Robby Kilgore ‘Rotator’

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)

EWI Crash Course

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.

 

Nuvo jSax

The Nuvo jSax:

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!

img_4366And 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.

Conclusion:

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.

Music Power Maffia

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:

http://www.musicpowermafia.com/

The music syndicate MPM was founded in 2014 by the Swedish saxophonist Wilhelm Fredlund, on his 13th birthday. All young artists in the project work individually or in groups to bring joy and support with the power of music to young and old who live an exposed life in the borderland.
MPM provides help organizations with contributions collected through the artists gigs, concerts and similar events. We cooperate among others with Barncancerfonden who fight childhood cancer and ensures that affected children, youths and their families get the care and support they need. The vision is to exterminate childhood cancer. Learn more about the Swedish Childhood Cancer Foundation through the link below.
http://www.barncancerfonden.se/In-english/About-us…

MPM works from basic values to provide entertainment, beneficence, equality and gender equality. For us it means that we oppose any form of racism, sexism, homophobia and bullying. Our mission is to achieve a powerful musical imprint in the name of solidarity.All participating artists are contributing with valuable efforts to comply with the MPM’s mission and vision.

Piteå sommarakademi

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

 

Workshop with Uppsala Jazz Collective

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!

Photos from http://galleri.2or4.se/Musik/2014/uppsala-jazz-collective-pa-upplands-nation

 

Workshop med Oskar Forsberg och Uppsala Jazz Collective

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.”

http://uppsalajazz.getconfetti.com/

”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.”

 

 

Anders Bengtsson Funk Surprise/Funk Overlord ”The FUNKOTECS”

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!

UPDATE:

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!

https://www.facebook.com/events/230596533808504/

 

Sigtuna sommarkurs!

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!

Allt gott,

Oskar

Wira Spelen

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!

Official graduation and ending day for teaching

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.

We’ve been playing with Marie Lala on a Moxie party, and I’ve been meeting with ‘Tonight it’s at your place’ for  planning the autumn. I feel it’s gonna be a great one.

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.

See ya!

Stockholms Musik & Sommarvecka 5-9 aug 2013

Jag kommer undervisa i Saxofon på Stockholms Musik och Sommarvecka, läs mer nedan och på karismaagency.se

Älskar du musik? Gillar du att dansa? Är du nyfiken på teater? Då är Stockholms Musik & Sommarvecka ett bra val för dig under sommarlovet. För dig mellan 5-13 år presenterar Karisma Agency en helvecka fylld med musikundervisning och musikaktiviteter. Vi introducerar även dans och teater på schemat.

Du får chansen att ta privatlektioner i det instrument du valt inför veckan, spela i ensemble, sjunga i kör, dansa, spela teater och ta del av spännande workshops, besök och mycket mer!

Tillsammans med en kompetent personal och styrka vill vi kunna ge dig en spännande och lärorik musikvecka där du får möjligheten att träffa kompisar i samma ålder med samma intressen.

Oavsett om du är nybörjare eller erfaren musiker är du välkommen! All musikundervisning utformas på ett sätt som passar både nybörjare och de mer erfarna musikanterna.

Eget instrument krävs för instrumentundervisningen. (Gäller ej piano, sång samt slagverk). Har man inget eget instrument, maila till:info@karismaagency.se och tala om det i samband med anmälan. Möjlighet finns att vi hjälper till med hyra av instrument.

Obs! Anmälan senast 14/6!

Vi ses i sommar!

Veckans innehåll

  • Instrumentundervisning
  • Dans
  • Körsång
  • Ensemblespel
  • Teater
  • Utflykter
  • Workshops
  • Spännande besök
  • Gästartister

 

Veckans utformning

  • Datum: 5-9 aug 2013
  • Tid: 08.30-16.00 (Barnen kan lämnas från kl 07.00 och hämtas senast 18.00)
  • Plats: Musikskolan Lilla Akademien, Norrtullsgatan 14, Stockholm
  • Frukost, lunch och mellanmål ingår
  • Pris: 3680 kr *

 

* Priset kan komma att sänkas då vi sökt bidrag för Stockholms Musik & Sommarvecka. Vid beviljat stöd återbetalas mellanskillnaden.