Notable woodwind doubler Buddy Collette, known for his skill and artistry as a jazz saxophonist, flutist, clarinetist, and composer, passed away on Sunday. Check out the Los Angeles obituary, or, even better, enjoy his flute and tenor:
Tip of the hat to Eric at jazz-sax.com for bringing this sad news to my attention.
A few years back, I started compiling a little list of Broadway-style shows and their woodwind books—the printed parts the woodwind players use in the orchestra pits. It has since grown wildly out of control to over 900 shows and has firmly cemented itself as the most popular thing on this website. Many of my visitors—from top Broadway musicians to community theater weekend warriors—contribute to the list by sending in information from the trenches.
Over the last few months, I’ve hosted two versions of the list, and solicited feedback about the newer version versus the classic edition. Thanks to all of you who took the time to test drive the new version and submit some comments.
The feedback showed an overwhelming preference for the new version, which as of today is replacing the old one. It adds some extra functionality, most notably a search bar, and will also load faster for most users. It includes links to search for soundtrack albums for each show on iTunes and Amazon—I hope that this will be a convenience for some users and not an undue hassle to others; it provides a revenue stream which, while pitifully tiny, nevertheless helps to keep this website going.
I’m pleased to share some audio clips from my recent faculty recital at Delta State University.
It was the first evening concert of the new semester, so a nice crowd of students came to start accumulating their recital attendance points, as well as colleagues, friends, and community members. No one seemed daunted by the prospect of a solid hour of Debussy.
I enjoyed playing the flute Syrinx, clarinet Première Rapsodie, and saxophone Rapsodie, all of which I had studied in school but never performed publicly. The brief and charming clarinet Petite Pièce was new to me, and seemed to be a crowd favorite. I rounded out the recital with some of Debussy’s piano works, arranged for oboe and piano and for bassoon and piano. It works well for me to play all of the reed instruments on a recital, because that gives all my reed-playing students something to sink their teeth into, and the fabulous Dr. Shelley Collins was very gracious about me playing a flute piece on her turf. You can read my program notes here.
Having learned a couple of things from the last recital, I warmed up a little more extensively this time, and also brought in a space heater to keep my instruments warm backstage in the icy air conditioning. Both of these things seemed to help make the evening go more smoothly. One new experiment for me was the use of a bassoon harness, so I played that instrument standing up for the first time in public.
Well, it looks like we’re going to have to wait a while longer for a woodwind player on the US’s highest court. Oboist Diane Wood, previously a candidate for the Supreme Court vacancy, has been passed over in favor of newly-confirmed Elena Kagan. I’m sure that, despite her presumably total inability to play the oboe, she will serve her nation well.
I posted last week about Diane Wood, the federal judge and oboist who is a candidate to fill a soon-to-be vacant seat on the US Supreme Court. (Unsurprisingly, Patty Mitchell, prolific blogger and online curator of all things oboe-related, also picked up the story.)
The oboe isn’t just an instrument; it’s a way of life. … Playing the oboe means living your life entirely at the mercy of tiny wooden double reeds that crack at inopportune moments (weirder and more awful yet, you’re supposed to make them yourself as though you were a 19th century artisan). It also means blowing so hard into them that you risk a brain aneurysm every time you try to hit a high D. It also means you’re a huge nerd.
Federal judge and oboist Diane Wood is reportedly under consideration to fill a Supreme Court vacancy.
Wood has demonstrated a willingness to challenge her fellow jurists without offending, say lawyers and clerks who have observed her in court. Those attributes may be an asset as President Barack Obama considers her to replace retiring Justice John Paul Stevens on an often-divided U.S. Supreme Court…
Wood, 59, who plays oboe in the Chicago Bar Association Symphony Orchestra, was one of four people interviewed by Obama last year before he picked Sotomayor.
At this point it’s gotten hard for me to imagine doing a full recital on a single instrument. I enjoy getting to play several, and audiences seem to enjoy the variety. And since this was my first faculty recital at my new gig, I wanted each of my students to hear me perform something from the core repertoire of their instrument.
I would like, ultimately, to be able to put together a full recital of woodwind pieces without making any special concessions for the fact that I am playing multiple instruments. In this case I did play it a little on the safe side: I chose a program that was not overwhelmingly technical, and I programmed something short of an hour’s worth of music so that I could take a few extra minutes between pieces.
One note-to-self for next time: I experienced a few onstage symptoms of not being thoroughly warmed up on each instrument (water in oboe toneholes, low note response issues on bassoon). I purposefully avoided playing too much on the day of the recital, but I think I can find a better balance the next time around.
A more poignant aspect of this year’s conference was the conspicuous absence of Dr. Kenneth Fischer, my former saxophone teacher and the intended conference host. After Dr. Fischer’s very untimely passing a few months ago, many among the NASA leadership made extra efforts to ensure that the conference went on as planned. Surely not the least among these was Dr. Stephen Fischer, Kenneth Fischer’s son, my old classmate, and a brilliant saxophonist in his own right. I noted that the conference program read:
Dr. Kenneth Fischer
Dr. Stephen Fischer
I was in attendance Thursday through Saturday (the conference began on Wednesday). It’s such a big conference that lots of things are going on at once, and there’s no way to get to everything. But here are a few events that I caught that were highlights for me: