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  • Musicologist Dr Alicia Doyle | Teen Jazz Influence Interview

    HI EVERYONE, THANK YOU FOR TUNING IN TO TEEN JAZZ RADIO. WITH ME TODAY I HAVE DR. ALICIA DOYLE, A MUSICOLOGIST, FRENCH HORN PLAYER AND PROFESSOR AT CAL STATE LONG BEACH AND TODAY WE’RE GOING TO TALK ABOUT THE FIELD OF MUSICOLOGY. HI DR. DOYLE.

    Hi Shannon.

    THANK YOU FOR BEING WITH US TODAY.

    I’m delighted to be here.

    AND HOW ARE YOU?

    I’m great thank you, and you?

    I GOOD, THANK YOU! SO WHY DON’T YOU TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOURSELF?

    So, I am a musicologist. I am a music history professor and I teach at the university at the Bob Cole Conservatory of Music at CSU Long Beach.

    AND WHERE DID YOU GO TO SCHOOL?

    For my undergraduate education I went to the University of Southern California and I studied French Horn Performance. And for my graduate degrees I went to UC Santa Barbara in Musicology and French Horn Performance Studies as well.

    AND WHAT MADE YOU DECIDE TO MORE SERIOUSLY PURSUE MUSICOLOGY AS OPPOSED TO FRENCH HORN PERFORMANCE SINCE YOUR DEGREES ARE REALLY IN BOTH?

    That’s a good question. So as a young person I decided I wanted to be a musician and of course, to me that meant to be a performer and my instrument was French Horn so I thought, well, I’ll be a French Horn player. And in college I went to a concert and I accidentally arrived early and much to my surprise there was someone at the concert hall talking about music before the concert started and I had never seen anything like that. It was magical to me. And so I went back to my school and I spoke to a professor who happened to be a musicologist who’s class I had been enrolled in all semester. And I said to her, “I think I want to do that! I want to be the person who talks about music before the concert.” And I said, “who is that? What kind of person does that?” And she said, “that’s a musicologist, what we’ve been doing all semester!” But I woke up and she was very inspirational and she told me certain strategies for becoming a musicologist, and the rest is history and I didn’t stop.

    SO WHAT WERE THOSE CERTAIN STRATEGIES SHE TOLD YOU ABOUT?

    She was encouraging initially because I was already well-read. I had been a reader since I was a young person. I had a large literary background in poetry, art history, architecture, so I understood already the cultural context of music. But I don’t think that would stop anybody if you didn’t have that. I already did have that… She said from there that I should start writing more and to learn how to properly research music and how to write about music in an academic way.

    AND HOW WOULD THAT BE DIFFERENT THAN WRITING ABOUT A DIFFERENT SUBJECT LIKE HISTORY IN GENERAL?

    Well, when you’re talking about music as opposed to just history, you really do need to look at the music first and begin with the actual piece of music. And then figure out how the composers context affected that piece of music. So putting music in the center and not putting history in the center of your discussion.

    AS PART OF MUSICOLOGY YOU DON’T JUST STUDY MUSIC HISTORY IN GENERAL, YOU HAVE SPECIFIC FIELDS OR TOPICS THAT YOU STUDY AND YOURS ARE ACTUALLY REALLY DIVERSE, SO HOW DID YOU CHOOSE THOSE TOPICS?

    It was, again, a kind of accident. When I started musicology I thought I would do Mahler, I’m a horn player, of course I’m going to study Mahler forever. And then when I went to graduate school we were made to take classes in other musics – musics I had never heard of. For example my first semester in graduate school I took a class on the music that preceded the Italian madrigal in Italy and I had never heard of any of these things. It was fascinating to me and lovely and there were no French Horns and I still liked it. So then from there I became enamored with Renaissance music and the actual physical artifacts, the manuscripts they were copied into back in the 15th century. And I just kept going backwards and more and more backwards until I ended up into the 10th century and that’s where I remain as a Medieval specialist.

    However, to make me more fun at parties… When I walk into the room and people say “hey what do you do?” and I say “I’m a medievalist,” they get a little standoffish. I have a second field and that second field is that I study Latin American popular music.

    SO CAN YOU TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT LATIN AMERICAN POPULAR MUSIC?

    Um, sure. So Latin American popular music is a post-colonial symptom of our hemisphere. So when the colonists came, of course, they brought there music and then there was the music of the indigenous peoples and then the music of the African peoples that arrived also… So, the resulting blending of cultures makes our music very special and very unique. I chose to study the music of Mexico in particular because I grew up in California, I’m familiar with mariachi, I’m a huge fan of mariachi and then I also spent five years at the University of Texas on the border of Chihuahua in Mexico. And again, I have the utmost respect for that music.

    SO STUDYING LATIN AMERICAN MUSIC, THAT COULD BE CONSIDERED ETHNOMUSICOLOGY, COULDN’T IT?

    Yes, my personal philosophy is that it’s all music and I don’t really believe that we need to have different compartments within music studies, academic music studies. I think musicology can be all-encompassing. I know in the past it hasn’t been and that’s to the fault of those in the past. But I don’t believe that ethnomusicology and musicology need to remain separate from each other. I think that it’s all the study of music. So, the same way that I would look at a medieval manuscript and figure out how it fit into culture, I would look at mariachi music and figure out how it fit into culture.

    SO WHAT ARE SOME OF THE THINGS YOU DO AS A MUSICOLOGIST?

    I suppose that the number one thing that I do is that I teach music history to future performers, future educators, future music critics, future who-knows-what my students will do. But I help them have a very strong understanding of music in context and their role in the lineage of music. That’s most of my time. I also write article on topics that I’m a specialist in – I write on medieval topics and I write on Latin American topics. One of my favorite activities is pre-concert talks which is what got me in this mess to begin with. And I love talking to general audiences about music and helping them build a road map for listening so that when they go into the concert they can have a greater enjoyment of the concert. The last thing I do is I teach a class in music appreciation at the university.

    WOULD YOU SAY THAT HAVING, YOU KNOW, SOME SORT OF MUSICAL BACKGROUND, WHETHER IT’S PLAYING AN INSTRUMENT OR SINGING, DO YOU THINK THAT THAT’S NECESSARY TO GO ON TO BECOME A MUSICOLOGIST?

    Yes, I do. I think one of the things that I believe makes me a more successful musicologist is that my own personal experience with music-making and the repertory that I’ve played… I’ve played, you know o f course, anything that has a French Horn in it, I’ve probably at this point have played through it and that gives you a real insider’s sense of what music is.

    OTHER THAN SOME OF THE THINGS THAT YOU’VE HAD PERSONAL EXPERIENCE WITH AS FAR AS WRITING, WHICH IS BOTH BOOKS AND MAGAZINES, AND TEACHING, ARE THERE OTHER THINGS A MUSICOLOGIST CAN DO?

    I believe, I’m thinking of the more splashier musicologists that I have know and who have worked with maybe organizations like the Lincoln Center or advocacy for music because musicologists are so well-spoken, they are good advocates in public for music.

    YOU COULD BE A HISTORIAN AT A MUSEUM, COLLECTING MUSIC AND THINGS.

    That’s true, or you can be an archivist, you could be a librarian. I actually thank you for nudging me, I have several students who have gone on to be music librarians.

    SO OTHER THAN WRITING AND RESEARCH, WHAT ARE SOME OTHER SKILLS THAT YOU THINK YOU NEED TO HAVE AS A MUSICOLOGIST?

    I think to be a top musicologist you need to have a good understanding of the language of the music, of the culture in which the music was created. So, for example, in my case, I really need to know Latin. I do liturgical music, I sure better know Latin in order to understand what’s being sung. Most literature in musicology was initially written in French or German, so the early scholarship was in those two languages and that’s critical for musicologists a minimum a reading understanding of German and French in addition to the language of whatever music they’re going to study. As a medievalist, I think it’s important to look at primary sources, so I do believe you actually need to see the thing that you’re talking about and not just rely on hear-say. So to actually look at the manuscripts, not just read someone’s description of the manuscript. You go to the archive to turn the pages yourself. Today it’s easier because a lot of these manuscripts have been digitized. In the past, it wasn’t the case. You either had to go to the library and look at them or get a microfilm of them which were often horrific. But that’s what we had and that’s better than just relying on somebody else’s observations.

    WELL, WHEN YOU LOOK AT THE ORIGINAL SOURCE, THERE’S A LOT OF RULES AND THINGS FOR HOW YOU CAN TOUCH THEM, THE WAY TO TURN THE PAGES AND ACTUALLY HANDLING THEM, SO THAT’S A WHOLE DIFFERENT THING IN AND OF ITSELF THAT YOU HAVE WORRY ABOUT. SO IT IS REALLY GREAT THAT A LOT OF THE STUFF HAS BEEN DIGITIZED.

    Right, because for example with the thing that I studied, there’s really only 8 resources that are, that have survived the ages. One of my favorite stories is when I was doing my dissertation I spent three months in Paris at the Bibliotheque Nationale and I was there everyday working from a microfilm. They wouldn’t allow me to see the actual book except for one day. So for three months I went in and did microfilm, for one day for three hours they allowed me to actually see the book. But it’s from the year 986, if they let anybody in at anytime to see it, it could be destroyed very easily. And they hovered over my shoulder and watched me. I was not allowed to do any marks, no pens, no pencils. Just white gloves and my eyes to observe this manuscript.

    BEING IN PARIS, ONE OF THE BENEFITS, YOU WOULD SAY, OF DOING MUSICOLOGY IS THE FIELDWORK?

    I love fieldwork, especially since medievalism is to libraries, which for me is fabulous. But with the Mexican music it’s to club and to restaurants and to quinceneras and wedding ceremonies and outdoor festivals, and you name it – and capturing mariachi in context has been fabulous. I’ve gone to racetracks to witness mariachi. I’ve gone to Disneyland to witness mariachi in context. One of the fabulous things about studying an active, living culture is that you get to observe the audience reaction whereas in medieval music it’s impossible. But in my mariachi work I can actually observe how different audiences react to mariachi and whether it’s at a staged performance or impromptu performance, if it’s at a casual event, a larger event.

    THAT IS REALLY, IT’S COMPLETELY DIFFERENT TO BE ABLE TO SEE IT IN LIVE PERFORMANCE BECAUSE WITH LIKE MEDIEVAL MUSIC, YOU ONLY HAVE WRITTEN ACCOUNTS OF AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION AND IN SOME CASES SOURCES CAN BE REALLY LIMITED AND REALLY HARD TO FIND. SO ACTUALLY BEING ABLE TO STUDY A MUSIC THAT IS STILL ACTIVE, THAT GIVES YOU A LOT MORE TO WORK WITH AND YOU CAN ACTUALLY SEE IT AND THAT’S SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT THAN WATCHING SOMETHING BE RE-CREATED, LIKE AS FAR AS PERFORMANCES. THERE’S THAT WHOLE ISSUE OF AUTHENTICITY AND THINGS LIKE THAT. SO, MAYBE YOU WANT TO TALK A LITTLE BIT ABOUT THAT?

    Right. Authenticity is problematic because when I look at a medieval manuscript, I’m guessing at how it was… Well, I’m not guessing, I’m carefully researching how this was probably performed. But with more contemporary music, or active, living, dynamic music, like the mariachi, I actually spend a lot more time observing the audience. Because the music, I know the tunes, and the music mutates somewhat, but it’s the audience that causes that mutation, so I have a lot of video footage of audiences because I’m fascinated with the way they will react to the same piece in different situations. Take any piece of mariachi performed in El Paso versus San Diego versus Montana – how does the audience react to that same piece of music?

    BASED ON TALKING TO YOU ABOUT THIS AND BASED ON THE WAY YOU TALK ABOUT SEEING MARIACHI MUSIC PERFORMED AND THE AUDIENCE INTERACTION AND THE EXCITEMENT AND EVERYTHING THAT GOES ALONG WITH THAT, HOW DO YOU CREATE THAT, YOU KNOW, THAT SAME PASSION, THAT SAME INTEREST FOR A MUSIC THAT YOU CAN’T REALLY HEAR BE PERFORMED IN THE WAY THAT IT WAS MAYBE ORIGINALLY INTENDED?

    Well, taking a moment, and my medieval studies is probably the thorniest music to get an audience engaged in because it was never meant for entertainment. It was meant for prayer, it’s a spiritual music. It was not meant for dancing. So having a concert of medieval chant is not… advisable. It’s not, that’s not what it was ever meant to be at any time because it’s a spiritual act. So taking a quick moment to explain to the listener, actually to explain to the performer too, what the origins of this music, the function of this music originally, will help everybody involved to have a deeper understanding of it in the performance.

    SO THAT’S WHERE SPEAKING BEFORE CONCERTS COMES IN.

    Really, I think the pre-concert lectures are fabulous. They should be kept light and direct and help, like I said, give the listener a roadmap for things to hang their head on during the concert. Because if it’s new music and people are faced with new music that they have no context to understand, they’re not likely to enjoy it as much as they would if they had some sort of hint.

    RIGHT, WELL, ON A REALLY BASIC LEVEL THAT COULD BE PEOPLE WHO AREN’T REALLY FAMILIAR WITH CLASSICAL MUSIC AND THEY GO TO A CONCERT AND THERE’S A MULTI-MOVEMENT PIECE. IF SOMEONE DOESN’T WARN THEM BEFOREHAND EITHER IN THE PROGRAM OR AT THE BEGINNING IN SOME SORT OF PRESENTATION, THEY MIGHT CLAP BETWEEN MOVEMENTS AND WITH AUDIENCE EXPERIENCE, IF THEY’RE THE ONLY ONES IN THE AUDITORIUM CLAPPING, THEY’RE GOING TO FEEL UNCOMFORTABLE AND THAT’S GOING TO BE A NEGATIVE EXPERIENCE FOR THEM. AND YOU DON’T WANT THEM TO HAVE THAT. SO ACTUALLY DOING SOMETHING TO PREPARE THE AUDIENCE FOR WHAT THEY’RE GOING TO LISTEN TO AND WHAT THEY’RE GOING TO EXPERIENCE, THAT’S A REALLY GOOD THING. SO I AGREE THAT CONCERT TALKS NEED TO BE A MORE REGULAR PART OF MUSIC PROGRAMMING.

    WE’VE BEEN TALKING A LOT ABOUT MUSICOLOGY, BUT YOU STILL PLAY FRENCH HORN. YOU DIDN’T CHOOSE ONE OR THE OTHER – PERFORMANCE OR MUSICOLOGY – YOU STILL DO BOTH.

    I do.

    SO HOW DO YOU BALANCE DOING BOTH – FINDING THE TIME TO RESEARCH AND STUDY AND TEACH AND FINDING TIME TO PRACTICE AND PERFORM?

    It’s tricky. It is tricky… As time goes on I find I have to make a concerted effort to schedule time in for practicing and for performing as much as possible. Over the years, you know, sometimes there’s more performance and less musicology and sometimes there’s more musicology, less performance… It’s never been equal. And I have chosen to be a musicologist so I understood that was an outcome. But I think that keeping performing – continuing to perform – helps me keep it real. I can put my money where my mouth is. I actually have played this music. I do play this music. I am playing this music… tonight… And having people see that not only do I speak about music but that I’m actually participating in the music making, is huge. It gives me a lot more validity.

    MORE AUTHORITY.

    More authority… As a performer and as a musicologist. So I know about the music so I am a better player and I play the music so I’m a better musicologist.

    YOU TALKED ABOUT GOING TO PARIS AND STUDYING IN PARIS, WHAT ARE SOME OF THE OTHER INTERESTING THINGS YOU’VE HAD THE OPPORTUNITY TO DO AS A MUSICOLOGIST?

    More recently I have decided to look at objects of liturgical interest, of sacred music in California. And one of the most interesting things that I have found were some lampshades at Hearst Castle in California. And William Randolph Hearst was an enormously prolific collector and he bought some older music manuscripts and had the pages turned into lampshades. Yeah, so if you take a tour, Tour 1, 2 or 3 at Hearst Castle today you will see that in his own personal collection he has lampshades that are made out of the pages of chant manuscripts.

    SO YOU STUDY THE LAMPSHADES?

    I study lampshades! Lampshades with or without the party are fun.

    SO WHAT ARE SOME OF THE THINGS YOU HOPE TO DO IN THE FUTURE AS A MUSICOLOGIST?

    In the future, one of my little pet projects is something I’ve come to fall very much in love with which combines both medieval studies and mariachi is the colonial music in California. So the music of the missions. And that’s an ancient liturgical tradition that goes back to medieval times but it also has this Mexican flavor to it, so this is something that I look forward to doing in the future. And it’s right here at home and it’s understudied. It’s not unstudied but it’s understudied and it’s exciting and real and it’s part of my personal Californian history.

    YOU’VE TALKED ABOUT WHAT YOU STUDY AS A MUSICOLOGIST, BUT MORE IN GENERAL, WHAT ARE SOME OF THE DIFFERENT THINGS THAT YOU CAN STUDY?

    You can study any aspect of music and culture. Any aspect. So, it could be compositional techniques, you could study melody or harmony. You can study gender in music. You can study the instrumentation. Really, anything goes. Patronage – who paid for the music. There’s not limits to what you might study as a musicologist.

    WHERE CAN PEOPLE GO TO FIND MORE INFORMATION ABOUT YOU?

    About me? The quick and dirty way is to go to the Bob Cole Conservatory of Music website and my name is there. I am the Associate Chair of the conservatory and I’m also in the musicology program. And I also have my own writing website where I can be found at allmusicreview.com.

    AND WHAT ARE SOME OF THINGS YOU DO AS PART OF ALLMUSICREVIEW.COM?

    You name it, I’ll do it. I can do an artist bio, I can do a CD review, a scholarly treatment of some subject of your choosing, all music.

    ALL GENRES?

    All genres. Omnivore (points to self).

    WELL THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR DOING THE INTERVIEW WITH US.

    Thank you for having me.

     

    April 4, 2013 • Interviews • Views: 1014

  • Interview with a Commercial Music and Film Composer

    Hey everyone Shannon Kennedy here and with me today I have composer Andrew Balogh and he’s going to talk to us about what he does and composition and a lot of fun stuff like that. And he’s also a saxophone player and we actually went to Cal State Long Beach together so I’ve known him for a few years. Hi Andrew.

    THE INTERVIEW

    Hi Shannon, how are you?

    I’M GOOD THANKS AND HOW ARE YOU? THANK YOU FOR BEING ON THE SHOW WITH US.

    My pleasure. Thanks for excusing the awesome v-neck that I’m wearing. And the crazy hairdo.

    SO WHY DON’T YOU TALK A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOURSELF AND WHAT YOU DO.

    Okay, well I started with the saxophone and the piano when I was seven and was actively passionate about jazz and classical music. I began to write and compose kind of my own tunes in high school and also dabbled a little bit in music production. And I was a jazz studies major in school and went on to study composition. Now I spend most of my time composing for movie trailers, orchestrating for films… I recently did two big band arrangements for Michael Bublé. I’m going to be composing for a reality television show which I’m pretty excited about. So that’s pretty much what I’m doing now.

    WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO REALLY GET INTO COMPOSITION, TO REALLY FOCUS AS OPPOSED TO PERFORMANCE BECAUSE YOU WERE A JAZZ STUDIES MAJOR SO YOU MADE A SWITCH SOMEWHERE. WHAT INSPIRED THAT?

    I mean, I still love to play. I think a lot of things inspired composition. I’ve never only had the mentality that “I only love jazz music and I only love classical and that’s it.” I grew up with my parents listening to the Beach Boys, Led Zeppelin, Rolling Stones and even, you know, hip hop like Dr. Dre, and guys like that. And I just always had this love for pretty much every genre of music. I think there’s, you know, beauty that can be found in someone’s lyrics and there’s beauty that can be found in a Bach fugue or Beethoven’s compositions or even in some of Stravinsky’s stuff. And the same, you know, amazement I think can be found listening to Duke Ellington and Charlie Parker and people like that. So I’ve always just kind of like loved different genres of music and depending on what kind of mood I’m in I guess determines what I’ll listen to. So I think my, to sum it up, I think I decided to go into composition because I just wanted to be able to express myself however I was feeling at any given moment and maybe that might be in regards to producing a pop song or doing an arrangement of a jazz standard or whatever I’m feeling at the moment.

    WITH SO MANY DIVERSE INFLUENCES HOW DO YOU CONCENTRATE ON ONE PARTICULAR STYLE WHEN YOU’RE WRITING OR WHEN YOU’RE PERFORMING?

    I think that what I like to try to do in my head and in my own mindset is to try to think of it as just music. And you know this because you’ve studied composition and you’ve played. You know, anyone who’s learned jazz tunes and knows ii-V-I chord progressions, you know, could easily transcend or switch over to writing a pop song. Because a lot of the chord progressions that you hear in pop music or rock, or even hip hop are derived from the roots of jazz music. Classical obviously came first and then jazz was derived from classical music and now from jazz you have like rock songs that were influenced by, you know, like if you listen to someone like Jimi Hendrix, he was influenced by a lot of blues. I-IV-II, the common blues chord progressions, so I think when I write, I try to just remind myself that it’s all music and it all came from the same place. So maybe the chords are slightly different like, in pop or rock songs you don’t have as many chords happening as in jazz music where you have two different chords happening per measure and it’s changing a lot more. Whereas maybe in pop music you have like a Rihanna song – you might have the same chord for two measures and you might only have four chords in the whole song. But if you listen deeply enough, you could hear that that music came from somewhere else.

    So I try to think of everything as like, this big pot full of different types of music but they’re all in the same pot so they’re not “oh jazz is way over here and pop and hip hop are way over here or classical is way over here.” They’re all somehow similar and it’s, by making small adjustments, like maybe leaving out certain chords, and changing the instrumentation, it’s not that much different.

    OKAY, SO YOU TALKED A LITTLE BIT ABOUT WRITING AND THE MUSIC SIDE OF IT, BUT WHAT ABOUT LYRIC WRITING? BECAUSE YOU WRITE LYRICS AS WELL, TOO, RIGHT?

    Yeah, yeah. I think, you know, lyrics I think those are kind of more similar to maybe writing poetry. I think, you know, maybe you’re in a… I keep a notepad with me and I just kind of, if I think of something catchy, I’ll write it down in my notepad. Just as if you’re a saxophonist and you’re maybe driving in your car and you think of a cool lick or a cool pattern, you might quickly write that down and expand upon it and maybe you realize “oh that’s kind of a cool pentatonic lick or a cool in the circle of fourths or whatever.” So I think lyric writing, you’re thinking about maybe just kind of word flow and human emotion but you’re expressing it through words. And I think when you’re writing lyrics for a song that’s when the actual music, music part comes in because you need to make sure that your phrases are lining up. So,

    Broken hearts never seem to want to stop their bleeding
    So in the end, I guess the only choice you had was leaving

    I just kind of made that up, but the point is, that can be a singer-songwriter song or whatever, but the point is that you want your phrases to align themselves just like in jazz music if you have a thirty-four measure, thirty-two measure, sixteen measure head, the solo form is going to be sixteen measures. So lyric writing, there’s also structure. You could think of four phrases, four phrases, four phrases. You don’t want to, I guess what’s happening in the music you’re writing if you’re writing for a singer-songwriter or if you’re writing for a pop artist or an rnb artist, they want everything to be symmetrical. And they also want it to rhyme too because for radio play that’s important. So, I don’t know if that made sense. But I think that, just getting the emotions on paper, thinking of sentences or phrases that sound catchy or “I like the way these words fit together” just like “I like the ways these notes fit together” on the page. Writing them down and starting with that and then taking that and assigning the melody to that sentence. So, sentence first, melody second. Or melody first, and then words to the melody.

    DO YOU HAVE A PARTICULAR WAY THAT YOU USUALLY DO IT? DO YOU USUALLY WRITE THEM TOGETHER OR THE MELODY AND THEN THE LYRICS OR DOES IT KIND OF CHANGE?

    I think for me the melody usually kind of comes first. And I think, probably just because of the playing an instrument. You know, I was never a singer. I was always an instrumentalist and I think you know, obviously when you have a saxophone in your mouth you’re not singing and you’re not speaking lyrics. You’re playing which is a melody and I think for me, I always like to think of a melody and I let the melody kind of dictate what words I want to kind of insert to match the pitches. But you know, other people do it the other way around. I don’t think there’s any right or wrong way to do it, but for me, I always think of melody first.

    I think as a musician, for young people watching this, just be ready to jump on anything that comes your way. If you’re a total jazz guy, and that’s always how I was, I mean I love jazz and I still love to practice and play out when I can. But I think as a musician now, if you want to stay busy and you want to be able to make a living, be as diverse as you can and you know, don’t ever say no. If an opportunity comes your way, and it’s in a different genre, you never know what’s going to happen. I never thought any of this would happen. And, you know, that song went on to do something great and I’ve done tracks for other hip hop artists. And the exposure’s been great. I think it’s all beneficial. So that’s how the Grammy happened.

    The movie thing happened, I did a couple independent films for some friends that were going to USC and one of them had gone on to Sundance and did really well. A director saw it and had asked me to work on some stuff with him. And I ended up collaborating with a composer called James Newton Howard. He’s done a handful of films. It’s literally just about building yourself like a business. Starting low and doing good work, and then meeting this person and doing good work and being reliable and working hard and staying busy. I think that’s kind of the summary of a long story.

    WHAT ARE SOME OF THE THINGS THAT YOU FEEL THAT YOU DID AS PART OF SCHOOL OR INDEPENDENTLY THAT HAVE HELPED PREPARE YOU THE MOST FOR WHAT YOU’RE DOING NOW?

    That’s a good question. I think, well, first of all I think that school is really beneficial. And I definitely, you know, I think that when I was in high school, and a lot of my friends, we all kind of had the mentality of “why not just stay at home and practice for eight hours a day and transcribe solos and everything.” And that is definitely really beneficial but things that I learned in my first two semesters at Long Beach and ended up benefitting me five, six, seven, eight, ten years down the road and those are actually my theory classes and my ear training classes. Just being able to understand how chords work and move. How they function… High school kids hate it but practice your scales. I think music is, every song or composition or every tune starts in a key. And usually, you know, that song is centered around a scale. If it’s in the key of A, usually the melody is structured through the notes in the A major scale. If I could preach for a moment, I would say that learning all your major, minor scales, understanding chord progressions and stuff, I think for me personally was a good tool to have. Just because there’s chords in every genre of music. You hear chords in hip hop, you hear chords in pop, you see chords in classical, and sometimes you see similarities. I think that understanding that is no different than learning the alphabet and understanding grammar, spelling and stuff. If you have a good knowledge of that, you can sit down and you can write an essay which is what everyone does – middle school, high school, college students. I think music is the same thing. Knowing your scales, developing your ear so that you can hear what’s happening in songs and stuff like that. I think is probably one of the best things I’ll learn and also playing in groups. I think being in a situation where you’re thinking about balance and tuning and articulations I think is really beneficial too.

    WHAT OTHER SKILLS OTHER THAN MUSICAL SKILLS DO YOU THINK ARE IMPORTANT FOR SOMEONE DOING WHAT YOU DO TO HAVE?

    Non-musical skills, I definitely think that the most important thing you can do is be reliable and I think in that, I have my iPhone with me all the time. First thing when I wake up, I check my emails. I check my texts, I check my call log and I always want to get back to people. And before I go to bed, I go through my texts and make sure I haven’t missed anyone. I think there’s kind of a stereotype amongst some musicians that musicians are kind of flaky and unreliable. And I think that stereotype is sort of true. If it wasn’t true, I don’t think that stereotype would exist. I think if you’re really talented, that’s obviously a plus, but I have seen cases where there are people that have maybe aren’t quite as talented as someone else but they get a gig or they get hired to maybe do a couple cues on a film because the director or the title composer of the film knows that they’re going to do a good job, they’re reliable. You know, they’re not going to miss a session, they’re not going to ask for a deadline extension. They’re someone you can count on and even for you when you’re performing for your group, you want to know that your drummers going to show up on time and you want to know that your bass player is going to be able to play the tunes. And that has really nothing to do with music. That just has to do with being a responsible human being. You turn on your blinker when you change lanes because it’s courteous. You call people back on the phone because it’s the right thing to do. So I think that would be my non-musical advice.

    WHAT ARE SOME OF THE THINGS THAT YOU DID BEFORE YOU STARTED GETTING INTO COMPOSITION AND PERFORMANCE?

    Outside of music?

    YEAH.

    I was a soccer player growing up. I played club soccer. I played on the high school soccer team. I used to surf i in high school, I haven’t gone in years now. I think another thing aside from music, being in good health and good shape is, I think that it’s something that can actually help you as a musician. I think if you exercise and you’re in good shape, you wake up in the morning and you feel good, you want to get your instrument out and you want to practice, you know, you’re not tired. For the younger people out there, if you guys do go on to be professionals, you’re going to be working a lot and you’re going to have, maybe, a rigorous schedule. I think musicians are working all the time. They’re rehearsing. They’re driving from gig to gig and sometimes you’re doing things that you’re not going to get paid for. Sometimes you need to rehearse for four hours and you’re not going to get paid. Maybe you only get paid at your gig. So, if you’re in good health and you’re in good shape, you’re going to be resilient to sleepless nights, working hard, and stuff like that. I like sports. I also like In n’ Out (laughs). I don’t know what else. Cars… Traveling. I guess, traveling. Traveling is a good one. I like to go to different countries

    DO YOU GET TO DO THAT A LOT AS PART OF WHAT YOU’RE DOING?

    Yeah, yeah definitely. I’ve been pretty fortunate with that. I go to New York quite a bit. I’ve been to London a few times. When I was playing more I did a couple of smaller tours and got to see Europe. Definitely to the people that are playing instruments, stick with it. Because you never know what’s going to happen. You might get a chance to go on tour backing someone up and you know, you get a free trip to Europe for two weeks or Asia. I think even if you don’t want to be a professional musician, or be in the music business, I think keeping with it is definitely a good thing. I think musicians too in general are special people. They are really, they really see the world differently. I think they feel emotions stronger and they’re just fun people to be around. Alright, go for it.

    WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR GOALS FOR THE FUTURE. WHAT DO YOU HOPE TO DO IN THE NEXT TEN YEARS OR SO?

    I have a lot, I think the three biggest goals would be to continue taking my craft seriously, making sure that I don’t fall behind my practicing or I don’t ever let my work suffer, or get redundant. I think one big thing that I’ve always wanted to do was to create a scholarship for someone talented to audition for every year. And give a scholarship to someone who wanted to go study at a great school who maybe can’t afford it. Or offer a scholarship for someone who’s maybe really talented but can’t afford a Selmer Mark VI saxophone or an Epiphone guitar. I definitely have given a couple of clinics and masterclasses at some schools when I was on tour and I’ve met some really talented people, that are thirteen, fourteen, fifteen years that are really good and they’re playing on student model instruments and you’re wondering why… Then you find out they’re living in a tiny one-bedroom apartment in the Bronx in New York or something like that and all they have is their instrument and music. And I think if someone really wants to go on to do it seriously, and are working hard, I think that person should have the opportunity to play on a good instrument or go to a great school. So definitely setting up a scholarship and then also I think I would love to see the music industry change in the sense that record labels begin to sign more talented people and they begin to look less at maybe beauty and fashion and more to who’s just talented. So, you know, giving a record deal to maybe somebody who’s thirty-two years old and maybe they’re a little overweight but they could sing awesome as opposed to someone who is insanely attractive but you have to melodyne them and auto tune them to get them to sound decent. So I don’t know how I could change that, that will probably never change but…

    YOU COULD START YOUR OWN RECORD LABEL.

    I could start my own record label. Maybe I’ll do that. I’ll call it, I don’t know what I’ll call it. I’ll call it “Music Only Records”. So yeah, I guess those would be three goals that I would like to accomplish in the next, well, in the future.

    THAT’S GREAT. IF YOU HAD ONE PIECE OF ADVICE FOR A YOUNG MUSICIAN, WHAT WOULD THAT BE?

    Practice, definitely. I think Wynton Marsalis said it, someone said it, “you’re better off practicing 45 minutes a day as opposed to 3.5 hours every other day.” Be consistent with your practicing. If you’re an athlete, you’re going to work out everyday, you’re going to train. I think practicing, it’s just so important. Learn your scales. I think another important thing is get with a good private teacher. I think private instruction is, it could be a little costly, but it’s priceless because then you have the guidance of somebody. You have someone listening to you. You have you someone fixing a mistake right there on the spot as opposed to maybe… Not to say that someone can’t fix their own mistakes but maybe it might take you three weeks, four weeks to figure it out as opposed to if you have the guidance of a private teacher. You kind of have someone watching over you. And I think lastly, tape record yourself when you practice. For instrumentalists, you can go right back and you can listen to yourself right away. “And, oh man, my tone doesn’t sound right or I was out of tune or my articulation doesn’t sound as pronounced and specific or oh wow I missed that chord change.” And if you’re a composer, you know, same thing. Basic piano skills I think are good for everyone, musicians and composers. Study scores. If you want to do stuff for tv and film, you can get the score to Titanic. It’s all online, I mean, whatever film you like. And watch the score as you’re listening to the soundtrack. I just think really, the more time you put into your craft, the better off you’re going to be. So, lots of practicing, lots of studying scores. Don’t do drugs. Be responsible. Listen to your parents, whatever else (laughs). So I think that would be my advice.

    DO YOU HAVE ANYTHING ELSE YOU WANT TO ADD BEFORE WE CLOSE OUT THE SESSION?

    I think that pretty much. What are some common questions that students will ask you?

    I GET A LITTLE BIT OF EVERYTHING. LIKE HOW DO I IMPROVE MY PLAYING? SUPER GENERAL THINGS LIKE THAT. THE OTHER DAY I HAD SOMEONE ASK ME HOW TO IMPROVE THEIR ALTISSIMO. SO IT’S A LITTLE BIT ACROSS THE BOARD, BUT YOU KNOW ANYTHING SPECIFIC TO MAYBE WRITING OR PERFORMING OR MAYBE LIKE BALANCING YOUR SCHEDULE, THINGS LIKE THAT.

    Balancing your schedule. Balancing your schedule is a tough one because I think everyone has a lot of stuff going on. One thing that’s helped me, usually Sunday night I’ll sit down and I’ll get my calendar out and I’ll look at everything I kind of have to do throughout the week. I’ll think about, well, if I have to drive to this studio in Hollywood, I’ll be passing up Ralph’s grocery store, so I’m going to get my groceries on the way back. Yeah, I think balancing your schedule, put all your tasks on a piece of paper on a Sunday night usually before your Monday starts and see where you can save yourself some time. And make sure on the schedule is practicing. Definitely. Overtones for altissimo.

    KIND OF ON THE SAME SUBJECT, YOU PLAY MULTIPLE INSTRUMENTS AND IN ADDITION TO PLAYING AND PERFORMING YOU ALSO COMPOSE, SO HOW DO YOU FIND THE TIME TO BALANCE STUDY AND PRACTICE FOR EACH OF THOSE THINGS ESPECIALLY ON TOP OF THE FACT THAT YOU HAVE A CAREER WHICH, I GUESS, FOR A KID COULD BE COMPARABLE TO SCHOOL. SO YOU HAVE YOUR COMMITMENTS TO SCHOOL AND THEN ON TOP OF THAT YOU HAVE TO FIND TIME TO PRACTICE AND DEVELOP EACH THING YOU’RE FOCUSING ON.

    Very, very good question. I think, well obviously, there have been times where I’ve been so busy composing that maybe four or five days will go by where I don’t play and that’s just kind of how it is. You know, you can’t not sleep for a week. You could cut down hours but you end up getting sick so I think what I’ve been able to do is I’ve gotten really good at practicing really efficiently. And if I know I’m not going to have time to practice, like for example, I feel like my flute playing is the weakest. So that’s an instrument that if I have limited time, I’m going to get to first because that’s my weakness. I think for players to realize, “okay what am I good at and what am I not good at?” Figure that out first, and take notes or whatever, Write down what you feel like your strengths are and your weaknesses are. If you have limited time to practice, start with what you’re weak at. If F# major scale is the most difficult for you, play that first. Only that. You’re not going to forget your C major scale. No one does. So I mean, things like getting efficient. If I have a limited schedule, I’m going to do long tones and scales. And then maybe pull out a quick etude and just sight read through it so my sight reading is there, my tone is there from the long tones, and my technique is still not suffering. So I think, you know, obviously, try to make as many sacrifices as you can. Maybe your friends want to go to the movies one night, but maybe you haven’t practiced. Stay home and practice. That’s what’s going to help you in the long run. But I think realizing what your strengths are and what your weaknesses are is really good because then you can just focus on the weaknesses when you don’t have a lot of time. And you’re still able to stay in shape. And it’s tough.

    AS FAR AS COMPOSITION, BECAUSE YOU WERE KIND OF TALKING ABOUT PRACTICING YOUR INSTRUMENTS… YOU SAID EARLIER THAT YOU STUDIED SCORES AND LISTENED TO A LOT OF RECORDINGS. IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE YOU DO TO DEVELOP YOUR SONGWRITING AND YOUR COMPOSITION?

    Absolutely. If you’re living in Southern California, chances are you’re spending a lot of time on the road. So I just get my iPod out and I connect it to my car and I listen to music. But I think there’s a difference between passively listening and actively listening. I think that the type of listening that I like to do is “okay, I’m not going to have a lot of time to study scores, but I’m going to be on the road for an hour whatever driving to a session or whatever it is.” I’ll listen to something that I might be working on, maybe I might be listening to some Hans Zimmer cues just because I may need to write something similar to that and I’ll listen to it. And maybe I’ll listen to the first eight seconds or the first four measures and I’ll stop it, on my steering wheel. Don’t text and drive, stop it on your steering wheel on the car, and then I’ll try to sing back what I heard. (Sings) Or whatever it was and then I’ll go back and play it and believe it or not, if you have a lot of time on the road, and you could sing along with, maybe it’s the head to a jazz standard or if it’s a melody or if it’s singing along with lyrics in your car that’s actually, I think, really beneficial because it’s forcing you to verbally execute what you’re hearing. And it’s forcing you to listen deeper. If you have to sing back something, you have to listen to it a lot more intensely in order to do that.

    For composers, if you don’t have a lot of time, I would say whenever you’re, if you’re working out, listen to music. Obviously you probably don’t want to be singing at 24 hour fitness, because people will make fun of you but have music in your ears all the time. I think is a good way to do it.

    THAT’S REALLY GOOD ADVICE ACTUALLY BECAUSE YOU REALLY NEED TO MAXIMIZE THE FREE TIME THAT YOU HAVE SO THAT INSTEAD OF DOING THINGS PASSIVELY, OR YOU KNOW, LIKE WHEN YOU DO YOUR HOMEWORK AND YOU”RE LISTENING TO MUSIC, YOU’RE NOT REALLY PAYING ATTENTION TO THE MUSIC BUT IF YOU’RE IN THE CAR OR YOU’RE WALKING OR SOMETHING, IF YOU HAVE MUSIC IN YOUR EAR, YOU CAN LISTEN TO IT REALLY AND THINK ABOUT WHAT’S GOING ON. AND THEN ALSO WHEN YOU SING AFTER, YOU’RE COMMITTING IT TO MEMORY AND BUILDING UP YOUR VOCABULARY AS A COMPOSER OR AS A PLAYER AND I THINK THAT’S A REALLY GREAT THING AND THAT’S REALLY GREAT ADVICE.

    That’s, you said it better than I could have said it. Right on the money. Listen to what Shannon said. She’s got it down.

    SO WHERE CAN PEOPLE FIND MORE INFORMATION ABOUT YOU? GET IN TOUCH WITH YOU OR LISTEN TO SOME OF WHAT YOU’VE DONE?

    I have a website, andrewbalogh.com. I don’t really update it right now. I’m currently working on a reality tv show. It’s called “Throw it Back”. We just released the trailer to it on Youtube and it actually went viral and it was trending on Youtube for five days. It has 200,000 hits and it’s only been up, for actually, no, four days. So I’m pretty excited about that. That’s going to start airing in the fall. They’re currently negotiating between NBC, Fox, and ESPN. We’re not exactly sure which one of those we’re going to go with. So definitely, you’ll see that on tv. Let’s see, what else. I have a couple pop songs that are coming out. That’s kind of funny. I wrote a song for Lady Gaga. She’s going to record it. It’s called “Fade to Black.” It’s pretty exciting. It was kind of a fun project. As far as jazz goes, I recorded lead alto on a student film. Probably won’t be able to find it though. I did two arrangements for Michael Bublé that he’s taking on tour. So when he goes and sings at the Hollywood Bowl this summer go check it out.

    WELL, THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR DOING THE INTERVIEW AND FOR SHARING A BIT OF YOUR KNOWLEDGE WITH US. I APPRECIATE IT GREATLY.

    My pleasure.

    THANK YOU.

    Thank you Shannon. Take care.

    YOU TOO. BYE.

    Bye bye.

    March 19, 2013 • Interviews • Views: 1029

  • Jody Espina of Jody Jazz Interview | Music Company

    THE INTERVIEW WITH JODY ESPINA:

    HOW LONG HAS YOUR COMPANY BEEN IN BUSINESS? WHAT HAS SOME OF THE GROWTH BEEN THAT YOU SEEN?

    “I have been making mouthpieces for five years. For four years we have doubled revenue each year.”

    WHO ARE YOUR TARGETED CONSUMERS?

    “Anyone who plays sax or clarinet; primarily professionals and students who want to step up to a professional mouthpiece. Some grade school musicians play our mouthpieces, as well as a lot of junior high students, high school students, and college students all over the world.”

    WHAT PRODUCTS DO YOU OFFER THAT WOULD BE APPEALING TO YOUNG MUSICIANS?

    “We have a colored mouthpiece in our Classic Mouthpiece line (a professional mouthpiece). The Classic colored mouthpieces are made from the same material as the black mouthpiece. We also offer the HR* series mouthpiece which has a warm ensemble sound for jazz and classical (in a classical setting use a hard reed and for jazz a soft reed).”

    WHAT KIND OF FEEDBACK DO YOU GET? WHAT KIND OF FEEDBACK WOULD YOU LIKE TO HAVE? IS YOUR WEB SITE SETUP TO RECEIVE FEEDBACK?

    “We receive hundreds of letters and emails ranging from “I love this mouthpiece” to long explanations about how people notice a difference in their playing since they started using their Jody Jazz mouthpiece. Our web site gets approximately 650,000 hits a month. On the Jody Jazz web site, we have 6 questions we ask our customers to recommend a mouthpiece. We like to have a lot of customer interaction; to know why certain people don’t like a certain mouthpiece, etc. Unfortunately, our web site is not setup for feedback, but anyone who wants to get a hold of us, they can just send an email to the normal address.”

    WHO ARE SOME OF YOUR KEY ARTISTS?

    “Some our key artists include Andy Snitzer, Jeff Kashiwa, George Garzone, Ed Calle, Laura Dreyer, and many more. We require our artists to actually buy the mouthpieces and play them.”

    WHAT NEW PRODUCTS CAN WE LOOK FORWARD TO IN THE NEAR FUTURE?

    “In the near future, I hope to finish the Jody Jazz DV line. I am working on the soprano DV and then I will work on the bari sax DV. I also hope to develop a really great student mouthpiece that has a small tip opening and is available at a low price. I have been teaching since I graduated from Berklee and I am the director of jazz studies at Hoff-Barthelson Music School in Scarsdale, NY. As a teacher, I feel I have a responsibility to the kids, because they don’t know if it’s because of a piece of bad equipment that keeps them from being able to play.”

    “I also hope to develop a classical saxophone and clarinet mouthpiece – a darker model of the Jody Jazz DV mouthpiece. I already have a prototype for this mouthpiece. I also hope to design a ligature.”

    “To design a new mouthpiece, I usually create 50-60, and maybe even more than 75 prototypes. The process takes about a year before I have a new product developed. To design a quality product, you have to be careful and not in a hurry.”

    WHAT DO YOU FEEL ARE YOUR MOST EFFECTIVE METHODS OF ADVERTISEMENT?

    “Our most effective methods of advertisement are word of mouth and reviews. Internet forums are also really effective for getting the word out.”

    WHAT WAS YOUR INSPIRATION TO DEVELOP YOUR OWN COMPANY?

    “Runyon was my mentor, and it was really his idea that I design mouthpieces. I went to Runyon’s 93rd birthday and liked one of his mouthpieces. I wanted more bottom out of the mouthpiece, so Runyon refaced it for me. This mouthpiece is my Classic model mouthpiece. I put my name on the mouthpiece to sell it. People on the internet started to talk about it, and I saw that it could be a business. So, Runyon then let me prototype the ESP mouthpiece. My inspiration was the opportunity to make mouthpieces just for myself, just the way I like them.”

    “I then designed the HR* mouthpiece because a lot of people wanted a hard rubber mouthpiece. The price is low on this mouthpiece because it is nice to have a product that everyone can afford.”

    “I wanted to be able to compete with Ottolink and Meyer, so I then created the Jody Jazz DV. It is the mouthpiece that I am in love with right now; I call it ‘the Ferrari’. I recently read ‘The Da Vinci Code’, and in the book they talk about the Fibonacci series of numbers which essential describe the proportion in nature. I wanted to make a mouthpiece that exemplified this. The DV has a lot of projection with a big body of sound and tone that is equal at all volumes.”

    HOW LARGE IS YOUR COMPANY? ABOUT HOW MANY EMPLOYEES? WHERE ARE YOU BASED OUT OF?

    “Our mouthpieces are distributed in every continent (except Antarctica). Jody Jazz has three employees in Manhattan, New York.”

    WHAT ARE QUALIFICATIONS TO BE EMPLOYED? IS THERE POTENTIAL EMPLOYMENT FOR YOUNG MUSICIANS? INTERNSHIPS?

    “We look for employees with a good attitude and good people skills. Right now we are looking for an assistant to our operations manager. We want employees who want to work and have the potential to learn. There is definitely potential employment and internships for young musicians.”

    MORE INFORMATION:

    If you want to find out more about Jody Jazz or get in touch with Jody Jazz, you can visit their web site.

    Check out Jody Jazz Mouthpieces on Amazon

    December 1, 2012 • Interviews • Views: 1310

  • Jazz Monthly | Teen Jazz Company Interview with Smitty Smith

    HOW LONG HAS JAZZMONTHLY.COM BEEN AROUND?

    “I have been working on jazzmonthly.com since January 2006.”

    WHAT GROWTH HAVE YOU SEEN WITH JAZZ MONTHLY?

    “Well, I started out with Jazz Nation, and I was with Jazz Nation for about six years, so some of the growth has been making the transition to Jazz Monthly. The most significant growth the site has seen is the traffic and the response from viewers around the world. We have received great reviews on the aesthetic appeal of the site, how user-friendly it is, and the content as well. We have had a ton of artists that have such powerful stories. Right now we are featuring Steve Quirk, Althea Rene, and many artists people are getting introduced to for the first time.”

    WHO IS YOUR TARGETED AUDIENCE WITH JAZZ MONTHLY?

    “Our targeted audience is anywhere from 25 to 55, but we would like to go deeper into that because jazz is a genre that could really encompass every age group.”

    WHAT DOES JAZZ MONTHLY OFFER THAT WOULD BE APPEALING TO YOUNG MUSICIANS?

    “Great examples of musicianship. When one reads the interviews, they will find that many of the artists started young and just stuck with it. The stories show that a young musician needs to stick with it, ignore the many distractions that may come along, and to keep trying to do what they love to do.”

    WHAT KIND OF FEEDBACK DOES JAZZ MONTHLY RECEIVE?

    “The number one comment is that our readers love the color scheme. Closely following that is that they love the content. People like the fact that we have educative information. We offer great information about the artists and entertainment that they love that educates them more about the music and the artists.

    “The web site is not necessarily set up for feedback, but our contact information is on the site for people who want to comment.”

    WHO ARE SOME OF THE KEY ARTISTS THAT YOU HAVE FEATURED?

    “Well, they are all key artists. Some of the names that I can recall off the top of my head include keyboardist Greg Karukas, the legendary Ramsey Lewis, Rick Braun, DW3 from Spaghettini’s, Gerald Veasely, Gerald Albright, Mindi Abair, artist Bettie Miner, Althea Rene, and Dee Dee Bridgewater.”

    WHAT NEW FEATURES CAN WE LOOK FORWARD TO IN THE FUTURE?

    “We are going to feature guitarist Steve Oliver, Bob James, Roy Hargrove, Eric Darius, and more. We are also going to feature some up and coming artists such as vocalist Sophie Milman, Jill Jensen, and this great young female sax player named Shannon Kennedy.”

    VERY CLEVER SMITTY. (SHANNON LAUGHS)

    (Smitty laughing) “Yes, we are going to feature you as well. I think you have a great story to tell with the fire that you have in your music and your industriousness to get the music out there both for yourself and others. You have a great future ahead of you.”

    THANK YOU VERY MUCH, SMITTY. SO, WHAT WAS YOUR INSPIRATION TO DEVELOP JAZZ MONTHLY?

    “I have a love for music and its artists. I love what artists do with their music and I want to introduce as many musicians as possible to the world. Jazz Monthly is a site that will feature every genre of jazz, and I feel that it could be a serious force for introducing new music to the world.”

    HOW DO YOU MAINTAIN THE WEB SITE WHILE WORKING AS A CHEMIST?

    “I have some great people working with me that keep the ball rolling while I am away.”

    TELL US MORE ABOUT THE STORE THAT IS GOING TO BE ON JAZZ MONTHLY:

    “We are really excited about the store. We can get music to fans around the world at a reasonable price and we feel that it something people want. They can read about the artist on the web site and get their music. We not only wanted to feature the music, but to make it available.”

    FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT JAZZ MONTHLY:

    Visit the Jazz Monthly web site.

    October 11, 2012 • Interviews • Views: 1081

  • Rheuben Allen Saxophones Interview | Music Company

    TRANSCRIPTION OF THE INTERVIEW

    Rheuben Allen is a contributing writer on Teen Jazz

    Shannon (SK): I’m Shannon Kennedy with Teen Jazz Radio and today on the show we are continuing the Careers in Music Series and I have with me Rheuben Allen. Hi Rheuben.

    Rheuben (RA): Hi Shannon, how are you today?

    SK: I’m good and how are you?

    RA: Pretty good.

    SK: We haven’t quite decided what we’re going to talk about yet but I think you said something about saxophone repair?

    RA: We could talk about saxophone repair. Anything in particular you want to talk about?

    SK: Maybe something like tips for doing sax repair on the go?

    RA: Okay, we can do some things, like we can talk about what you can do on the road or if you’re in a place where you have a concert and something happens. The main things to keep with you all the time of course are a screwdriver so you can put screws back in if they get loose. Rubberbands of different strengths and saran wrap.

    Now, suppose a pad falls out or you get a rip in a pad, you can put saran wrap around the pad and then a rubber band on the top of that and then that will hold you until you can get to a repairman. It’s not the greatest fix in the world, but it will actually work. And rubberbands of different strengths are also good for if a spring breaks. You can find a way to hook the rubberband to the key to make the key operate.

    RHEUBEN’S COMPANY

    SK: Rheuben has done a lot of different things in the music industry – everything from performance to playing in military bands to saxophone repair and even owning his own company that makes saxophones and saxophone accessories and actually, not just saxophones. You’ve done guitars and string instruments and brass as well?

    RA: I’ve done quite a bit of things. I am kind of coming back to just doing saxophones and things I really know, like clarinets and flutes. In the guitar world I wasn’t that “swift.” So I wasn’t a big hit.

    The thing I’m concentrating on for the next year, I have a couple of new saxophone models on the market. My newest one has 14k gold lacquer and it’s an alto and it comes with two necks, one of which is my latest neck. My latest neck looks like this (shows neck).

    Now what it does is that it has weights in these holes and the holes originally come, the neck comes like this (shows another neck). See there are holes in the neck. There are two kinds of braces. The one that Shannon has up close. This one, the brace is sautered the entire length of the neck. The one I have in my hand is only sautered on two points, leaving this piece free and what that does is it allows the neck to vibrate a little more by having that space. Now the strength of the neck is in the sauter like this, it’s very difficult to bend this neck down because of the way it’s sautered together.

    You can take the weights out of the neck and put them in many different configurations. This is an alto neck that Shannon’s holding now with two weights in it. Each position of the weights changes the way the neck plays because it changes the response of the instrument. I find that tenor players have recently liked either just the first weight or the one and two weights or no weights in the neck. You can play it without the weights in the neck and it responds very well.

    SK: So this is the alto neck with two weights and I am currently removing one of the weights so you can see exactly what the weight looks like and this is actually the way that I play my alto (showing neck with only the back weight). I have the third weight in the back and mine is silver, so it’s quite like this.

    This is what the weight looks like (showing weight) – the weighted piece and the opposite end and it just basically screws together like this and that’s how you can remove it or add it and do whatever you want.

    So what other cool things do you have to show us?

    RA: I have thumbrests. They’re designed so that when you put your thumb underneath it, you can’t bend your thumb. When you bend your thumb around the thumb rest, it puts tension in your hand. With this being straight when you play, the hand is more relaxed and you can’t tense up as much. So it does help in preventing long term hand injury and that sort of thing.

    I make clarinet tuning rings and soprano/clarinet/flute pegs. You can see all my accessories on rheubenallen.com. All of my saxophone necks feature this cordura neck case and that allows you to carry the extra necks. Also, if you have a valuable neck, you can buy the case separately and carry the necks in the case. It’s a very good product for keeping your necks safe.

    SK: Teen Jazz Radio is so super freaking awesome that not only do we have one guest, but we have two!

    RA: Now I’d like to bring in Ted Yamada. Now Ted manufactures the t-shirts and things that I sell on my web site. He has a music company called KDIMusic.com. That’s Ted back there. Say hi Ted.

    Ted (TY): Hello.

    SK: Ted wants to talk about his festival that he is holding in August.

    TY: I have a festival, August 13th and 14th, it’s Nisei Week Japanese festival, plaza festival and one of the acts will be Shannon Kennedy Band. So we’ll keep you up to date on when she will perform. We also have a Nisei Week Japanese Festival Marching Band and one of the sponsors is here (touches Rhueben’s shoulder). You can come out and support the Nisei Week festival. It will be held August 13th/14th. As part of the plaza festival we’ll have unique food, merchandise and entertainment.

    SK: PS. Little Tokyo Los Angeles is…

    RA: the location for the Nisei Week Japanese Festival. You can email Ted, he also has Facebook and how’s your Facebook listed?

    TY: KDI Music

    RA: We hope you enjoy visiting all the web sites and seeing all the strange stuff and things like that!

    -And of course, don’t forget to enjoy the bloopers at the end of the video!-

    October 10, 2012 • Interviews • Views: 1695

  • Rico Reeds | Teen Jazz Company Interview with Jean-François Rico

    Established in 1928 by Joseph Rico, Rico is the most popular reed and woodwind accessory company today having grown from receiving 30 kilos of cane its first year to about 300,000 kilos in 2005. Now owned by Jean-Francois Rico, the grandson of Joseph Rico, the company continues to see increasing success worldwide in its partnership with D’Addario. [Since the original time of this interview, Rico Reeds has become D’Addario Woodwinds.]

    Targeting all clarinet and saxophone players, from students to professionals in the classical and jazz genres, Rico offers a variety of products to satisfy a wide customer base. Those who use Rico reeds usually find that the reeds are very consistent and that at least 80% of the reeds in a box are great reeds.

    Rico also has several new products that will be available in the near future including a new classical clarinet reed, a new jazz saxophone reed, an improvement on all brands of reeds because of new equipment and better cane selection, and a book written on the history of reeds and cane for all major reed companies which became available in France in 2006.*

    THE INTERVIEW WITH JEAN-FRANCOIS RICO:

    WHO ARE YOUR TARGETED CONSUMERS?

    “Pretty much everyone. From students to professional musicians from every style ranging from classical to jazz.”

    WHAT PRODUCTS DO YOU OFFER THAT WOULD BE APPEALING TO YOUNG MUSICIANS? WHAT KIND OF FEEDBACK DO YOU GET? WHAT KIND OF FEEDBACK WOULD YOU LIKE TO HAVE? IS YOUR WEB SITE SETUP TO RECEIVE FEEDBACK?

    “For Classical Musicians, a student would start using Regular Rico (the orange box) then move to the Grand Concert then the Grand Concert Evolution, for clarinet players Mitchell Lurie. There is a new classical reed for clarinet in progress that is not yet available.

    “For Jazz Musicians, a student would start using Rico Regular (the orange box) then move to Rico Royal, then La Voz and then the Jazz Select reeds.

    “The Plasticover reeds are meant for marching band or beginners because they have a better durability than the normal reeds and are less likely to warp.

    “People like our products because our reeds are very consistent and our customers find that 80% of reeds in a box are good.”

    WHAT DO YOU FEEL ARE YOUR MOST EFFECTIVE METHODS OF ADVERTISEMENT?

    “Our most effective methods of advertisement are participating in international shows, visiting schools and conservatories, giving away samples and talking to people, and explaining reed making process.”

    WHAT MADE YOU DECIDE TO BE THE ONE TO CARRY ON THE FAMILY COMPANY?

    “My Grandfather was one of the founders – Joseph Rico. I was raised in the environment. At 22 years old I moved to California and spent three years working at Rico learning how reeds are made, the need for good quality material cane, and then after 3 years I moved to France and took over purchasing and growing cane.”

    WHAT ARE QUALIFICATIONS TO BE EMPLOYED? IS THERE POTENTIAL EMPLOYMENT FOR YOUNG MUSICIANS? INTERNSHIPS?

    “Musicians who preferably play clarinet or sax qualify to be employees. There is potential employment for people who are ready to play reeds and deliver feedback for development of new products or improvements on old.”

    ADVICE FROM RICO:

    “A common mistake that reed players tend to make is to throw a reed on a mouthpiece and play it until it no longer has any life and then do the same to the next reed. You can get the fullest potential from a box of reeds by breaking them in. When you buy a new box of reeds, you need to take them out and play them each for five to ten minutes and then give them a break. If you break the reeds in slowly and rotate which reed you are using rather than always using just one, the reeds will play better and last longer.”

    MORE INFORMATION:

    If you want to get in touch with Rico, you can visit their web site and drop them an email about what you think of their reeds or various other music products. The web site is setup to receive feedback, but only in English. They are working on creating a multilingual web site, which is vital because they are an international company. Rico is based out of Sun Valley, California.

    *I am not certain as to whether or not this book was published (the interview was conducted prior to 2006). If anyone knows the link or if they could verify its publication, I would greatly appreciate it.

    October 5, 2012 • Interviews • Views: 1244

  • D’Addario | Teen Jazz Company Interview with John D’Addario

    Back in 2007 I had the opportunity to do an interview with John D’Addario of the music company accessory company D’Addario.

    THE INTERVIEW WITH JOHN D’ADDARIO:

    HOW LONG HAS YOUR COMPANY BEEN IN BUSINESS? WHAT HAS SOME OF THE GROWTH BEEN THAT YOU SEEN?

    “D’Addario is now in its second century, having been established in 1905. Originally importing their strings from Italy to New York, D’Addario eventually began making his own strings using his knowledge from the city where he grew up (which had a history of making strings for classical instruments).”

    WHO ARE YOUR TARGETED CONSUMERS?

    “D’Addario targets consumers from thirteen to twenty-one years of age, but lately we have been working on our products to target a much broader audience.”

    WHAT PRODUCTS DO YOU OFFER THAT WOULD BE APPEALING TO YOUNG MUSICIANS? WHAT KIND OF FEEDBACK DO YOU GET? WHAT KIND OF FEEDBACK WOULD YOU LIKE TO HAVE? IS YOUR WEB SITE SETUP TO RECEIVE FEEDBACK?

    “At D’Addario, we are constantly developing products as music styles change to try to develop products that work with popular styles. Recent innovations include replacing guts with synthetics for classical strings and creating new combinations of materials to improve our existing products. We do a lot of research on all our products.

    “We receive a significant amount of feedback from our customers. We have chat rooms on the D’Addario web site. On top of that, whenever we design a new product, we hire a musicians advisory board of four or five professional musicians to try our new products. The board members are constantly changing.”

    WHO ARE SOME OF YOUR KEY ARTISTS?

    Rock: Dave Matthews, Joe Satriani, and Kerry King of Slayer
    Bluegrass: Del McCovry, Rhonda Vincent, Ricky Skaggs
    Classical: David Russell, Palo Pera
    Jazz: Pat Metheny, John Scofield Bowed: Jean Luc Ponty, Christian McBride
    Evans: Peter Erskine, John Dolmayan from System of a Down, Horacio El Negro Hernandez
    Rico: James Moody, Benny Golson
    Planet Waves: Slipknot, John Petrucci”

    WHAT NEW PRODUCTS CAN WE LOOK FORWARD TO IN THE NEAR FUTURE?

    “For 2006, we have a new line of unique tuners for guitars. We also have many more electronics.”

    WHAT DO YOU FEEL ARE YOUR MOST EFFECTIVE METHODS OF ADVERTISEMENT?

    “Print ads, internet and some tv.”

    WHAT WAS YOUR INSPIRATION TO CONTINUE ON THE FAMILY TRADITION WITH D’ADDARIO?

    “I am the 3rd generation as well as my brother Jim who is the Chief executive of D’Addario, and my kids are the fourth generation. I grew up in the business; I went to my first NAMM show at the age of ten or eleven.”

    HOW LARGE IS YOUR COMPANY? ABOUT HOW MANY EMPLOYEES? WHERE ARE YOU BASED OUT OF?

    “D’Addario is distributed in about 130 countries. We have about 11,000 employees. We are currently based in New York.”

    MORE INFORMATION:

    If you want to find out more about D’Addario or get in touch with D’Addario, you can visit their web site.

    September 30, 2012 • Interviews • Views: 1091