is probably the most interesting thing of all um. You know so i develop my sound. I develop like making my instruments speak and i think about all that and then i i play games. I use restrictive exercises to work around the chord sequences um. So i mean you know like i don’t know if you know what i’m talking about, but um, something that i’ve grown to call the suspended.

Note technique told me um, which is maybe not the right name, but i i i’m you know, i’m teaching this in my workshops that i do i’m doing a weekly zoom workshop and using these these you know teaching these exercises. I believe this is how you improvise. You have to create parameters, so if i look at the tune, all of me, which i think is the best tune to teach improvisation on um for me – is – i am i’ll, take one you know. So if i play all of me in the key of c i’ll, take one note, um and i’ll feature in every bar, so i’ll do a whole chorus of all of me with c, as the most important note so do in the scale, then then i’ll do Another chorus, you know then i’ll i’ll see if i can be fluent making that note the most important note and then i’ll go up the scale. So i’ll do the second degree.

You know re, so you know. So if i just do a little bit of the song, you know in this key if i make c the most important note in every bar, so you know i start with the route then i do the second degree yeah you know, then i just go up The [ Music ] scale, [ Music, ], [, Music, ] yeah, and you just keep going, but obviously so. Every time i learn, i work on a song. I play this game up the the scale and sometimes, if i’m in a very extreme mood, i do it in all 12 semitones and i’ll start on the lowest note of the clarinet. So if i’m playing all of me and c, i start by featuring the low e and then you know, and the game is, i have to make a good solo.

But this is the most important note in every bar of the whole chord sequence. Yeah, that’s powerful exercise and it’s the, and this is the only way for me to feel free. You know, i don’t i don’t think about licks. I just think about um yeah. I just think about composing really, but but being able to do it in the moment.

Um, you know it’s very difficult at the bottom of the clarinet, because there’s some notes that just won’t work. So you you you, you know if we start, if we’re in all of me and c, you know you’re you’re, going in with every note like you’re playing with, like the all of me with the f, that’s the most important thing, yeah i’ll start with all of My with e is the most important right. Oh sorry, sorry! Yes, this is interesting, so you so basically on every song that i practice when i practice the chord sequence. I go up the scale.

I definitely use all seven notes of the major scale. Okay, regardless of what the chords are um and then sometimes, if i’m being more extreme i’ll use all 12 notes, that’s what i was asking for. So if we’re doing all the means in c, the f is no problem for me. You know people think about. Oh, you know you can’t play an f.

You know this is the worst note on a c major chord, but it’s fine, there’s no problem, yeah sure it depends how you play it. Yeah well, yeah. So actually, but actually i was talking about your f – not the piano f, oh yeah, yeah, yeah yeah. That’S not that’s the problem! [ Music!

]! Oh me! Hopefully you could still follow the chord sequence there. It could sound like a load of rubbish, but you know anyway, a lot of creative ideas and keep it fresh and with yeah well exercise. It’S like.

I think it’s interesting for people to uh to realize that, like it doesn’t matter what kind of style or what what you’re doing you can be very specific about it and have certain like exercises that can help to set you free at the end. When you just make music for for people who are dancing, for example – oh yeah, it’s very simple um. You know this is a great exercise because it means i can decide what what note i want to play. I don’t have to worry about the chords and if i hit a note that i wasn’t meaning to play, i know how to get out of it. I know how to fix it and every mistake becomes a positive thing that you can enjoy.

You know the only times you make you know. Sometimes we make you know the worst mistakes that i think you can make are when you, you know when you stop, when you start trying to um, you stop just feeling the music and you start uh, trying to think about what scale you know. So what chord you should be playing right now and blah blah. Sometimes when i’m playing um my mind says, play this arpeggio and i play like a whole arpeggio in the completely the wrong key. You know um a wrong note, isn’t a problem but a wrong arpeggio.

A wrong phrase: it doesn’t fit. It’S definitely something you can’t fix, there’s definitely wrong things in jazz. You know. I don’t believe this idea that there are no wrong notes, but i mean in terms of individual notes. Yes, any note you can make it work and do beautiful things with it um.

I guess i’m waiting for yeah. I was ready for it again, but um yeah, it’s all good. I i have. I wonder if the connection is, if it’s, if it’s my side, i could plug in uh ethernet. No, nothing to do with you.

It’S sometimes it’s the software. Sometimes it’s the whatever it is um. Okay, it’s it’s not up close yeah. You have perfect uh. I see the strong internet sign coming to you, uh, maybe okay, let’s reach a bit like now.

We we got to know like what’s going on inside uh inside your brain or your practice between. Maybe you can tell us a bit about your uh like uh. I read that you have certain like kind of music series like life like steady, gigs or something what’s going on there or how did you develop that kind of audience or where do you like to play and for dance? Well, i mean, i suppose, the practical side of making music outside. Well, i mean at the moment with the lockdown.

I don’t have any gigs at all um and i’m just doing all my work on live streams, but in the past i was playing um for in small clubs for people to dance. I ran a night in london for 10 years, um called the cakewalk, and that was all for dancing too, and it was all focused on old style, jazz from the 20s and 30s um. So and quite a lot of the time, i’ve you know tried to keep it and try to connect together all the people from the scene who love this music. So i don’t i haven’t just said: okay, i’ve got a weekly gig, i’m just going to have my band. I’Ve tried to include you know, all the you know: lots of different people from the scene and and i’ve got a chance to play with quite a few people and um.

So i had a at one point when i was going really well. I had a residency every every wednesday in one place and then with different bands and then every thursday um with my band and then a saturday night in a bigger place. Also and all these places people could dance and people like to dance, but you know i i don’t like to play. Cheesy swing, music either. I i don’t want to play music that some people, some swing dancers, only want to hear this sort of count.

Basie stuff. You know with the riffs and the kind of simple stuff like that. I’Ve always liked to play a variety of things. I mean um. I like playing ragtime a lot ragtime tunes um as well as as well as late stuff, um generally pre-war kind of things, but yeah i um.

I got together a lot of rags with this particular band. I had called the cable street ragband which no longer exists, but we played you know. We played some scott joplin, of course, but we also played some other things by wc, handy and general morton. Do you play the piano there or the clarinet or a wolf? Oh totally clarinet i mean well, i played a front line with two clarinet players and um.

At one point i lived above this venue so i had. I could have all my instruments with me. So i’d have like alto. I play a lot of alto saxophone. Imitating the style of a trumpet player playing the lead in the band um and then on.

Some numbers me and the other guy would play two clarinets together, so double clarinet uh and sometimes he would play bass clarinet and i would play clarinet. Sometimes i’d play clarinet. He played tennis, but we just mix up all the different things, but we, you know we had someone playing piano at the time in that band um, but yeah i’ve. I very much like leading a band in that sort of old style where we all play collectively together um, but it’s very hard to find musicians that you really click. Click with.

I had a very positive experience playing in new orleans a few times with a band called tuba skinny, which you may have heard of um. There’S lots of recordings of us playing together and i had two three month periods with them and i made an album. I made an album with them a couple of years ago, where i played mostly alto saxophone, and you know the big part of that is to is to to play collectively. So you know we have some arranged bits, but the the beautiful part is this new orleans counterpoint where we all play at the same time, um and yeah in my own band in london. I i ended up doing that a lot just with one other musician, because you know i happen to find a very special connection with the way we the two of us play together.

His name is: will scott and uh he’s now moved to cyprus, so we can’t play together anymore, but we had a very um strong understanding. You know there’s a sort of magic that happens when you can improvise with someone at the same time, and so we had all that going on, but we were always kind of conscious of the dance floor. So i guess the thing that’s slightly different with the older jazz is to try and keep the songs not too long. You know so that you know so. You change developing this developing this way to lead a band where you can keep the arrangement very tight, um using hand, gestures to kind of cool breaks, and you know this idea that it shouldn’t be that you know, i think some people for some people, a jazz Band should be an absolute um, it’s completely equal, everybody gets the same.

You know we start with the head and then everybody gets a solo and everyone solos. You know two or three choruses and including the bass player and the drummer, and you go around like that. But i think i was quite interested in the idea of kind of coming up with a piece of music. So not everybody gets a solo on each time and sometimes we do sort of rhythmic breaks. Sometimes i’ll call it that, like we’ll just you know, tell certain parts of the band to cut out and we’ll just have like a moment of just guitar and clarinet or um.

You know we. We tried lots of different things live with arrangement. You know um rhythmic breaks, riffs, um, uh, all sorts of things, and it was. It was a nice thing and it’s a nice thing to do it on a regular basis with um with an audience who like to dance but not exclusively um yeah. So so that’s kind of the the sort of style of band leading i’m used to and and i kind of have run jam sessions in a similar sort of way.

I mean that’s. A difficult challenge is to run a jam session where you’re still keeping the dance floor happy i mean some dancers, don’t mind the odd song which goes on for for hours and hours, but but generally you try and you know so. You’Ve got to kind of weigh up this balance was kind of making sure that everyone gets a go, but also, but also keeping the music sort of tight. I guess um so yeah, that’s, i guess that’s been mostly what i’ve been doing. Um i’d like to play more sort of listening gigs in a way um.

I kind of have recorded some stuff, which is more like me, playing ballads and things and um kind of you know it’s an interesting time for reflection right now. There are no gigs at all um. You know i’ve got nothing in the book, so i guess when i come out of this, i’m hoping to put some things in place. You know yeah last last but not least, can you tell a bit what what attracts you? Uh to play for and like for for dancers uh compared to just play for people that are lined up on chairs on chairs just to listen.

Is there something you’re finding satisfying more in one or another or in a different way, in that kind of style of music that you’re focusing on i mean i just yeah, it’s funny, you know i, i guess i don’t really connect to the music. That’S kind of i don’t connect to the modern jazz so well um, for the reason that it i don’t feel it makes me want to dance. So i i kind of feel it’s like a thing that it really amazes me when i hear you know my favorite stuff to listen to is um is the 1930s billie holiday stuff with teddy wilson and lester young. I’M sure you know it um the real famous recordings. You know when she was younger and her voice was clearer and that music is incredibly soulful and beautiful, but you can also dance to it.

I think i think music doesn’t have to you know. Sometimes i think people kind of see it’s like there’s, dance, music and then there’s sort of serious music, but the music, that’s really blown my mind is – is music that you can dance to that’s, also very deep and soulful and meaningful at the same time. Um and that’s what i was seeking to do, you know i guess, but i mean: do you get some like feedback when people are dancing you, you got the impression well, i must be playing pretty well, otherwise they would not dance or has it to do with Something else it’s just like to be in the service of like music and serve to dance, but people can listen and sit down if they want. I mean just basic. What basically draws you to to this uh um your opinion, basically or feeling it’s uh.

I don’t know exactly what it is um. I guess i like the clarity of like a strong rhythm. I i find it’s nice to um. I think you do play differently when you see people moving to to be and you you adjust your style accordingly. Um yeah probably i mean you know, i think these sort of things we talk about like swinging stuff.

I think they couldn’t develop without a dance floor. I think sort of i kind of feel that i think jazz kind of lost its way a little bit. For me, when it abandoned the dance floor, i feel um. You know it’s like. I think about that charlie parker, recording of him in the 1940s in 1942, where he’s got rhythm, guitar accompaniment and i feel like this – is kind of perfect music and it’s interesting um.

It’S interesting how okay for me, it’s like whether rhythm guitar leaves the music something changes and it ceases to have that function anymore. I’Ve always i guess i, like the simplicity of the sort of driving beat, and i love sort of thinking about the african side of the music, i’m very interested. I don’t just listen to jazz music. I listen to music from all around the world. I’Ve spent some time playing with african musicians as well.

I’Ve played an afrobeat sort of bands and things – and i don’t see jazz, is any different and i and i like to when i listen to the really old style of playing. I i hear caribbean music in there i hear um. I hear the african rhythm actually much stronger, actually in in the really old stuff. You know you listen to really old, 20s music um there’s something earthier about it. I guess um.

So i guess yeah i mean it’s just it’s not that i don’t love other music too. I i listen to classical music as well, so i love there’s all sorts of music. That’S beautiful! I think that that you don’t have to dance to, but i guess in terms of jazz, i see it as kind of like the kind of jazz i play. I feel like it needs the dance floor.

You know i mean i, i have lovely gigs playing it without the dance floor too, of course, but um yeah. I don’t know if that’s answered your question. No, it does definitely yeah yeah. Well, thanks for sharing all your thoughts and uh the way you practice now, we can apply it to ourselves and uh see if we have that uneven surface for our metronome and uh was was interesting to to to see your way of of dealing with uh staying In shape what to practice uh what to think about or not to do what it’s quite a process? Yeah, i’m just sorry that i couldn’t quite demonstrate.

My uh, i feel, like i didn’t, do my portamento justice today, but anyway, you’ll probably hear it in my playing. No, no, i heard uh what you’re you were explaining and playing. So it was beautiful. It’S always nice when people play something it’s it’s kind of refreshing between just just talking about it. So uh it got through.

Don’T worry, yeah yeah! Well, we didn’t get to talk about the blues either so yeah, that’s it yeah in the next episode. We’Ll do that for sure, because we talked about micro rhythm, but you’ve also got to talk about micro tones as well, but anyway, right right, yeah yeah, but anyway. Yes, i guess it’s time to um yeah yeah, it’s okay, it’s enough to digest for the moment and uh who knows uh where this will lead, but uh well, yeah! Please, please tell everyone to subscribe to my youtube channel.

If they, you know, that’s i’m hoping to get more more followers, so that would really help yeah. I i posted your website, but i’ve yeah people will find you for sure yeah. I need to make sure there’s a link to my youtube from there, but anyway, thank you very much. Yeah thanks. You was nice to chat with you.

Okay, cheers!

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Live with SCOTT ROBINSON

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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

Read More: How playing an instrument benefits your brain – Anita Collins

As found on YouTube

BRIEF HISTORY OF THE CLARINET

Clarinetto” is the romantic diminutive, or minor, of “clarion.” The Clarin trumpet (named after Clarino Blasen) of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The “clarinetto” of this period, due to its sound, was related primarily with the upper register of the trumpet

Ancient Clarinet

Instruments using single reeds with a cylindrical tube-shaped bore can be discovered back to the early Egyptian culture and most likely the clarinet originated there. The single reed was in the most basic structure a flexible and adaptable tongue cut from the side of a hollowed-out reed-pipe so one end could vibrate unrestrictedly while the other was joined to the body portion of the pipe. The vibration was eased by shaving either the hinged end, or the free end of the reed

The single reed ancient clarinet was discovered with an assortment of other instruments, including a bag-pipe.

The Middle Ages

There is evidence that throughout the Middle Ages and beyond them well into the seventeenth century the single reed was confined to the music-making of the peasants. There is no evidence whatever that it was ever adopted for more serious purposes.” (F. Geoffrey Rendall, The Clarinet New York: Philo­sophical Library, 1954 p. 64)

A similar instrument merging the attributes of a cylindrical bore and single reed was used throughout Europe during the late seventeenth through the eight­eenth centuries and was customarily called the “chalumeau.” 

Doppelmayr recorded in 1730 about a clarinet developed by a German woodwind maker, Johann Christoph Denner (1655-1707) (Adam Carse, Musical Wind Instruments, London: Macmillan and Co. Limited, 1939, p. 150). Any later references to the clarinet development are dependent on this testimonial. Apparently, Denner “in­vented” it by upgrad­ing the chalumeau, giving it a removable mouthpiece, add­ing a bell exit, and creating the harmonics music accessible by methods of a “speaker” key. This most indispensable revelation was that the drilling of a vent hole by the upper end of the cylinder tube causing the scale of fundamental sound to be a twelfth higher. Basically, this “clarinet” (clarion) was added to the contemporary “chalumeau” register. 

Johann Christoph Denner clarinet
TWO-KEYED CLARINET

THE CLARINET OF DENNER 

The first “clarinet” was a simple two-keyed type instrument with eight fingering openings which allowed an entire scale from f to b’.  The image above shows two perspectives on this type of instrument.

DENNER's clarinet in detail
THE CLARINET OF DENNER

The illustration above is the kind of two-keyed instrument that has the Denner creative innovation(Rendall, op. cit). There were, obviously, no tone-holes for any semitones. These are only achieved through cross-fingering

The early sound this type of clarinet made was a bit grating and not very soothing. J. Mattheson referred to the “chalumeaux with their wailing ensemble” in Neu-eroffnete Orchestre combined with Walther’s comment that “the clarinet sounded from a remote place like a trumpet” (Ibid. , p. 70) vouch for the shrillness of the tone. 

THE FIVE-KEYED CLARINET

The five-keyed clarinet to which Mozart gave status by forming the clarinet concerto, was evidently developed around 1750 and became the standard before the century’s end. The material for the clarinet was, for the most part, boxwood with an ebony wood mouthpiece. However, there were a few clarinets made of ivory, beautifully fitted with silver components. In either structure, there is no uncertainty that these instruments were horribly off-key

Thirteen-keyed Clarinet

The best development of the key framework occurred in the first fifty years of the nineteenth century. The most influen­tial of the creative innovators of this time was Iwan Müller (1786-1854) who created the thirteen-keyed framework and was viewed by some as the second designer of the instrument. (Carse, op. cit., p.160)

Mozart clarinet, invented 1750
Thirteen-keyed Clarinet

From around 1840 the brass metal keys were supplanted with silver keys, cupped or rounded keys supplanted flat keys and the reed was fastened with metal ligatures, not, as was the case up to this point, tied on. Likewise, around this time, it became standard to play with the reed on the lower lip rather than the upper lip. This process relinquished a portion of the upper range yet improved the rest of the range. 

 

 

Albert System

Unmistakable among the clarinet inventors, with the thirteen/fourteen keyed clarinets, was Eugène Albert (1816–1890), a fabricator whose name is recognizable with the well known and popular Albert system before the widespread adoption of the Boehm system.

Boehm System Clarinet

The Boehm clarinet was formulated by Hyacinthe Klose in partnership with Auguste Buffet, a Paris instrument creator. The new clarinet depended on components borrowed from the Boehm system flute. The improvements were the ability to control notes with the use of levers that duplicated control for the left and right hands.  This Boehm system also allowed for acoustically better-arranged note-holes for better sound for pretty much every trill and provided new ways to slur between notes.  

Despite the fact that the patent was applied for in 1844, this new “Boehm” clarinet was not adopted widely until after 1900. At the time, many European clarinetists were slow to buy-in to the Boehm System. Many did not like the complex mechanism and the inability to produce the low tones that were “indispensable” to the identity of the clarinet in the minds of many. Once the French Army adopted the new Boehm clarinets it broke the dam of resistance. Today the Boehm system clarinet is almost the only kind of clarinet you can buy.

When was the Clarinet Invented?

Inventions of the clarinet are not as common as the guitar or the saxophone but they certainly exist. There are many different kinds of instruments out there that you can make to use for other instruments. The clarinet in particular is one of these instruments that is perfect for this purpose. It’s easy to learn, has a rich history, and sounds great with just about any type of music. So if you’re looking to learn about this instrument, here is a little bit of information on the history of this instrument and how it came to be.

For a more detailed history of the clarinet itself click here

Clarinets were first introduced during the Renaissance period. In 1690,  Johann Cristoph Denner invented the clarinet. Of course, it looked very different than modern clarinets. This was a time in time where people were starting to listen to everything that they could get their hands on. The way these instruments work was that they used a little fingerboard attached to a thin metal bar. This bar was then mounted to the instrument’s body using the ends of the strings and was what allowed you to play all sorts of sounds. Because the sounds these instruments produced were so realistic, people became interested in learning how to play them.

 

In early times, the clarinetist had to be able to tune his instrument to the tune played by the band. As this became more popular, people were also able to buy their own instruments. The instrument was actually named after the famous Spanish composer Juan Clarin. It was designed for the musician and not the musician being the inventor of the instrument.

Clarinets have been around for thousands of years. They actually evolved from early flutes. These instruments started out as simple wooden instruments until the Egyptians made use of them in their music. Since the Egyptians discovered the secret of playing such instruments, the rest of the world realized how important these instruments were to the culture.

The reason people learned to play these instruments is because of their ability to produce very good sounding music. The best thing about these instruments is that they also have an exquisite range of sounds that you can choose from. They are perfect for both soloists and bandleaders. They can also provide your audience with a very interesting musical experience when being played by a professional musician. However, in order to play a good clarinet, it takes a lot of training. and dedication.

Clarinets come in many different sizes and designs, and they are also found in different parts of the world. One of the most popular styles is the grand. It’s actually the smallest of all clarinets. You’ll find the grand at most music festivals and they have a long history as a favorite instrument of many musicians from all over the world.

 

Clarinet PNG Images

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Download free clarinet png transparent images. Clarinet clipart and illustrations. Here, if you like, you can explore and these high-quality transparent icons and awesome pictures to decorate your school projects, or if you are really inspired, like Squidward, the walls of your room. You can download these png format images of clarinets that already have the background cleaned away and transparent. 

I know for myself, finding a good image is not always easy. Here I have collected a few for you to enjoy. If you find any other clarinet png images that you think I should know about and place here, please let me know. I am always eager to add more to my collection. 

If you were you searching for Clarinet png (Portable Network Graphics pronounced PEE-en-JEE) images, it is my hope you found what you were searching for and the google-gods led you to me!

PNG images are a raster graphics formatted file that can give you data compression without loss of quality.

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Jimmie Noone Moonshine and Music

Jimmie Noone, amongst New Orleans’ early clarinet kings, possessed the best technique and a pure, almost classical sound. To some, his seemingly effortless delivery sounds shallow, or even lacks taste: but his sophisticated style opened the door for the Swing Era, and made him ultimately more influential than his peers Johnny Dodds and Sidney Bechet.

Early Life

Jimmie Noone

Born in Cut-Off, Louisiana on April 23, 1895, Jimmie Noone was raised in Hammond, where he began to play guitar as a boy. In 1910, his family moved about fifty miles south to New Orleans. Once in the city, the aspiring guitarist met Sidney Bechet  who was two years younger than he, but already regarded as an exceptional clarinetist.

Noone felt attracted to the clarinet and began to study informally with Bechet. Before long, this led to his first professional engagement on the instrument, when his notoriously unreliable teacher failed to appear at a gig.

Noone also began to take more formal clarinet instruction with Lorenzo Tio, Jr., the son of a musical family noted for their teaching abilities. Tio gave him a solid foundation in technique and music theory and apparently encouraged him to continue his studies. Later, when he was established as a busy soloist and recording artist in Chicago in the 1920s, Noone also studied with Franz Schoepp, the teacher of Benny Goodman and Buster Bailey.

Until 1917, Noone worked in a variety of musical settings in New Orleans, playing with many top-level musicians including Oscar Celestin, Armand Piron and Clarence Williams. He formed the Young Olympia Band with the legendary cornetist Buddy Petit before leaving to join his brother-in-law, cornetist Freddie Keppard, in the Original Creole Band on a tour of the Junior Orpheum vaudeville circuit during the 1917-1918 season.

Jimmy Noone in Chicago

After this taste of travel, Noone decided not to return to New Orleans, and settled in Chicago to play with King Oliver at the Royal Gardens from 1918 to 1920. Chicago became Noone’s base of operations, and he remained there for the next twenty-five years and became a fixture on the city’s dance and cabaret music scenes.

From the summer of 1920 until the fall of 1926, and again briefly in 1927, he played clarinet as well as saxophones in the large band led by Charles Doc Cooke, primarily at the Dreamland Ballroom. This group eventually grew to sixteen pieces, and developed to a point that Noone was called upon to exercise his reading abilities in the saxophone section, as well as to enliven many arrangements with his clarinet solos and obbligati.

During this period Noone freelanced occasionally and made his first recordings with Joe “King” Oliver and drummer/entertainer Ollie Powers before entering the studio with Cook several times between 1924 and 1926.

Jimmie Noone’s First Recordings

His first recording in September of 1923, Play That Thing for Claxtonola, shows him at work in a traditional New Orleans context, interacting with a front line of one or two cornets and trombone and alternating rapid but precise bursts of notes with more bluesy phrases emphasizing his round yet penetrating sound. His work with Cook, such as The One I Love, recorded on January 21, 1921 for Gennett, or Messin Around (Cookies Gingersnaps),” recorded June 22, 1926, featuring Jimmie playing with the reeds, but now and then busting out with a blazing obbligato over the final ensemble.

While employed by Cook and afterwards, Noone also led smaller groups in after hours clubs such as the Nest, Apex Club and El Rado. These were essentially speakeasies catering to a much rougher crowd than that which frequented the Dreamland. Noone’s group eventually became known as the Apex Club Orchestra and featured the unusual instrumentation of himself on clarinet with a second player, often Joe Poston, on alto saxophone in the front line backed up by a rhythm section of piano, banjo, drums and sometimes tuba. For a short period, Earl “Fatha” Hines played piano with the group.

In May of 1928, Noone was finally able to record under his own name. Calling his group the Apex Club Orchestra, Noone preserved the sort of music he was playing in the after-hours clubs in Chicago at the time. Consisting of only Poston on alto saxophone and Noone in front and Hines on piano, these recordings represented a sophisticated translation of the traditional New Orleans style.

With Poston providing a spare lead, Noone was free to range much more freely in his improvisations and accompaniments. On the first recording of the series, I Know That You Know, recorded on May 16, 1928 for Vocalion, is perhaps the finest of Noone’s career. His articulation, speed of execution and sense of time are all superb as he embroiders Poston’s spare lead and later takes a solo against stop-time rhythm. The choice of a Broadway show tune, composed by Vincent Youmans, also represents a departure from the more traditional New Orleans fare, based on blues or simple chord progressions.

The flip side of that record was Sweet Sue, which shows the more romantic  and sometimes criticized – side of Noone. Using a faster vibrato and sweeter sound, which is intensified by Poston’s switch to clarinet, Noone turns this normally spirited tune into a lament. “Four or Five Times,” on the other hand, captures both Noone and Hines in full swing.

Jimmy Noone During and After the Depression

The Depression years limited Noones musical opportunities, but as a versatile and well-trained musician he could fit into a variety of settings. A brief trip to New York in 1931 found him playing with Cab Calloway’s big band for a short period, but he soon returned to Chicago where he led a succession of small groups in various clubs. Except for another abortive attempt to open a club in New York in 1935, Noone remained based in Chicago until 1943, touring the Midwest with a quartet and occasionally yielding to popular taste by fronting a big band of his own.

Noone’s later work shows a remarkable consistency of approach  generally either a technical, highly arpeggiated style, or a slow, dreamy one using a rippling vibrato. Fortunately, a quartet date Noone played at Chicago’s Yes, Yes Club on July 17, 1941 has been preserved: his version of A Porter’s Love Song from this date demonstrates his use of the former technique, and Body and Soul the latter.

New Orleans Jazz in Los Angeles

1943 began what appeared to be a renaissance in Jimmie Noone’s career. The revival of interest in New Orleans Jazz was just beginning to emerge on the West Coast, and with it, the revival of the careers of Crescent City natives Bunk Johnson and Kid Ory.

Noone moved to the Los Angeles area to be a part of that scene, and quickly found work in movies and clubs. Early in 1944 he joined Kid Ory’s Creole Jazz Band and was featured with them on the weekly broadcast of Orson Welles Mercury Theatre program in March and April. Unfortunately, Noone did not live to enjoy his newfound popularity, as he died suddenly of a heart attack on the morning of April 19, 1944.

Jimmie Noone’s Legacy

Noone’s final recording, with Ory’s group for the Welles broadcast of March 15, 1944, shows him returning to his roots as an ensemble player. His clarinet solo on High Society stands out as one of the finest early recordings of this influential and often copied early jazz riff.

Jimmie Noone’s legacy as a New Orleans clarinetist was one of great technical assurance and ability. He combined his pure and refined tone, which he seldom colored with the growls or rasps utilized by Bechet, with exceptionally precise articulation and clean execution.

Those who favor the grittier, bluesier style of Dodds and Bechet may find Noone’s tone to be too sweet, especially on romantic numbers, and when he intensified his vibrato. But close listeners will also hear how he kept alive the more refined Creole clarinet tradition he learned from Lorenzo Tio. This tradition can also be heard in the work of some of the next generation of New Orleans clarinetists, such as Albert Nicholas, Barney Bigard and Omer Simeon.

Swing Era clarinetists, such as Benny Goodman, Buster Bailey and Jimmy Dorsey were avowed Jimmie Noone admirers  both Goodman and Bailey later recorded I Know That You Know, and liberally quoted the original clarinet solo. Dorsey’s clarinet work in the late 1920s and early 1930s, such as St. Louis Blues with Spike Hughes and Praying The Blues, explicitly attempted to capture Noone’s liquid sound and freely used some of his pet phrases.

Jimmie Noone Discography

While there are many reissues of Noone’s work, all of the recordings mentioned in this article except for High Society can be found on the superbly remastered, four CD set Jimmie Noone  Chicago Rhythm, issued as JSP 926.

  • New Orleans Jazz (Olympic, 1975)
  • Chicago Dixieland in the Forties (Smithsonian Folkways, 1981)
  • Oh! Sister, Ain’t That Hot (Jazz Heritage Series, 1983)
  • Apex Blues (Decca, 1994)

All of the Kid Ory broadcasts for Orson Welles, including “High Society,” can be found on Portrait of the Greatest Slideman Ever Born, Upbeat Jazz URCD 187.

Best Ensembles For Clarinet

Sometimes you just need a list of the best ensembles to work through and know that you have mastered the clarinet by some standard. Some of these are simple in beauty yet challenging to accomplish, either way, here are the best of the best ensembles in my estimation. If you have conquered these you are ready for a career with the clarinet.

Below you will find a list of selected ensembles for the clarinet. This list is in no way comprehensive. It is merely a listing of some better-known ensembles. For a more comprehensive list, a good source to consult is the UIL (University Interscholastic League) Prescribed Music List published by The University of Texas. Please feel free to contact me for further suggestions or information regarding ensemble music selection. Best Wishes!

Pieces are listed as follows: Instrumentation / Title / Composer / Publisher.

Clarinet Kid I Salute You Meme

Beginning Clarinet

  • 2 cl. / 20 Easy Progressive Duets / Lazarus / Carl Fischer
  • 2 cl. / Selected Duets, Volume I / Voxman / Rubank
  • 2 cl. / Fifty Progressive Duets, Op. 80 / Kueffner / Carl Fischer
  • trios / EverybodyÆs Favorite Collection / J. Arnold / Amsco
  • mixed trio / Chamber Music for Three Woodwinds, Vol. I / Voxman / Rubank
  • 4 cl. / Ensemble Class, Book I / Voxman / Rubank
  • WW Quintet / Arbean Suite for Woodwind Quintet / Weston
  • fl/ob/cl/bn / Allegro Brilliant / J. C. Bach / Carl Fischer

Intermediate Clarinet

  • 2 cl. / Selected Duets, Volumes I and II / Voxman / Rubank
  • 2 cl. / Violin Duets, Op. 32 / Dancla / Schirmer
  • 2 cl. / Inventions / Bach/Luisetti
  • 2 cl. / 3 Progressive Duets (No. 1 and2) / Crusell /
  • 3 cl. / Clarinet Trios from Corelli to Beethoven / arr. Rosenthal / Belwin /
  • 3 cl. / Clarinet Trios from 18th Century / arr. Rosenthal / Belwin
  • 3 cl. / Clarinet Trios from Russian Comp. / arr. Rosenthal / Belwin
  • 3 cl. / Eight Clarinet Trios / Weston / G. Schirmer
  • 3 cl. / Five Trios / Handel/Voxman / Rubank
  • 3 cl. / Larghetto and Allegro / Mozart/Voxman / / Rubank
  • 3 and 4 cl. / Clarinet Sessions / Cassel-Gehrhart / / Words and Music
  • 4 cl. / Duets for 2 Violins (enough double stops for 4 clarinets to play) / Dancla / Schirmer
  • 4 cl. / Violin Duets, Op. 66 / Dancla / Schirmer
  • 4 cl. / Ensemble Classics for Clarinet, Books I and II / Himie Voxman / Rubank
  • cl & fl or ob. / Duos Concertante (3rd series) / Gambaro, Mozart, Bach, Handel / Andraud
  • cl & fl. or ob. / Duos Concertante (1st series) / Bach, Handel, Mozart / Andraud
  • cl & fl. or ob. / Duos Concertante (2nd series) / Mozart, Kummer, Bach, Handel / Andraud
  • mixed trio / Chamber Music for Three / Voxman / Rubank / Woodwinds, Vol. II
  • fl/ob/cl / 15 Three Part Inventions / Bach
  • fl/ob/cl / Four London Trios / Haydn
  • fl/ob/cl/bn / Classic Pieces for Small Ensembles / Andraud
  • WW Quintet / Andante Cantabile (fr. String Quartet, Op. 11) / Tchaikovsky / Carl Fischer
  • WWQuintet / 22 Woodwind Quintets (Intermediate and Advanced) / Southern

Advanced Clarinet

  • 2 cl. / Duets in Method for Clarinet, Part 3 / Lazarus / Carl Fischer
  • 2 cl. / Virtuoso Duos in Complete Method for Clar., Part III / Langenus / Carl Fischer
  • 2 cl. / Duo No.2 in C Major / Crusell / Sikorski
  • 2 cl. / Five Duos (2 books) / Fritz Kroepsch / Belwin Mills
  • A & Bb cl. / Sonate for Two Clarinets / Francis Poulenc / Chester
  • 2 cl/pno / Concertpiece #1, Op. 113 / Felix Mendelssohn / International
  • 2 cl/pno / Concertpiece #2, Op. 114 / Felix Mendelssohn / International
  • 3 cl. / Five Pieces for Three Clarinets / Takacs / Universal /
  • 3 cl. / Trios, Op. 24, 53, and 59 / Kummer / Cundy-Bettoney
  • 3 cl. / Grand Trio for Clarinets / Bouffil / Billaudot
  • 3 cl. / Six Trios, Op. 7 and 8 / Bouffil / Billaudot
  • 4 cl. / Suite Italienne / Yvonne Desportes / Southern
  • 4 cl. / Normandie / Yvonne Desportes / Southern
  • 4 cl. / French Suite / Yvonne Desportes / Southern
  • 2 cl/bn / Divertimenti #1,2,3,4,5,6 / Mozart / Musica Rara/Breitkopf
  • ob/cl/bn / Cinq Pieces en Trio / Jacques Ibert
  • WWQuintet / Trois Pieces Breves / Jacques Ibert / Southern

Clarinet Choir

  • / Bear Dance / Bartok/Schmidt
  • / Menuetto and Rondo, Op. 71 / Beethoven/Schmidt
  • / Ballet from Petite Suite / Debussy/Howland
  • / Cortege from Petite Suite / Debussy/Howland
  • / En Bateau from Petite Suite / Debussy/Howland
  • / Minuet from Petite Suite / Debussy/Howland
  • / Introduction and Rondo / Jacob
  • / Chrysanthemum / Joplin/Schmidt
  • / Overture to the Marriage of Figaro / Mozart/Caillet
  • / Andante Cantabile / Tchaikovsky/Hovey

Sources for Clarinet Music

  • Eble Music / P. O. Box 2570, Iowa City, IA 52244-2570 / 319.338.0313
  • Luyben Music / 4318 Main Street, Kansas City, MO 64111-1897 / 816.753.7111
  • Woodwind Service, Inc. / P. O. Box 206, Medfield, MA 02052 / 800.527.6647

Oklahoma City area Clarinetist you should know

There are so many great things about the Oklahoma City professional clarinet scene. The Musicians who are leading the charge are listed below with a short Bio. We are going alphabetical here, and being a Zumwalt, I understand how unfair it is. I am sure that I have missed some and would love to include them, so if you, or someone you know, should be here please send me a bio and a photo and maybe a link or two so we can connect!  email: john@clarinetfingeringchart.com

Bradford Behn

Brad studied clarinet performance under the late Robert Marcellus at Northwestern University, receiving both his Bachelors and Masters degrees. He is currently the Principal Clarinet in the Oklahoma City Philharmonic. Previously he also was the Principal Clarinet in the Tulsa Symphony and Fort Collins Symphony

Brad has been the Oklahoma City University Assistant Professor of Clarinet,  and a Clarinet Instructor at the Tulsa Community College. He has traveled the world teaching the clarinet.  

Brad has had an obsession with mouthpiece acoustics for almost 30 years. He went from refurbishing to now producing mouthpieces (Behn Mouthpieces & EPIC CNC) for clarinetists of all skill levels.

Dawn Lindblade-Evens

Dr. Dawn Marie Lindblade-Evans, is an Associate Professor with the University of Central Oklahoma. She is also an instructor for Clarinet Pro Workshops. She has held positions at the Puerto Rico Conservatory of Music and Southeastern Louisiana University.

As a chamber musician, Dawn is a member with the Lupine Trio (Sallie Pollack, piano and Hong Zhu, violin), the Sugar Fish Reed Trio (Lori Wooden, bassoon and KaDee Bramlett, oboe), and the Otis Trio (Sallie Pollack, piano and Tess Remy-Schumacher, cello). She has toured China performing along with teaching classes in Beijing, Chengdu and Guangzhou. 

Dawn Lindblade Evens

Dr. Dawn Lindblade-Evans studied the Clarinet with distinguished musical masters Dr. Kimberly Cole-Luevano, Dr. James Gillespie, and Dr. Elsa Ludewig-Verdehr.

Dr. Lindblade-Evans is a Selmer Paris/Conn Selmer performing artist.

Brian Gorrell

Brian also serves as an Advisor for UCO’s Bachelor of Music in Jazz Performance, Master of Music in Jazz Studies, and teaches Applied Saxophone. He directs the “UCO Jazz Ensemble I” which has won many awards. Under Gorrell’s direction, UCO’s top jazz group was honored in Downbeat Magazine‘s  39th Annual Awards in 2016 for outstanding large ensemble performances, a repeat of their 35th Annual Student Music Awards in 2012 success. In March of 2018 “UCO Jazz Ensemble 1” tied for first place in the Monterey Next Generation Jazz Festival in the collegiate jazz ensemble division and in September 2018 was featured on the center stage of the Monterey Jazz Festival

Though Brian confessed to me that his clarinet skills are not where he would like them to be, Brian Gorell’s name is at the top of many admirers list. Proficient on both the keyboards and saxophones, Brian has produced and directed a bunch of albums with UCO’s Jazz Ensemble I:

Gorrell, a passionate music educator,  has lectured on saxophone and jazz pedagogy at the Regional North American Saxophone Alliance (NASA) Conferences and the Oklahoma Music Educators Conferences. He is also the Music Director for the Oklahoma City Jazz Orchestra. Professor Gorrell graduated from UCO with a degree in Music Education and at Oklahoma City University he earned a Master of Music in Saxophone Performance, studying with classical saxophonist Gail Hall.

Gorrell been aggressively creating new programs at the University of Central Oklahoma. These including  Oklahoma’s only Master of Music in Jazz Studies, a Minor in Jazz Studies and with majors in Performance and Music Production. He is the founder of the Oklahoma Youth Jazz Ensemble, offering advanced jazz education for Central Oklahoma’s  top high school students. Brian Gorrell has twice been awarded “Collegiate Jazz Educator of the Year” by the Oklahoma Jazz Educators Association

Tara Heitz

After attending the University of Central Oklahoma and receiving a Music Education degree,  in 2002, Tara began teaching in the Edmond Schools. In 2008, she was a finalist in the International Clarinet Association’s orchestral competition, and  in 2014 performed on the Distinguished Artist Series at Oklahoma City University. Tara also plays with the Norman Philharmonic and the Lyric Theater orchestra.

As a music instructor, Tara is an expert in woodwind instruction for beginners. Her teaching responsibilities range from marching bands to concert bands, even a master class at the University of Central Oklahoma for orchestral excerpts. 

Tara is a member of the International Clarinet Association, the American Federation of Musicians Local 375-703, and the Central Oklahoma Directors’ Association

DR. LISA KACHOUEE

Dr. Lisa Kachouee is a Clarinet Instructor at Oklahoma City University.  As an orchestral, chamber, and solo clarinetist, Lisa has performed in Carnegie Hall and over thirty secondary schools and universities across the United States and in Mexico and Europe. 

She received her degrees from George Mason University, the University of Arizona, and Florida State University. Her Instructors include Frank Kowalsky, Deborah Bish, Brian Jones, Jerry Kirkbride, and Michael Rusinek

Lisa Kachouee

She is a gifted performer and was selected to perform at the International Clarinet Association’s ClarinetFest 2017 in Orlando, Florida and at the ClarinetFest 2018 in Ostend, Belgium. Lisa has performed with the Fort Smith Symphony, Oklahoma City Philharmonic, Albany Symphony Orchestra, Sinfonia Gulf Coast, Tallahassee Symphony Orchestra, and the Taneycomo Festival Orchestra.

Dr. Lisa Kachouee hits the road on tour with Duo Rodinia, with composer and percussionist Jamie Wind Whitmarsh. Duo Rodinia just finished a recording project with PARMA Recordings and expect it will be released in 2021. 

As professional clarinetist and someone committed to education that goes beyond the classroom, Dr. Kachouee writes  articles for The Clarinet and has done in-depth research on the works and life of composer Daniel Nelson.

Vince Norman

When I ask around town about great jazz clarinetist, Vince is always on the list. He was exposed to music early in his life. He is the child of Ray Norman, a saxophonist, who played in big bands of the ‘40’s – the 50’s. His dad performed with Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys and with Charlie Barnett and Claude Thornhill. But for Vince, his first real introduction to the magic of Jazz was with his 8th grade band leader, Paul Brewer.

Vince Norman

At age 16, still in high school, Vince was offered his first real gig playing with the Rick Swyden Big Band. Though Del City, Oklahoma, was home, most of his career was in the Washington DC area as both as part of The U.S. Army Field Band and as a freelance musician. It was here that Vince performed as a saxophonist with “The Jazz Ambassadors” and also as a member of the arranging staff. Vince Norman has played in 49 states, missing only Alaska. Beyond his extensive U.S. touring, he has played concert tours all over the world (including: Canada, Europe, India, Japan, and Mexico). 

Vince has performed with such notables as Clark Terry, Arturo Sandoval, Phil Woods, Paquito de Rivera, Dave Samuels, Marvin Hamlisch, Butch Miles, Toots Thielmans, Jamey Aebersold, Marvin Stamm, Bill Watrous, Hal Linden, The Temptations, The Four Tops, and even Joan Rivers. Vince Norman has played at Carnegie Hall and performed with the Baltimore Symphony, National Symphony, and with the Cincinnati Pops. As a composer, he has written various pieces of orchestral pops for the Capitol Quartet, a saxophone quartet, which performs concerts with major symphonies around the world and pieces for jazz ensemble as well.

Vince is a standard in the Oklahoma City. You will see him playing everything from woodwinds to drums to keyboard, Saturday night at the bar and Sunday morning at the church. Vince has two CDs,  “Bright Future” and “Words Cannot Express,” on OA2 Records. He is the co-leader of the Vince Norman/Joe McCarthy Big Band. Vince also has written for, performed and recorded with the DC based Latin jazz group “Afro Bop Alliance.” Vince played with Dave Samuels’ Caribbean Jazz Project on the 9th Latin Grammy Award winning and 51st Grammy Award Nominated collaboration entitled “Afro Bop Alliance.”  Vince Norman is a Cannonball Musical Instruments endorsing artist.

Jennifer Rucker

Since the Oklahoma Community Orchestra began in 1982, Jenny has been the principal clarinetist. Jennifer earned her Bachelors and Masters of Music Education degrees at the University of Central Oklahoma.

Jenny is part of the Lyric Theatre Orchestra, the Edmond Chamber Orchestra, the Pollard Theatre Orchestra, Cimarron Wind Quintet, and the American Federation of Musicians. Currently she is an adjunct clarinet instructor with Oklahoma Christian University and The University of Central Oklahoma.

Jennifer Rucker

With her wide ranging skills on several instruments (saxophone, clarinet, and bass clarinet), Jenny  is frequently called on as a substitute with the Oklahoma City Philharmonic Orchestra. On top of all that, Jenny competed and was a semifinalist 4 times in the International Clarinet Association’s “Clarinetfest” Orchestral Excerpt Competitions. She won second place in 2007, Vancouver, B.C..