I am currently on a few weeks long trip in the north Eastern United States and Canada. Getting lessons, going to new clubs, seeing different bands and new experiences.
I’ve been looking through my youtube account and cleaned up a bit as well as started working on adding some new videos. I’ll be making a series of woodwind (especially sax) tutorials which will come up later. I have so far experimented with tecniques and ideas to make them and have a few recorder demos up so far. Have a look if you’re interested. These are mainly thought to be a compliment to my regular teaching, where the students can sit at home and watch my fingers if they need to.
It has been my dream for a long time to build a Rotator as Robby Kilgore calls it. You can see it in action in some videos below.
I first got to know about this through my friend Bernhard Wagner and he also just built it so I could fool around with it!
To tell you shortly what it is, it is a software that adds a second note to whatever I am playing on the EWI (or any other MIDI device) with set intervals. It also rotates through this settings so I will have different intervals every time I change or replay a note! As a horn player, I can’t tell you how exciting it is to create harmonies! (I even started playing accordion some years ago to get harmonies)
To read more see Robby Kilgores own website like: http://robbykilgore.com/?p=19
Here is Mike Brecker using the Rotator (for some reasons the video didn’t play on phones but on most computers)
Just starting to get on friendly terms with my EWI (it’s a 4000s for you gearheads) and I just wanted to share some of my thoughts on practicing this instrument.
When I got it I had too little time to really dig into it, but past weeks I’ve been having and taking the time needed to get into this. Partly because I’ve been traveling without any other horn, and partly because I’ve broken my wrist and it is way easier to play ewi than an 50s Buescher tenor with a broken wrist. But most of all, I’ve always loved synthesizers (my dad’s being a great keyboard and synth player and lover) and I found the right motivation and inspiration from instagram and his birthday coming up.
1. Setting up the EWI
Once you’ve got your instrument you’ll probably want to play around with it and get some feeling for the instrument, I’ve got stuck in this stage for almost a year but maybe you’re quicker?
After that you should download the Vyzex editor (if you’re on Mac) and make sure you’re instrument runs on the latest software update. Mine was a demo instrument before I got it and doing this resolved a bunch of malfunctioning. There is a manual and although it is boring and time consuming it is a very good idea going through ALL of it and make sure your fingering ect. is what you want it to be. As a sax player I chose sax fingerings, but oboe, flute, and others are available too! But I frequently go through the manual again to fine tune the instrument to work as good as possible for me.
This is probably the most important step!
2. Choosing a sound
Although the EWI has a lot of built in sounds, I found most of them dull and boring so I’m sticking to one of the presets for practicing with earphones but connect it to a desktop synth with lots of patches in it to get a fatter sound. I find that using both of the sounds together is the way to go for me. But as my dad remarked it is important to find your synth sound and when listening to great synth players like Zawinul, Zawinul or maybe Zawinul you realize that he has a very distinctive synth sound that he uses all the time. Although there is variations, it has the same expression from the musicians standpoint. So I spent some time finding a sound I am happy with.
Also, as a saxophone player that suddenly is using AMPS at gigs to be heard at all, it is wise to start practicing and rehearsing with amps and find out that there is a jungle of amps and sounds out there. It is a strange notion not necessarily having your sound close to you as with a saxophone. And don’t do the mistake of placing your amp at the floor and turn up the volume until you hear good enough. Angle the amp towards your ears or put it on a chair so that you get most of the sound. Or else you’re gonna start a volume war with your band mates.
You’ll hopefully see which one to go for in the picture below.
3. Practicing the ewi
It is basically just like practicing any instrument, and in particular the saxophone. I’ve been doing my regular scale exercises, my flute fingering exercises and mostly, playing slow transcriptions that I did in the past just to refresh my technique for the EWI. One of my favorites is the one below, I’ve been searching for the origin with no success, but I belive it beeing a flute exercise.
The hardest part have been the thumb, it is still hard, my broken wrist makes it harder to move my thumb, but as all EWI players know going between octaves can be a real hassle. But from Björn Arkö which is a big inspiration for EWI I learned that you should initiate the switch before it actually happens by starting to move the thumb, kind of like playing piano. This seems to work fine although there is still lots of work to do. As always when dealing with music, thankfully 😉
Feel free to ask anything or leave a comment if you feel like I can help with your EWI.
The Nuvo jSax:
While I was on vacation in Amsterdam a week ago I didn’t bring any kind of instrument but just some few hours after landing my urge to play got too big so I started walking around stores to find a saxophone. What I came up with eventually after asking for ”any saxophone” and ”the cheapest horn you’ve got” was the new Nuvo jSax!
And at first sight it is a pretty cool little horn! You can see right away that it has got the features of a saxophone, and anyone that is familiar with music will spot it as a saxophone. The fingerings is, for me anyways, pretty straight forward. BUT I have to say, I am a bit disappointed about them. I love that there is a G# key, but I would also like to play F# in a ”normal” way and Bb in a normal way. The F# I think could be fixed pretty easily with a rod or something similar pressing down two keys but leaving the hole open.
The horn sounds good! To be at around €100 it is incredible. You can hear that it is a saxophone, sounding like a soprano is has a pretty sweet sound.
Intonation is another matter, some of the notes are really unclear what notes they really are supposed to be, but then, it works like a soprano so the amount of adjusting with pressure or embouchure is not that big. But as a small kid or beginner, it might sound off.
I threw away the standard mouthpiece first thing and replaced it with my standard soprano mouthpiece Vandoren V16 with Vandoren ZZ reeds. My friend and colleague didn’t and had a hard time playing it, and came back complaining to me that it’s a hard instrument. I later tried that ”mouthpiece” and plastic reed that followed in the box but I would recommend anyone a real mouthpiece if even Yamaha 4c with a 1 1/5 Rico reed.
If you take it for what it is, a small cheap plastic saxophone with recorder fingerings and limited to 1 1/5 octaves and a stupid mouthpiece (but frankly all saxophones come with a stupid mouthpiece) it is a really cool little toy, or first saxophone for beginners, or for people like me that like most portable woodwind instruments.
Ett av mina favoritband de senare åren är Six Black Cordelias!
Nu ligger vi på p3’s osignade lista och då skall det RÖSTAS!
Hjälp oss så skulle jag bli jätteglad 🙂
One of my young students have a project called Music Power Maffia, which is young musicians playing and working for charity causes. I am very impressed with the way Wilhelm is running this and it is going to be exciting seeing the future of this project which I am somehow a part of.
Check it out here:
Merry Christmas from Me and Emil Ingmar!
Jag åker upp till Piteå denna vecka för att gå kurs i klassisk flöjt och klassisk saxofon på Piteå sommarakademi! Ska bli skitkul då det var länge sedan jag tog flöjtlektioner och jag nog har en och annan brist som kan behöva rättas till… Sist jag tog flöjtlektioner var 2008 i Prag, då gick jag för Petr Grau. Klassisk saxofonmusik har jag egentligen bara spelat en gång i livet, då var det Glazunovs saxofonkonsert på en provspelning.
Jag kommer också ta med mig lite flöjter, saxofoner, klarinetter samt munstycken, rör och ligaturer från Selma Music som finns för provning och försäljning under kursen. Bl.a Otto Link New York och Vintage munstycken, Jody Jazz, nya Vandoren REED CUT och V21 rör, Hemke, några vintage munstycken, fina Yanagizawa saxar och lite okändare märken samt massvis av roliga flöjter!
Hör av er till mig om ni vill testa eller köpa, ta en fika eller hänga! 0736372066
I had the luck of finally finding two of my dream horns! A Buescher True Tone 1929 barritone and a Buescher Aristocrat 50’ies alto saxophone! We’re gonna have some fun together. Just waiting to find a True Tone tenor now…
The first (of many?) workshop I did ever and the first that Uppsala Jazz Collective hosted was last Friday at Upplands Nation in Uppsala. It was a really great evening with a two hour workshop, hamburgers, a concert with JazzConfusion (a big hand to Daniel Angebrandt), and then a long fun jam session. Lots of great players and peoples around made for a great evening and atmosphere.
Thank you all!
Nu på fredag håller jag en Workshop i Jazz improvisation tillsammans med Uppsala Jazz Collective.
Läs mer och anmäl dej nedan!
”En workshop i jazzimprovisation med Oskar Forsberg och JazzConfusion för dig som vill inspireras, utvecklas och ha kul.”
”Uppsala Jazz Collective är en sammanslutning som är öppen för alla som älskar jazz. Vårt mål är att göra jazzen hipp igen genom att arrangera jazzklubbar, spelningar och andra events för att lyfta fram jazzmusiken.”
Going through songs and music for upcoming last minute gig this Friday, and finding again one real big favorite of mine. Queen Latifah doing an amazing version of Mercy, mercy, mercy. Check it out!
Now we got an awesome band together with Estonian bass player Mai Agan, pianist Jonatan Guzman, drummer Stefan Bergman, guitarist Anders Johansson, me and Anders Bengtsson!
Check it out! This friday at Pub Nitton in Uppsala!
Senaste veckan har jag varit på bröllopsgig med Marie LáLa i Dala Floda samt undervisat med Sigtuna Kulturskola på deras sommarkurs! Fantastiska elever och lärare, har varit väldigt kul och givande. Ca 120 personer allt som allt med både, blås stråk och piano.
Har gjort en hel del framträdanden på Gubbhyllan också, och hoppas på några fler innan hösten är här!
Funderar på att starta upp ett supersax gäng och vill börja spela loopsax igen!
The last weeks I’ve been out on the countryside playing flute and saxophone in the beautiful outdoor theatre Wira spelen south of Norrtälje. After that I went camping with first stop Copenhagen and the Jazz festival. Lots of great music like Martin, Medeski and Wood, ‘Weather Report Remixed’ and Czech sax player Lubos Soukop!
The Stockholm musik och sommarvecka is cancelled for my part. I’ve got an other summer camp teaching saxophone however.
On monday and tuesday I’ll play with wonderful Emil Skogh and Alexander Brott again at Gubbhyllan!
And there is some gigs with Marie Lala coming up!
Right now we’re in Skåne, at a camp close to Hässleholm. What a place!
Last two weeks I’ve been busy with my official graduation from ‘Kungl. Musikhögskolan’ (Royal College of Music in Stockholm). It was a nice and kind of touching day where I met so many of those I started with four years ago. I also got a nice golden suit broch to wear on official occasions.
I also had end day at ‘Kommunala Musikskolan’ in Uppsala, where I’ve been teaching saxophone this semester. That was touching. My students have been so great and inspiring and I wish them all the best, next semester my substitution for this teacher is over and I’m gonna meet some new students.
My friend and colleague Pedro Martinez Maester have started working on a Swiz tour for november, I’m really excited about that! I hope I get the chance to visit my friend Bernhard as well, that would be sweet!
Tomorrow I’ve got the earliest gig in my life. Gig time, 08:00.