- The one thing you shouldn’t do if you want to keep the gig
- The crazy ear training exercise one of his teachers put him through
- The importance of your mindset in performance and practice
- How Steve got into online education and mouthpiece reviews
- What Steve looks for in a mouthpiece
- Steve’s funny as a brain tumor story
- And a whole lot more!
This week we caught up with Kris Urbanski for an exciting conversation. Kris is a saxophonist and educator based out of London and has been dazzling audiences around the world with his amazing sound and approach to the instrument for some years now. Kris is really pushing the boundaries of jazz music through his playing and compositions and has made quite a following for fans of the music the world over. Kris has been featured in many international competitions over the years including first prize in the Saxophone Idol Competition, the Taichung International Saxophone Competition, and the Hoeliaart Saxophone Competition. He has also been a featured guest and clinician at conferences and events around the globe including the World Saxophone Congress held in Croatia in 2018.
In this episode:
- How Kris got his start in music growing up in Poland.
- Moving to the jazz center of Europe in London to pursue his career.
- Coming up with your own exercises.
- Why Kris doesn’t write many things down and prefers to learn by ear.
- Approaching technique through classical playing.
Would you like to support this show on Patreon with a small donation each month? Click here to support your creators directly and learn more about keeping the podcast alive!
- the best way to get endorsed
- her recommendations for a successful practice routine
- the jazz scene back then vs. now (and some of her favorite current performers)
- one great piece of advice from Joe Viola
- one thing she feels players should focus on more
- how to internalize a melody
Pauline Eveno is the Co-Founder and CEO of the Shape Your Own Sound mouthpiece company based out of Paris. We caught up with Pauline to talk about her studies in acoustics and how she came to find herself making mouthpieces for saxophone players all over the world. SYOS has been working closely with some of the top players around the globe to figure out what makes a great mouthpiece. With their 3D printing technology, they can tailor a mouthpiece to any preference. Pauline goes into great detail about the process and what she has learned through her time at the helm of this company.
In this episode:
- Why Pauline chose to study acoustics and what goes into designing a mouthpiece.
- How SYOS was born and has continued to grow.
- Working closely with the artists to make the best mouthpiece possible.
- The design process of a 3D printed mouthpiece.
- The difference in material between hard rubber, metal, and ABS plastic.
- New and inventive design elements of SYOS mouthpieces.
Mobile since her birth in Singapore, composer, and saxophonist Caroline Davis lives in Brooklyn, New York. Her debut album, Live Work & Play, was featured on All About Jazz’s best releases, and she was named one of JazzTimes’ Best New Artists in 2012. Her second album, Doors: Chicago Storylines, is an audio documentary that uniquely sets stories from Chicago’s jazz scene from the 80s and 90s alongside her original music. In 2018, she won the Downbeat Critic’s Poll “rising star” in the alto saxophone category. Caroline’s third album, Heart Tonic, was released on Sunnyside Records to much acclaim in NPR, the New York Times, and DownBeat. Davis’ self-titled Alula, featuring Matt Mitchell and Greg Saunier, was released on New Amsterdam Records in May of 2019.
She has shared musical moments with a diverse group of musicians, from jazz to improvised and composed music, recently including Lee Konitz, Angelica Sanchez, Matt Mitchell, Miles Okazaki, Matt Wilson, and Billy Kaye. Her regular collaborations include Maitri and Persona (with Rob Clearfield). In March of 2019, she was a composer-in-residence at the esteemed MacDowell Colony, and was awarded the Jerome Hill Artist Fellowship for her work for 2019-20.
As an educator, Caroline brings her unique knowledge of music and psychology to her teaching, as she acquired a Ph.D. in Music Cognition at Northwestern University in 2010. She has been on the faculty at Litchfield Jazz Camp for the past 10 years, Stanford Jazz Institute for the past 3 years, and has been a guest educator at Northwestern University, University of Colorado at Boulder, St. Xavier University, Columbia College, DePaul University, University of Texas at Arlington, Loyola University, Texas Tech, New Trier High School, Evanston Township High School, Denver School of the Arts, Newman Smith High School, and Jazz at Lincoln Center. She has also participated in several jazz mentorship programs, including IAJE’s Sisters in Jazz and the Kennedy Center’s Betty Carter Jazz Ahead Program.
In this episode, we talked about:
- How always being mobile has influenced her saxophone playing and composing
- The influence of some of her mentors on her playing, Jimmy Greene and Teddy Edwards
- How she got started with teaching at summer jazz camps
- She details her practice regimen, including her unique approach to scale and long tone practice
- and much more
Here’s where you can find Caroline online:
Purchase CD’s: https://carolinedavismusic.bandcamp.com/
Ted Nash is a multi Grammy winning woodwind artist that has one of the most impressive resumes you could imagine. This week, we had the good fortune of catching up with Ted to talk about many things that go into his storied career. Growing up in Los Angeles, Ted’s father and uncle were both in demand studio musicians and Ted took to music at a young age. After landing gigs with Lionel Hampton, Quincy Jones, and Louis Bellson, Nash was off to New York where he would become a fixture on the scene. These days, Nash is the lead alto player in the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra as well as leading many groups under his own name and continuing his prolific output of recorded material.
In this episode:
- What it was like to grow up surrounded by professional musicians at the top of their game.
- Ted’s move to New York and how long it took him to break into the scene.
- Becoming a member of one of the most visible jazz ensembles in the world: Jazz at Lincoln Center
- Ted’s choice of horns and why he prefers the lesser known instruments.
- An approach to doubling that will ensure that all instruments come to be known as your friends.
Originally from Houston, Texas, Jason Whitmore is proud to call San Diego his home. A graduate from the University of Houston with a degree in Saxophone Performance, Jason holds a deep appreciation for live performance spanning all genres of music. Jason has worked as full-time musician, touring and playing saxophone all over North America. Since the early 2000′s, he has been exploring his love for electronic dance music by performing with top DJ’s from all over the country. Whether he’s in the recording studio, dance club or on music festival he always brings a unique live element to his music that people are attracted to.
– What it’s like to perform as a Sax/DJ Duo and how to land those gigs
– How to do online collaborations
– Jason’s pick for best music performance app that’s totally free
– Performing the National Anthem at major stadiums in the US – how he approaches performing the anthem tastefully and how he created those opportunities
– How Jason has built up his social media presence, which is extremely important for musicians today
– and much more!
This week’s episode is one that will open some doors for you. Ben Britton is an important Educator and saxophonist that is going to enlighten you on sound production and overtones. Ben is the author of two fantastic volumes on these two subjects called A Complete Approach to Sound and A Complete Approach to Overtones. These books have been pivotal in the development of myself and so many of my students. We caught up with Ben to talk about many of the concepts in these books as well as his life and journey as a musician and educator. This one is so PACKED with actionable information and will make you want to double down on your sound production and flexibility goals.
In this episode:
- How Ben came up in music and what brought him to where he is today.
- Why hearing himself on recording sparked his ambition to write his two books.
- What Chris Potter taught him about sound.
- How to approach embouchure.
- The physics of producing good tone.
- The role of reeds in sound production.
Greg teaches jazz master classes and college workshops nationally and internationally, and is on the faculty of the Jamey Aebersold Summer Jazz Workshop.
When not on tour, Greg is based in the Chicago area where he performs locally and teaches at Greg Fishman Jazz Studios. Greg Fishman is a Rico artist and plays Rico reeds exclusively.
This week features an amazing saxophonist, composer, educator, and woodwind artist, Geof Bradfield. Geof is an important voice on the Chicago scene where he also teaches at Northern Illinois University. Bradfield hails from Houston and attended the famous High School for the Performing and Visual Arts. Since then, Bradfield has called many places home including Washington and New York.
Geof has had the pleasure of sharing the stage and studio with such amazing players as Randy Weston, Carl Allen, Brian Blade, Rodney Whitaker, Etienne Charles, Joe Locke, and Orrin Evans. He also performs and records regularly with fellow Chicago artists including Dana Hall, Clark Sommers, Jeff Parker, Matt Ulery, Marquis Hill, and Ryan Cohan, to name a few. His latest record, Yes and, ….Music For Nine Improvisors is a masterpiece of improvisation, composition, and orchestration.
In this episode we talked many things saxophone and beyond:
- How Geof started playing the saxophone and what his childhood in the Houston area meant to his development.
- Why he calls Chicago home and what the scene there means to him.
- How Geof developed his voice on the other woodwind instruments and keeps improving all the time.
- The inspiration for his latest record and why he chose the players he did.
- How he keeps his students motivated and working together.
- Geof answers our five questions with ease!