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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Here are a few questions about my recording -

1) Do the 16th note runs sound good or do they sound like they just fill up space?
2) Am I making good use of dynamics?
3) Am I making good use of rhythm?
4) Does it sound like the solo is coherent and moving, or does it sound like different ideas separated by choruses?
5) What is a good computer mic I can buy to make the tone sound less harsh?
6) How does my vibrato sound?
7) What artist do I sound like improv wise (not tone wise)? It doesn't have to be a saxophonist?
8) Any general suggestions?

Here is the first recording - http://www.mediafire.com/?7tt5hfrcnkmaqm4
Here is the second recording after keeping a few suggestions in mind - http://www.mediafire.com/?e9e5a8h8x979hfp
Here's a latin one - http://www.mediafire.com/?dgzij884zyzkk1a

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I made one where the backing track is more visible = http://www.mediafire.com/?n2nda58hn8bn6y4

Here's the latin one = http://www.mediafire.com/?hqlutx2q93cpw9d

I made one of these about a half a year ago. To those who saw those, what do you think of this in comparison to that?
 

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Not going to answer according to your list, but just give you a reaction to what I'm hearing.
The good: Tone is right for this style. Some of the lines were very well played. Occasionally a good confident line. Some of the altissimo notes were excellent with clear screaming tone. Good vibrato when used (sparingly).
The Bad: Timing was off 90% of the time with runs oblivious to the underlying rhythm. Phrases felt like "now I'll do the 16th thing, now I'll do the altissimo, now I'll try some melody", etc.

You have excellent potential but have a big problem with timing/rhythm. Seems like you hear the music, then shut it off and just play at whatever speed you feel like rather than continuing to listen. Then listen again for a beat to start on then go off again at whatever tempo you feel like. If you don't fix this, then it doesn't matter about anything else as it kills the music. You've obviously put tone and technique ahead of rhythm, which is the bedrock of music. I suggest that you either get yourself a very strict teacher, or undertake a rigorous program to take yourself back to basics. You've got some very bad habits that need to be broken or reformed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I know what you mean. Thanks.

I took a second take with some of what you said in mind. I actually tried to make an ending to the solo this time. Did just thinking about it help at all?

I realized what the other problem was, I wasn't getting into it. A lot of times, I think more about scales than I do about the actual music. That's probably where I'm getting lost. Sometimes I'm just into it, sometimes I can sort of will myself into it, but sometimes I can't. I definitely wasn't in it on the first recording. I think I got into it a bit on the second one.
 

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The Latin piece you had fewer rhythm problems with, but it was much slower and you weren’t trying to fit in as many notes. The melody and tone weren't as good though. You definitely need to come to grips with making better recordings as the background was barely heard and you were mostly distorted/overdriven.

The redo of the first piece was interesting. I could hear you trying to fix your timing and rhythm problems, but mainly just concentrated on getting your entry on beat (which was good), but thereafter it sounds like you're just trying to fit in a bunch of notes without reference to the underlying rhythm. As said before this is a very bad habit that needs breaking and is going to take time. That means you need to WORK on what those time divisions are about, not just play a bunch of notes and hope you wind up in the right place. Have you got a metronome? Use it. All notes should fall within a time pattern. These patterns are not the same in terms of easy of playing depending on the key, scale, etc. You need to practice each within specific tempi. If you want to do a fast passage (1/8, 1/16 notes), then it must fall exactly within that tempo. Later this can be modified, but for now it's obvious that you just can't do this. Singing, clapping, and other exercises that involve your body in tempo are good. Do NOT let your fingers dictate according to how fast or slow they can manage a particular manoeuvre. YOU must be in control and within the rhythm. OK? If you can’t hear the problem and/or feel stuck, get a teacher who can help undo your bad habits.
 

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The beat rules. Rhythm is king.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Ok. Thanks. Now that you mentioned it, I do realize what my problem is. When I think of a phrase, I sort of jump to play it, so I think more about playing it than I do about playing it with the rhythm section. Thinking about it helps, but if you say the problem is still there, I guess more work will be involved. Someone suggested that I should play at a slow tempo (60 bmp) to sort of get a better perception of time. I think I'll do that as well.

As for the recordings, I'll try downloading Audacity and syncing the recording with the backing track, but I had problems doing that the last time. I guess I should save up for a better mic as well.

Thanks for the comments.
 

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1) Do the 16th note runs sound good or do they sound like they just fill up space?
If you want to play them, you gotta practice them more, the ideas are great, not just filling up space, but the lines are not tight.
2) Am I making good use of dynamics?
I think, in this style, dynamics is not the first thing I listen for. You play rather loud most of the time, which fits.
3) Am I making good use of rhythm?
Good ideas, but you have to be more "in the pocket".
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I think you are having a lot of fun playing, but maybe you should take a step back and refine all those things you already can do until you can do them really well. Others have already mentioned great ideas. I'd say:
- Listen for the heavy beats in the backing track. You do not always have to accentuate those, but you should be aware of them. That way, you can play TOGETHER with the beat without ever losing it.
- I would leave away the altissimo stuff for now, but that`s just my opinion, because I think there are many far more important things.
- Get a good (if possible, better than you) band to play with, it will be very beneficial
- try not to over-tongue. You are using hard tonguing a lot of times, this can chop up your phrases. Work on being able to tongue as subtly as possible, the tongue only touching the reed gently and very quickly. I see the heavy tongue ("Ta!") as something that is rather used for special effect or expecially rhythmic passages like hits (often together with other instruments) and not as the standard way to tongue. In a funk style, it is used more often, but still, use it wisely.
 
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