Author Archives: jaybrandford

VIDEO OF BEN WEBSTER PRACTICING

BIG BEN: BEN WEBSTER IN EUROPE

A priceless moment in the film “Big Ben: Ben Webster In Europe.” He demonstrates the old school strategy of playing along with a recording, in this case a Fats Waller LP.
This film isn’t a performance documentary; it’s sketches of Mr. Webster’s daily life: going to the zoo, talking with his landlady, playing some stride piano, commuting to gigs, running a rehearsal (with Don Byas!), and so forth.

Here’s a link to the full film

Transcription: Roger Rosenberg plays “Giant Steps”

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New York City, late 1970s:

The range of up-and-coming talent on the jazz tenor saxophone scene is breathtaking. Bobby Malach, Bill Pierce, Bob Mintzer, Chico Freeman, Mike Brecker, Bob Berg, David Schnitter, Ricky Ford, David Murray, – and these are just the cats who were in their twenties at the time!

Roger Rosenberg was part of this community of vibrant and high energy musicians; here he is soloing on tenor with George Russell’s New York Big Band in 1978; it’s an Ernie Wilkins chart on “God Bless The Child” featuring vocalist Lee Genesis. Roger was a busy freelancer who worked with Tito Puente, Mongo Santamaria, Buddy Rich and many, many others during these years.

 

At this time he also began to focus on the baritone saxophone, the instrument he’s been associated with ever since, and you can hear a lot of tenor sax vocabulary and vitality when he plays the bigger horn.  Roger was part of the Lee Konitz Nonet that performed at the first Chicago Jazz Festival in 1979, and the band’s performance was broadcast by NPR on Billy Taylor’s program “Jazz Alive.” Here’s a recording of Roger tearing it up on the Nonet’s set-closer, “Giant Steps.”

 

Here’s a transcription of Roger’s solo.

Click here for a downloadable .pdf: Roger Rosenberg – Giant Steps solo

In the early eighties – soon after these recordings were made – Roger became a charter member of Bob Mintzer’s Big Band; he’s played on all the recordings and anchors the sax section of the band to this day. During those years he also worked in Chet Baker’s quintet, playing baritone and soprano. For more information about Roger, consult his biography at jazzbarisax.com, search for his performances and interviews on YouTube, and check out his recent studio projects  Baritonality and Hang Time. Both albums contain many of his excellent original compositions.

In 2018 he’s still a busy creative musician around NYC, and on the road and in the studio with Steely Dan.

 

“One note on the saxophone for weeks at a time”

dolphy outdoors 2Here’s a 1975 interview with Eric Dolphy’s parents, Eric Sr and Sadie Dolphy. The interviewer is Alan Saul and he explains the circumstances of his meeting with the Dolphys on his website. The video is a nice document of these warm and supportive parents, their perspective on their son’s personality, his generosity, his commitment to his church, and his optimism.

There are also a few words about practicing:

12:30 Alan Saul: Do you have any ideas what he would advise people, or what advice he could possibly help people on?

Mrs Dolphy: I think he’d tell them to practice, because that’s all he did (laughs). He would get up in the morning before he went to school, say about 4:30 or 5, and practice until it’s almost time to get his breakfast and leave for school. And he’d hurry home to start practicing again, until very late in the evening….

13:19 Alan Saul: Did he mostly just practice scales and exercises?

Mrs Dolphy: Yes, and tone quality. He’d blow one note all day long.

Mr Dolphy: I seen him blow one note on the saxophone for weeks at a time. And I’d be out in the yard working, and I’d go in and say, “There’s no more keys on the saxophone but that one note?” And he’d play and he’d put it on his tape recorder, and he’d listen to it and say, “Dad, it’s got to be right.” And I’d say, “It sounds right to me,” and he’d say, “It’s not right yet.”

Much more Dolphy info at Saul’s website.dolphy11

Scott Reeves/Jay Brandford Tentet at Sir D’s Lounge Monday 10/3 8-11pm

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Scott Reeves and I have a new project together, a tentet featuring our original compositions and arrangements. Come on out to Sir D’s Lounge in Brooklyn and enjoy our music performed by Dave Pietro, Lance Bryant, Jay Brandford (saxes); John Bailey, Andy Gravish (trumpets); Mark Patterson, Scott Reeves (trombones); Roberta Piket (piano), Rusty Holloway (bass); Andy Watson (drums).

Sir D’s Lounge is at 837 Union Street, Brooklyn, in the same location as the old Tea Lounge in Park Slope. The club is presenting large ensemble jazz every Monday 8-11pm