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It looks like you’re on the right path.

The articulation sounds harsh to me. Listen to the original recording to learn which notes are tongued and which are slurred. Listen also to how hard each tongued note is started.

I know (from previous posts) that you think a lot about movement. It is apparent that as soon as you start thinking about the notes, you stop moving. I suggest you either become more comfortable with the notes, or don’t force yourself to move.

Be aware of rushing. Songs of a slow tempo are especially easy to rush. Lay back and find the pocket. Listen again to the recording to get a sense of time - when is the player pushing time, when is the player pulling back on time, when is the player sitting right ON time. It might be more obvious to you if you try to sync a click track.

Enjoy!
 

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It was a little joke, but regarding its being in tune, I've played and studied that solo. Your pitch is a little on the lower side. That's O.K. except the core pitch has to sound secure and resonant. I don't hear that you have the core sound mastered yet. And since you're playing on the low end, the lack of support on your notes and low pitch make it sound a little flat. I would continue working on core sound.
 

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Grafton alto | Martin Comm III tenor
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And since you're playing on the low end, the lack of support on your notes and low pitch make it sound a little flat. I would continue working on core sound.
Just like the original :evil:
 

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Ken,

I was going to save some comments for a private message, but I see that you have that blocked.

Be also aware that you seem to be breathing from your chest - vs supporting your tone from the abdomen. One can see that when you inhale and your shoulders rise.

You also seem to be hanging off the end of your mouthpiece. That, too, will tend to make for a smaller sound.
 

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Grafton alto | Martin Comm III tenor
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As you know I often enjoy your videos and you are coming on well with this one.

Be also aware that you seem to be breathing from your chest - vs supporting your tone from the abdomen. One can see that when you inhale and your shoulders rise.
I agree with that totally, so-called diaphragm breathing will be very useful for you.

You also seem to be hanging off the end of your mouthpiece. That, too, will tend to make for a smaller sound.
Now that I respectfully disagree with. It may or may not as I think it is subjective. I do the same on tenor, and although I've been accused of many things, a smaller sound isn't one of them. yet.
 

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Now that I respectfully disagree with. It may or may not as I think it is subjective. I do the same on tenor, and although I've been accused of many things, a smaller sound isn't one of them. yet.
Respect to you, Pete. Please note that I wrote “tend”. While you may have it working for you, it will tend not to work as well for many others.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
thanks, guys.. very helpful! agree with points for rushing, core/resonance/diaphram breathing... thx much :) right dr g re movement, breathing; i'll keep working on it; and slurs/articulation, polishing to more smooth sound... i should alternate listening to original & playing, for nuance..i appreciate the help. i still sound amateurish like high school jazz band vs pro polished deep resonant sound, a bit disappointing after much practice

early version original; he's smooth, less harsh
 

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i should alternate listening to original & playing, for nuance..i appreciate the help. i still sound amateurish like high school jazz band vs pro polished deep resonant sound, a bit disappointing after much practice
A technically challenging piece will expose any deficiencies in technique. A nontechnical piece that's all about tone and feel will expose any weaknesses in those areas. IMO, the most important thing is that you recognize a difference between your sound and the sound of the pro on the original. As long as you know what you're aiming for, you can continue to improve.
 

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Very nice.....

(Sweet Love as well....)
Thanks! Obviously a hobby for me but really fun! I'm not sure if graphicguy is trying to do tunes of this genre- but my idea for the band is to do 80's type "approachable" jazz/R&B type stuff (George Benson, Grover Washington, etc.). He's wise to stick with just saxophone though- trying to do vocals too is kind of stressful!
 

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Graphicguy:

As Dr G points out, you're breathing rather shallow. Saxophone breathing (or any wind instrument or singing) are not the same as breathing to stay alive. You have to use the muscles of the diaphragm to pull in the air quickly and deeply to really get a full, properly supported tone. It's the foundation for your sound. It has to reach the point where it's automatic. I can't speak for you, but I'm 3 1/2 years in and it's almost there. I still work on this with long tones and "rhythmic" breathing. By this I mean taking in a breath at a specific count, like the 4 before the downbeat.

I would suggest picking up some of the Greg Fishman Jazz Phrasing books. Start with book one and Learn one of them. Not the book, just one. Practice until you are indistinguishable from Greg. Why? His style/phrasing/intonation are all impeccable. If you don't have a reference it's easy to go awry. You should be able to play along with it and be right in tune and eventually with all the nuances, like when he starts out his vibrato. This helped out my intonation more than I can express here. My wife hates "Naragansett Ave" because I practiced it so much.

One of the most helpful things for intonation is to sing the part. It doesn't matter how good (or bad) your singing voice is. I have an awkward singing range (bass-baritone) and I change registers about where the octave break is on tenor. Doesn't matter; what matters is that you can sing the note/pitch in tune. This trains your ear/brain combo what intune sounds like. When you're singing you should also be using your "sax breathing". Proper air support improves your singing voice.

Spend time every session practicing with a metronome. After I've "checked the horn" with various noises it's a metronome for long tones, scales and (at the moment) the Klose exercises. You'd be surprised how much progress targeted practice gets you in a relatively short period of time. But it has to be consistent or you won't make the progress.
 

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Is it kind of de rigueur to have to play the intro on the original Sade recording? I've never played this song on a gig, or any Sade song now that I think of it, but if I did I'd almost certainly play something else, hopefully different every time. Might that confuse the singer about when to come in? I play the same lick everyone knows on the intro to At Last for that reason, plus it seems like everyone knows and expects to hear it.
 

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Is it kind of de rigueur to have to play the intro on the original Sade recording?
Yes, mandatory;) Its quite possibly why half of us old geezers started to play sax in the first place, at least those of us who dont blame Raph Ravesnscroft/ Jerry Rafferty
 

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Is it kind of de rigueur to have to play the intro on the original Sade recording?
For me, it was "Yackety Sax" and "Harlem Nocturne". My, how times have changed...

How 'bout some "Round Midnight"?
 

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Thanks! Obviously a hobby for me but really fun! I'm not sure if graphicguy is trying to do tunes of this genre- but my idea for the band is to do 80's type "approachable" jazz/R&B type stuff (George Benson, Grover Washington, etc.). He's wise to stick with just saxophone though- trying to do vocals too is kind of stressful!
Nice idea ! I have, over time, endeavored to do the same with bands in Portland and now here in the desert. Sort of a hybrid band of 70's-80's Jazz Fusion mixed with more familiar but very hip soul/jazz-loungy/R&B tunes from the 60's-90's.

The biggest challenge, as I glean you may be aware of, is finding a full-time singer to sing the stuff. Buy into the concept of the repertoire. Because they have to have experienced at least some of it, and be passionate about it. We have been in the same boat....we have players who can sing it...but the problem is, they are also the instrumentalists in the band and instrumentals are their main thaaang, not being a front singer.

So that has always tripped up the longevity of these projects...the singers only stick around for a while because, generally, they'd rather sing more familiar, and oftentimes what I consider overly-consumed/over-played stuff which they may consider R&B/soul, but ...which doesn't really float the rest of the group's boat all that much....
And while it's not hard to get a horn or rhythm player to buy into a band's repertoire even if their previous familiarity with it was limited.....vocalists.... (shall we say) :|...are different animals altogether. :whistle:

Actually your singing is quite good....but your axe playing is, too....

We should trade repertoire lists sometime...maybe PM me if you like- I would be interested in seeing what your material is. I/we have a list of around 50 tunes, half of those having been performed, the other half just in suggestion/idea mode.

(apologies for digression, OP).
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Graphicguy:

As Dr G points out, you're breathing rather shallow. Saxophone breathing (or any wind instrument or singing) are not the same as breathing to stay alive. You have to use the muscles of the diaphragm to pull in the air quickly and deeply to really get a full, properly supported tone. It's the foundation for your sound. It has to reach the point where it's automatic. I can't speak for you, but I'm 3 1/2 years in and it's almost there. I still work on this with long tones and "rhythmic" breathing. By this I mean taking in a breath at a specific count, like the 4 before the downbeat.

I would suggest picking up some of the Greg Fishman Jazz Phrasing books. Start with book one and Learn one of them. Not the book, just one. Practice until you are indistinguishable from Greg. Why? His style/phrasing/intonation are all impeccable. If you don't have a reference it's easy to go awry. You should be able to play along with it and be right in tune and eventually with all the nuances, like when he starts out his vibrato. This helped out my intonation more than I can express here. My wife hates "Naragansett Ave" because I practiced it so much.

One of the most helpful things for intonation is to sing the part. It doesn't matter how good (or bad) your singing voice is. I have an awkward singing range (bass-baritone) and I change registers about where the octave break is on tenor. Doesn't matter; what matters is that you can sing the note/pitch in tune. This trains your ear/brain combo what intune sounds like. When you're singing you should also be using your "sax breathing". Proper air support improves your singing voice.

Spend time every session practicing with a metronome. After I've "checked the horn" with various noises it's a metronome for long tones, scales and (at the moment) the Klose exercises. You'd be surprised how much progress targeted practice gets you in a relatively short period of time. But it has to be consistent or you won't make the progress.

thx John, good point re breathing; i'm 54 in col spgs down the i25; being up at 6k ft above sea level makes a bit harder breathing; right re metronome / singing; great idea
 

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Just like the original :evil:
🤣 yup!
Yeah, Keep your airstream steady so you can use your tongue to articulate instead of start and stop the flow of air. Keep listening to it and singing it. You’re almost there. Singing it is the key to fixing your phrasing (no books necessar) and intonation. When you’re practicing with the record you have to decide whether you’re going to sound flat and unsupported (like him), or work it up to sound like you keep up your chops.
 
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