saxophone

A Saxophone shaped Cloud

Written by  on September 10, 2019

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Cloud gazing this summer there was a Saxophone shaped Cloud!!

Some ace shots of Our Party In The City May 17th 2019 at The Arch..all black and white shots taken by www.simonarcherphotography.co.uk

Written by  on June 3, 2019

osc and rosy the one

Andy belfin 3

Kelvin,Dr D and Steve V

Ryan and Dave with Mark and Osc

Blowout Sax Mini Gig
PARTY IN THE CITY
Set List For MAY 17TH 2019.
SET 1 included Students playing tracks like ROCK FORT ROCK by The Skatalites
SHAKE YOUR TAILFEATHER by Ray Charles
SWEET EMMA by Cannonball Adderley
TADOW by Masego
WILL YOU by Hazel O’Connor
NO MAN NO CRY by Jimmy Sax
Mark Knopfler Goin’ Home LOCAL HERO
BAKER STREET…Raf Ravenscroft Gerry Rafferty
ONE STEP BEYOND.. Madness
and the SET 2 was a big and exciting jam on original House dance and reggae tracks which sounded fantastic live and in the moment.

THE ARCH 2019

A man with his skin and skeleton removed showing how the muscle groups work to play a Saxophone from Body World.

Written by  on November 15, 2018

Body world in Amsterdam, it’s a exhibition using real human bodies!
That is actually a man with his skin and skeleton removed showing how the muscle groups work!

sax body

Mr Blowout Sax playing a baritone sax on his forthcoming new House track

Written by  on August 23, 2018

Mr Blowout Sax playing a baritone sax on his forthcoming new House saxtrack for The Binkies

BARI SHOT 1

The latest on Andy Sheppard

Written by  on July 29, 2018

by Nigel McGill

Since the 1980’s ECM artist Andy Sheppard has been one of the UK’s most identifiable saxophonists.
As a composer and saxophonist he has recorded and toured with so many amazing musicians including Gil Evans, George Russell and NEA Jazz Masters Award winner Carla Bley. I caught up with Andy to chat about the approach to learning saxophone that has made him so successful. 

N: So Andy, you came to saxophone quite late. What was the inspiration that got you started?

A: Well, I started in music when I was quite young singing in choirs. So I was always into music, but when I was about 18 I was all set to go to art college. Then I bumped into a jazz musician who turned me onto Miles Davis, Keith Jarrett, Charles Mingus and John Coltrane.

I was aware of Miles Davis and had heard a bit of jazz but I didn’t really know what this music was. Coltrane just blew me away and within 5 minutes I knew I had found my vocation. I thought – that’s the music I had been looking for all my life. I’ve got to play the saxophone.

So I sold everything I owned, bought a saxophone and just started practicing 8 hours a day.

N: Do you remember which albums they were?

A: For Coltrane it was A Love Supreme and Ascension which was really deep. I was also listening to the Charles Mingus albums Changes One and Changes Two. And also Backhand by Keith Jarrett with Charlie Haden. It was totally inspiring for me and an easy decision to make. I figured – I want to make this music. What’s the worst thing that could happen? I could starve, but we’re all going to die eventually, so I figured it was worth having a crack! [laughter]

N: That’s pretty harmonically advanced music for an 18 year old. What was it that grabbed you about those albums?

A: It was Coltrane’s sound and his attitude. I could feel there was no bull about it. It wasn’t trying to be commercial, it was just really deep. It was art, which was what I was heavily into. I could never see the link between art and music until I discovered this music we call jazz. And for me then it was “That’s it, that’s the link!” 

I’m still listening to Coltrane but these days I’m really into his albums from the 50’s as a sideman. I think what he was doing on changes, his melodies and his sound are amazing. There’s inspiration there for all saxophone players.

N: So how did you go about starting to learn to play like that?

A: I would just put on Giant Steps and play along with it. Of course I thought I could get away with it, but it’s only once you start studying that you realise, hang on, this is really deep. It’s like a three dimensional game of chess at rapid speed going on here. 

I started out just using my ears and I guess that’s one of the frustrations of starting saxophone late. You’ve got a lot of catching up to do. I’ve actually never had a music lesson in my life, I’m still building up to my first lesson!

N: Wow, so you’re completely self taught? How did you go about unravelling the mystery of what Coltrane was doing harmonically?

A: Well I guess that was the problem because I was immediately pitching myself against the “Usain Bolt” of saxophone. I was listening to the best guys in history. I would record myself and realise I was right in the foothills of the mountain that these guys are at the top of. When you’re starting out that’s a really tough thing to get your head around.

I realised that there’s no shortcut. It’s just hard work. You’ve got to play those long tones and work on your harmonics every day, practice your scales inside out. And I’m still practicing every day. There’s always work to be done, things to discover.

“If you can sing through your instrument you’ll be making music.”
Essentially though, it’s not a competition. It’s important to think of playing like singing through the saxophone. It’s the same for every instrument. If you can sing through your instrument you’ll be making music. The more you practice, the wider your ears open and the more possibilities are available to you.

N: You have recorded and performed with so many amazing musicians. Is that something you set out to do from the start?

A: I think one of the things about being a musician is playing with other musicians. There’s this chemistry that goes on, and that is taken one step further with the audience. Everyone connects in that moment you are making music. I was immediately playing in all kinds of different bands, that’s one of the great things about being a saxophone player. It’s very easy to do, you just take your horn along and sit in with people.

I knew the kind of music I wanted to make and so I practiced really hard, and then put myself in situations where things would happen. I went to London, and on to Paris. I played on the street, I met people and got gigs. You make contacts and things start to happen. Also, I took every opportunity that came along.

I was lucky that I got to travel a lot and eventually got a record deal. I guess the formula is what you put in is what you get out. If you’re putting all that love and work into your playing then eventually the phone does go and things happen.

I’m always playing in challenging situations with incredible musicians. I’ve got one coming up this week with Ginger Baker (and I’m dreading it!)

Over the years I’ve been really fortunate to have long associations with some amazing players like Carla Bley, Steve Swallow, Gil Evans. I’ve also been busy with my own projects. All I ever really wanted to be was a saxophone player but to survive you have to compose, you have to travel and you have to collaborate with other players.

N: You have such a wonderful, identifiable style Andy. How do you go about developing your own sound when it’s so different to other players?

A: I have always wanted to be an artist with my music and I’m inspired by people who have that approach – guys like John Coltrane, Joe Henderson. It’s a natural approach which is really about trying to be yourself.

For me sound is the most important thing. Inevitably you won’t be happy with your own sound, just like we generally don’t like the sound of our own voices when we talk. But, the turning point I think is when you realise that the sound you are making is “you”. You need to work on that sound rather than trying to sound like Michael Brecker or whoever.

N: So how do you go about working on that?

A: I think it comes down to practice. I think every player should get the Sigurd Rascher book on harmonics – Top Tones for Saxophone. You’ll never get to the end of that book. I bought it 30 years ago and I’m still on page 6!

N: Me too!

A: If you work from that book, your sound will start to come together. Of course you also need to get your mouthpiece sorted so it suits you, your reed working, and also the right combination of mouthpiece, reed and ligature. It’s a real dilemma.

I’ve just developed this mouthpiece with Morgan Fry and I love it. I don’t understand what it is that makes one better than another – it’s voodoo but it makes all the difference for me.

N: Have you got certain exercises that you like to work on?

A: I think spending a quarter of an hour a day working through those “Top Tones” exercises is essential but I also play through ballads and tunes. I’m studying and learning all the time. Right now I’m learning a bunch of Ornette Coleman tunes. They’re fantastic. 

You’ve got to be yourself and develop your own personality on the instrument otherwise you’ll never get started. Miles Davis famously said “don’t play the note you know, play the note you don’t know.” All these musicians though have a line running through their work that they studied. They have their foundation skills together, their sound, their tuning and reading. I don’t believe you can just pick up a saxophone and start playing. It’s all about hard work, but you’ll be rewarded for that.

Andy’s Gear

Tenor Saxophone: Andy Sheppard Autograph Series tenor with a Autograph series mouthpiece by Morgan Fry.
“I’m so proud of this saxophone. It has taken a long time to develop but the end result is amazing.”

Soprano: Yanagisawa Solid silver one piece soprano. I was previously using a Selmer Mark VI but I found it a bit challenging with the tuning up top. 

Reeds: Andy is a D’Addario artist and uses Rico Royal size 3 reeds on tenor and soprano.

Andy is touring the UK to promote his latest ECM release “Surrounded by Sea”. Tickets and information

The Andy Sheppard mouthpiece is now available in 7* and 10* from www.sax.co.uk

www.andysheppard.co.uk 

BATH FESTIVAL’S ‘PARTY IN THE CITY’ at The Blowout Sax School 2018

Written by  on June 5, 2018

AT THE ARCH BLOG
Lyndon playing Hazel O’Connor’s Will You on front of a captivated audience.

A JOYOUS soiree of live music chez The Arch at Blowout Sax with a full house and some excellent performances ..
The First set was many of the sax classics..
Blowout Sax Mini Gig
PARTY IN THE CITY
Set List For MAY 18TH 2018.

SET 1 7.20pm
1. LAST NIGHT… The MARKAYS
2. SWEET HOME CHICAGO..BLUES BROS
3. PINK PANTHER.. HENRY MANCINI
4. SASSIE LASSIE..LOU DONALDSON
5. CAN’T MAKE YOU LOVE ME.. CANDY DULFER
6. LATE NIGHT SPIRITUAL. ARCHER MAYO
7. WILL YOU..HAZEL O’CONNOR
8. DIKALO.. MANU DIBANGO
9. PETER GUNN..DUANE EDDY
10. FOOD FOR THOUGHT…UB40
11. ONE STEP BEYOND blowout version.. MADNESS AND LEE KIX THOMPSON
12 .BAKER STREET…RAF RAVENSCROFT AND GERRY RAFFERTY

THEN at Half time Bath Guitar School sung three songs

Was some entertaining SET 2 DANCE REGGAE..Jammers 8.30

1. Lanea Kyoto .. Adam Callum Chris Siggery Rosie
2. Melodic loop Chris Siggery Rosie Callum
3. What I say.. Rosie
4. Blazo Green.. Cosmo
5. Je Vous Adore. Cosmo
6 Bubble reggae..Rosie Sarah Ollie Boston Lyndon Callum Prof Steve Vick
7. Simple Goals.. Prof Adam Lyndon Andy C Belfin.
8. Big Heart.. Ollie Boston Lyndon Callum Prof Steve Vick
9. BIG JAM Gypie Mayo REGGAE all stars.. all in plus Boo

PLEASE BE READY AND BY THE STAGE A SONG BEFORE YOU ARE PLAYING…….
RELAX AND ENJOY YOURSELVES

Another very soon

Sixty Seconds To Play That Sax -Blowout Sax Student Tracy

Written by  on November 20, 2017

Sixty Seconds To Play That Sax
Mr Blowout Sax – Mark Archer
Mark Archer has been teaching the Saxophone for some 27+ years at his studio on North Parade. During this time Mark would estimate some over a thousand students have visited his studio.
So, who are these loyal students? Let’s find out in Sixty Seconds.
Tell me your name and where you come from.
Tracy Bousfield, from Cambridgeshire. I have lived in Bath since 2006.

What do you do for a living?
I am a professional beauty therapist and I work in the city as a counter manager for a leading skincare company.

How long have you been a student at Blowout Sax?
Just over two years.

What made you choose Blowout Sax?
I was drawn to the fact that the website said that anyone could play the sax and that Mark had a revolutionary way of teaching it.
I also found Mark on YouTube where he has a series of videos to show you how to play and what the notes are.https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCbCrwF4wZUaRC1AZhF2aWiA

Why did you choose to play the Saxophone?
It was something that I wanted to do some years ago, but found that it was expensive to buy a saxophone so that put me off. For some reason, I wanted to have a saxophone as an ornament and did an eBay search to see how much I could get one for. I was drawn to an auction more because what the seller had written about the saxophone which they were selling. The owner had said that it had been in his attic for the last ten years. He had bought the sax from an American fighter pilot from World War II. I love anything like that and new I had to win it. I won it.
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What tune are you learning to play at the moment?
Last time I saw Mark I hadn’t done my homework as normal! So, we just jammed around with some pop tunes, 1000 years – Christina Perry, Make you feel my love – Adele and Don’t know why – Nora Jones. It was my first time playing Norah Jones and I really liked it so I have managed to practice it!
What is your favourite tune?
It has to be Baker’s Street.I played this on stage.

HELEN BLOWOUT SAX GIG

I like solo’s – George Michael’s Careless whisper, Will You – Hazel O’Connor,Lily was here – Candy Dulfer
Who is your favourite musician?
Jon Bon Jovi. I was a rock chick and still am. He just does it for me. His lyrics are amazing.
Do you perform in public/busk?
No. I’m far too shy for that and I can’t remember the music without my notes!

How often and how long do you practice?
Not often enough. When I wasn’t working I could just pick up the sax all the time, but now I have a full-time job its harder, especially getting in at night as I don’t want to annoy the neighbours with my playing.
What advice would you give to beginners who are nervous?
Just do it. Mark doesn’t make you feel like you’re a beginner. By the end of your first lesson he has got you playing a tune. You don’t even need your own saxophone as he has some that you can play until you are sure that you want to own your own.