12/08/2013 (12 Moons Solo Project Day 342)

12 Moons Solo Saxophone Project Day 342

Date: 12/08/2013

Instrument: Tenor saxophone

Location: Home studio in Clinton, WA (Whidbey Island)


The weather has been bitterly cold the past week, with temperatures climbing barely above freezing during the daytime.  This is very challenging for my reed set-up.  Extreme temperatures effect a reed in a number of ways, but the overall issue lies in the unpredictability of how the reed will play from day to day or even hour to hour.  The reed I played on during a show last night was extremely stuffy and on the stiff side, but this morning the same reed is now extremely bright and light.  I decided to document the current condition of this reed in today’s improvisation.  I used the easy-blowing nature of it to record a quiet piece with recurring melodic themes, and intervalic melodies that featured the clarity of sound in this reed.

While beginning this improvisation, I was struck by a beautiful, open fifths chord made with the following fingering:

(Left Hand) 1-2-3, Octave, Low B // (Right Hand) 2, Low C

This chord used the pitches F# and C# in the upper register, creating a very stable, open-ended chord that I set recurring melodies against.  I moved between bluesy and less tonally defined figures, such as: B-A-F#(chord), B-A#-F#(chord), A-A-F#(chord), or A#-A-F#(chord).  The melodic interruptions around these figures/chord, were played freely, but I was careful not to divert attention for too long away from the primary themes.


The image “The Disappeared” accompanying today’s post  by Antonio Frasconi (1981-88).