Back at last

I’m back after the great platelet escape of 2017, which is too boring to blog about, apart from the steroid-induced psychosis, which I’m still getting my head around. More importantly, I’m playing sax again after a gap of 5 months, which reminds me of a Bill Crow jazz anecdote:

Trumpeter Burt Collins [worked with Dizzy Gillespie, Neal Hefti et al] met trombonist Merv Gold in the street one day, and asked Merv, “How can I lose 35 years’ worth of chops in two days off?”
Merv answered, “I lose my chops during an 8-bar rest.”
Having spent some time reading John Harle’s brilliant if sometimes bewildering book, I’m adopting a more relaxed embouchure, correcting tongue position, playing quieter and enjoying the freedom of expression and better intonation that this technique allows. Also getting my lip back in faster than expected, as a consequence. This will be a significant factor if illness interrupts play again.
One of my current projects is working with jazz guitarist Dave Thomas, tuning and warming up with this exercise:
Tuning Alto Sax to Guitar




In C

The melodic scale of Terry Riley’s classic minimalist work In C (1964) is intriguing, especially if we assume that equal temperament isn’t a given. I’ve recorded a version of the piece adapted to the ‘acoustic scale’ tuned according to a more just intonation than equal temperament; plus some additional liberties taken with the original score. It can be downloaded HERE (32MB)