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It only took 30+ years but I think I have it working. I first saw someone do this when I was in High School and of course the great Kenny G has this figured out. Yes it can be a bit of a gimmick and of course I intend to use it that way as well. However, I was at a Kirk Whalum clinic many years ago and he just uses circular breathing as normal breathing. So smooth - his need to breath didn't interrupt whatever phrase he was putting together. So I finally starting working it out.

At the same clinic was Pedro Saxo another master of circular breathing doin' his thing. Inspiring but somewhat overwhelming. If you want to put circular breathing in your tool box. Check out Pedro's video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rgssLKHFMdY
 

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Thanks for turning me on to Pedro's video. I'ts the best circular breathing video I have come across.
Working on it now.
 

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It only took 30+ years but I think I have it working. I first saw someone do this when I was in High School and of course the great Kenny G has this figured out. Yes it can be a bit of a gimmick and of course I intend to use it that way as well. However, I was at a Kirk Whalum clinic many years ago and he just uses circular breathing as normal breathing. So smooth - his need to breath didn't interrupt whatever phrase he was putting together. So I finally starting working it out.

At the same clinic was Pedro Saxo another master of circular breathing doin' his thing. Inspiring but somewhat overwhelming. If you want to put circular breathing in your tool box. Check out Pedro's video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rgssLKHFMdY
Was it in Syracuse? Cabo Frio? I saw that group play in the 80's somewhere in central NY and they did a song called 'Hold that Note". The sax player held a note for what seemed like forever. Walked around the bar, into the bathroom, outside, then cam back and finished the song. I was amazed. You can hear him do it at the 2:39 mark. It was cool to a high school kid that is for sure. You can hear the note varying in intonation while he's hold. I find playing fast while doing it actually easier than just holding one note.

 

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Discussion Starter #5
This had to be a guy named Terrance Bruce from Rochester. I saw him do this a couple times when I first moved to Syracuse. It’s one of those ‘you had to be there’ moments.

Was it in Syracuse? Cabo Frio? I saw that group play in the 80's somewhere in central NY and they did a song called 'Hold that Note". The sax player held a note for what seemed like forever. Walked around the bar, into the bathroom, outside, then cam back and finished the song. I was amazed. You can hear him do it at the 2:39 mark. It was cool to a high school kid that is for sure. You can hear the note varying in intonation while he's hold. I find playing fast while doing it actually easier than just holding one note.

 

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This had to be a guy named Terrance Bruce from Rochester. I saw him do this a couple times when I first moved to Syracuse. It’s one of those ‘you had to be there’ moments.
Haha! Yeah, that's his name. I also saw Don Menza do it at Syracuse University in the 80s. The difference was that Don Menza played like 7 million notes while he was circular breathing.........
 

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I had actually mastered this back in HS/college, and then during a hiatus from playing for a few years, totally lost it.
I have been working (unsuccessfully) to get back to where I was ~25 years ago on this. This may help, thanks!
 

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I don't want to dishearten you but for me seeing Don Menza kinda of sidetracked me from wanting to circular breath. He played a cadenza for a long time during that performance but what I learned from that performance even in high school was that music sounds better with space, phrasing, breath and reflection. I had no passion to pursue it after that. I could do it but by that point I didn't see the point or like the results. After seeing Don Menza I decided I didn't want to do it. Just saying.........
 

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I don't want to dishearten you but for me seeing Don Menza kinda of sidetracked me from wanting to circular breath. He played a cadenza for a long time during that performance but what I learned from that performance even in high school was that music sounds better with space, phrasing, breath and reflection. I had no passion to pursue it after that. I could do it but by that point I didn't see the point or like the results. After seeing Don Menza I decided I didn't want to do it. Just saying.........
This^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Use the force for good. If the audience can tell that you are using circular breathing, then you are just showboating.
 

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I’m sorry, but Kenny G’s pitch drops at least a quarter tone everytime he circular breathes. He definitely doesn’t have it mastered!!!
 

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I once saw John Surman perform an amazing 14-minute bass clarinet number on a single breath at the Montreal Jazz Festival. His face was beet red by the end, and the audience gave him an ovation. Paul Bley was on piano.
 

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This^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Use the force for good. If the audience can tell that you are using circular breathing, then you are just showboating.
For many genres a bit of live showboating adds to the entertainment value...Like any good gimmick though - once is usually enough.

My problem for years was (and still sometimes is) playing too much. Everytime I find myself out of breath, the playback indicates I really should have more musical, and less frantic. The past few years have have seen me playing a lot fewer notes with substantially better results.
 

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I once saw John Surman perform an amazing 14-minute bass clarinet number on a single breath at the Montreal Jazz Festival. His face was beet red by the end, and the audience gave him an ovation. Paul Bley was on piano.
Wow John Surman, seen him a few times when he played with the Michael Gibbs band in the UK. Great on Soprano. Haven't heard much about him this side of the pond.
 

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I first heard circular breathing at a clinic with the great Clark Terry back in the 70s. He just used it as a part of his technique. Man, what a great flugelhorn sound he had!
I still have problems going from my cheeks back to the airflow. I don't really need to do it.
 

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For many genres a bit of live showboating adds to the entertainment value...Like any good gimmick though - once is usually enough.

My problem for years was (and still sometimes is) playing too much. Everytime I find myself out of breath, the playback indicates I really should have more musical, and less frantic. The past few years have have seen me playing a lot fewer notes with substantially better results.
This thread amuses me. One of the chronic problems with keyboard or guitar players is the never-ending phrase. The cure? Them them to break the phrase at the end of a breath. All of a sudden, they start to edit their phrases, and their phrasing becomes more natural.

Breathing. It’s a good thing.


BTW, I use circular breathing for playing the didgeridoo - there, it is effective to establish a drone.
 

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F.S. Didgeridoo. $25 plus shipping from V1E 1B9.:bluewink:
 

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I still have problems going from my cheeks back to the airflow. I don't really need to do it.
That's where the "circular" comes in. For me, it's like when I'm doing the cheek pressure and inhaling through my nose, I get the distinct feeling that the air flow is circling back from my nose then coming up from the back of my mouth. Right at the top of that circular peak is when I retighten my gut that seems to get it over the hump without breaking.

Only with one of my groups would I dare do it to showboat... and when not overused, a crowd can really get into it. The rest of the band too. But it's also very helpful with my brass band gigs when I get caught playing long phrases into a sustained note and can just keep going.
 
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