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My teacher and Alex are longtime friends, they both played in Jaco's big band back in the early 80s (etc). Alex is staying at his house for a week or two, and I had a 2-hour lesson last night, so it was basically us hanging out in the living room for 30 minutes talking about his history and gear, etc, then an hour+ of getting a 2-headed lesson. A few highlights-

1. He complimented my tone, which was a nice boost.
2. We worked on I'll Remember April. He said he mostly plays by ear and is obviously at the point where he doesn't have to "think" about what to play, it just "comes out". He told me I needed to improve my knowledge of scales, and the faculty at which I can play them.
3. I should be able to play all scales incredibly fast, like almost a glissando. He said this is what Coltrane worked on.
4. He told me to spend 1/3 of my practice time on long tones up and down the entire horn. He liked my tone, but noted that I could benefit from a little more control/command of the horn.
5. He told me to "find the strong notes" of each song and each change in the song. For instance, we were just going change by change in the tune, and he was running a scale over each chord and finding the notes that felt the best over each change. It starts in Amaj, and he liked the Amaj scale running from C#2 up to E3 (as an example).
6. Approach improv like a singer. Use the whole horn, focus on phrases. Use space, don't just play constantly. (these are probably specific to me)

Gear-wise he is on a JL Woodwinds tenor and a Lebayle "prototype" HR mouthpiece. He plays Legere signature reeds (endorser). On alto he's playing RS Berkeley (horn) and a Yani soprano (with HR Link 8).

I'm hoping to tag along with them both tonight to a jam session in town to watch them melt minds. Really cool guy who has played with a LOT of people, not to mention his 25 year history in the SNL band.
 

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LUCKY YOU! And THANKS for passing along this practice info! Good stuff!!
 

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Congrats. Sounds like it was fun. The moments in life where you feel motivated and inspired, are the ones that make the biggest difference. It sounded like this was one of those moments.
 

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My introduction to Alex's playing was probably 1985-ish when I heard him on a Jack DeJohnette album called 'New Directions' which
came out in the late 70's, IIRC . It was Alex, Jack D, John Abercrombie and ... I forget the bass player at the moment.

I really loved Alex's tenor and soprano playing on that date, and was an instant fan .
 

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Discussion Starter #5
My introduction to Alex's playing was probably 1985-ish when I heard him on a Jack DeJohnette album called 'New Directions' which
came out in the late 70's, IIRC . It was Alex, Jack D, John Abercrombie and ... I forget the bass player at the moment.

I really loved Alex's tenor and soprano playing on that date, and was an instant fan .
Such a calming personality to be around, just emanates "cool". He and my teacher are just both masters of their craft, and sometimes I imagine it is difficult to teach someone how to do what you just do innately.
 

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He sounds like a good "concept" teacher. With more time he could break down his overall suggestions into small cells to show you a system to do all this. But obviously you enjoyed it greatly and he hit all the high spots, tone, tech, and musicality. Glad you had the opportunity to hang/take a lesson. K
 

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He sounds like a good "concept" teacher. With more time he could break down his overall suggestions into small cells to show you a system to do all this. But obviously you enjoyed it greatly and he hit all the high spots, tone, tech, and musicality. Glad you had the opportunity to hang/take a lesson. K
For sure, it's tough to get a lot of micro out of one lesson, but my takeaway was to start shedding my scales really hard.

He also played my Borgani, which was a first for him, and he really dug it. He sounded great on it, of course.
 

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Yeah, when I do scales I see where speed is something I have to work toward. my stuff tops out before 144 on most things K
 

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Really good info regarding scales. I think a lot of people learn scales in a pretty static way instead of starting on different chord tones and working their way up (modes).

Brecker built his entire career off of the modes of the major scale with a flat third pretty much (only slight hyperbole).

Also entire range up and down making the turns (at the top and the bottom of the horn) is very important as well.

Awesome experience I'm sure.
 
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