Herbie died this week at the age of 73. He had been battling inoperable prostate cancer for the last 6 years. Herbie was one of the major shapers of Jazz flute and he will be missed.
Kanga asked “I recently picked up my flute again after many years to introduce my kids to music theory. I have in the past only played classical pieces and was interested in Jazz. Thank you for such a great site! I have been getting my lips and fingers working together again with your exercises and patterns. Do you have any recommendations for a few good Jazz Flute CD’s that I can listen to?”
Yeah, there are a lot. I’d start with finding stuff from Jim Walker and Freeflight. Then, you could look into Nestor Torres, Robert Dick, Hubert Laws and others.
I was searching the net tonight for drawings of a patent awarded Haynes for the design of a flute in 1917 (or somewhere around there) and I discovered this.
One of those strange designs that we might have been playing today if things had gone differently.
While surfing tonight, I came across this site which has some very interesting information about how pitch centers have changed throughout the years. I notice now that most flutes are A=442, and I just bought an old Haynes that is most likely A=440. I think my Yamaha flute is A=442.It’s an interesting website, and perhaps someone knows some other good ones.
I’ve noticed that a lot of guys who are not “flutists”, ie: they play flute but it’s not their main instrument, use different headjoints to get better sounds. For example, I believe both Guido Fazio and Larry DeLaCruz are using Yamaha student model flutes (plated body, closed hole) with Sankyo headjoints. I haven’t ventured into this area yet, as I’m still using my Yamaha 581 with the CY (I think) headjoint. Though, anyone have any opinions on different headjoints?
Bill McBirnie writes "EXTREME FLUTE
(A Bill McBirnie Production)
--As a follow-up to Extreme Flute (A Bruce Jones/Bill McBirnie Collaboration), "Desvio", Bill McBirnie has released his first self-produced CD, "Scratch It!", in which he single-handedly executes every facet of the work from composition and performance through to engineering and mixing. The most striking element of the
production is, of course, his remarkable flute playing which includes performances on the entire family of flutes--C flute, alto flute, bass flute and piccolo."
"The repertoire covers an astonishing range of styles--from the salsa grooves of ?Crescent Wrench? to the impressionism of ?Free Diving?--complete with a host of idioms in between including the be-bopping on ?I?m Confessin?? to the hip-hopping on the title track, ?Scratch It!?
Bill is well known as one of Canada?s finest jazz flutists. However, this production reflects a breadth of ability and proficiency that cannot be gleaned from any of his previously recorded works. Accordingly, this CD will undoubtedly re-establish him as a
flutist of both consummate and comprehensive skill. Indeed, it is conceivable that many listeners will never have heard the instrument played in an improvisatory context with such flair and conviction.
On all levels, whether musical or technical, the quality of Bill?s playing is striking as it runs the gamut from sensuous to funky to dazzling. Both the range of material and the exceptional calibre of his performances yield a result that can be quite fittingly characterized as--EXTREME FLUTE.
Included in the CD are the following selections:
1-Crescent Wrench (4:48)
2-Find Your Place (5:57)
3-Scratch It! (6:15)
4-Canto de Escravo (Slaves Song) (Celso Machado-SOCAN) (3:22)
5-I?m Confessin? (Neiburg, Dougherty, Reynolds-ASCAP) (5:45)
6-Free-Diving (Version 1) (5:10)
7-Soul Survivor (4:31)
8-Canto de Escravo (Slaves Song) (Celso Machado-SOCAN)--Reprise (3:19)
9-Scratch It!--Reprise (3:48)
10-Missing You (4:40)
11-Honesty, Thrift & Industry (7:34)
12-Free-Diving (Version 2) (6:11)
13-Theme From Rocky & Bullwinkle (Frank Comstock-ASCAP) (0:24)
Bill McBirnie--Flutes & Piccolo, Miscellaneous Percussion, Composer-SOCAN (except where otherwise indicated), Producer, Engineering, Mixing
--Phone: (416) 652-1541
Interesting self promotion. Now, the last part has me interested. You seem to have done all this by yourself? Got clips?
In the latest issue of The Flutist which I receive as being a member of the National Flute Association, there was an article about software for use in practicing and teaching. Here is a brief summary of it and some additions of my own.
The article, written by Joseph Manupello, is interesting, but has a number of errors. Lets start where he starts, with software Metronomes.
He mentions a program called Metronome 2.5 by Nick Baciu. I haven’t been able to find that program, but I did find a great Metronome/Tuner called Enable Tune 2.6 for windows that, for $19.95, does a good job at tuning and keeping time. For Mac people, there are a couple of Metronome programs. And there are programs out there for the Palm as well. I however think if you are going to practice, get a real metronome. Like the Boss Doctor Beat 66 which is great because it’s LOUD, accents downbeats, and does odd meters.
Mr. Manupello’s next section is on tuners, mainly the AP Instrument Tuner 1.02. It’s an interesting product, and there are similar products available for Windows and Macintosh. Cool, but…..why? Pitch is important, but…..this is insane. He even mentions that one of the things he likes about AP Tuner is that you can run two instances of the program (assuming you have 2 sound cards). Why? Personally, I’m amazed at the $30 digital tuners you can get. The keep getting smaller, and faster. My recommendation, get a Seiko or similar tuner. Makes sense, especially if you plan to play somewhere, like a GIG, where you won’t have your computer around.
Finally, Joseph Manupello gets down to business with taking about Spectrogram. Now, this program is very interesting. You can see visualizations of what you sound like. Compare it with other peoples’. Neat, but….thats about it. I don’t think I’d really use it.
Finally, Joseph Manupello ends with talking about Cool Edit. Cool edit allows you to record, edit, etc, etc yourself and your music. There are other programs as well that can do this, such as Soundforge (which I highly recommend) for the PC, and for the Macintosh, I wholeheartly recommend Sound Studio and Amadeus. Both are inexpensive and excellent programs.
The computer is a great tool, but I’ve found that it is best for recording, and composing/edit/printing music. I’ve found that owning a metronome and a tuner is invaluable. You can take them with you, whereever your playing takes you.
I came across this site. Great idea. A great, portable way to swab the piccolo out. I lost my little cleaning rod long ago……….but this seems to be a great replacement. The only complaint I have about it, is that it barely fits in my Piccolo case.
If you don’t subscribe to the Flute List, then you should. They had some interesting posts about lesson policies going on. Here are a couple to ponder…..
suz writes “I have just embarked on the long slow boat to the land of a new flute. I’ve tried several this week; next week it’ll be several more I imagine. A used flute dealer and I had this rather thorough conversation about my playing ability, style and interests, and then he produced three lovely old French-made instruments for me to try. They were good flutes, but the wrong type of sound, I thought (I guess he and I were on different wavelengths). Frank Zappa mentioned that flutists and harpers have a bad look on their faces because of all this cloud and angel music they have to play. I am not playing cloud and angel music, though those French flutes would have been good for that.So my inquiry: I want EVERYONE’s opinion about brands, features, tone, and any other aspect of the instruments themselves as pertains to jazz. Thanks in advance!”
Ok, well, where to start. It really doesn’t matter what type of flute you get. It could be Yamaha, Geminhardt, Powell, etc, etc. What is important is the tonal qualities your seeking. Are you seeking a bright tone? Or a darker tone? Then you’d choose a flute that has those qualities in addition to good sturdy keywork, excellent intonation, etc, etc. It really doesn’t matter too much WHAT you play on as long as you like it.Personally, I like my Yamaha 581, though sometimes I wish for a darker, rounder tone. I’m afraid to try a Haynes or Powell or something because then I’d KNOW for sure that the Yamaha I have is not as good. Don’t get me wrong, I like my flute a lot. We have about 30 different stage shows that we’ve done together, along with some recording sessions, etc. It’s dependable, and durable. I just wish it was a little more flexiable.Some day I’ll get a Haynes or a Powell, but I doubt I’d part with the Yamaha.