Soprano Sax and Art Opening

I recently bought a new soprano sax. I’ve been looking for one for a long time. You can often get a good deal on a used instrument but you have to be willing to search and to wait.

The horn was from Roberto Winds, just about the last music store in the historic music district in midtown Manhattan. They’re a third-floor walkup and the space also has a bunch of practice rooms. Roberto himself makes beautiful high-end saxophones that are quite reasonably priced, at least compared to Selmers. But they’re still pretty pricey for your second or third horn. Fortunately they also do a brisk trade in used saxes, particularly old Mark VI’s, and they list part of their inventory on their web site.

I tried out about four horns and ended up getting a used intermediate model Yamaha, about ten years old but barely played. Lovely tone, intonation and balance. It’s a one-piece model without a separate neck. I also played one of Roberto’s horns as well as a pro-level Yamaha from the 1980’s. Both were better horns than the one I ended up getting, but were twice the price. For that extra money you get lots of amazing engraving on the bell, plus one level up terms of tone and intonation, that smooth silk-butter-cognac sound like my tenor has.

Ah well, the horn I got still very good, much better than my old soprano. While I was at it I got a new mouthpiece too, and Otto Link.

Only a few days later I got a chance to try it out. I had a gig at an art gallery in Hasting called The Square Peg. It was an opening for a painter named Jerzy Kubina who does these large, bold yet subtle, semi-abstract canvases. Great balance of color and tone, dark and light, very suggestive but not quite figurative, really amazing stuff. The band set up in front of a giant mural in this beautiful bright space, a perfect setting.

The band was my friend Charlie on guitar and Ed from the Ossining gig in July on drums, and this dude Joel on bass. We did a mixture of standards and Charlie’s originals. We were going to do one of my songs too, but we ran out of time. The band sounded really good, everyone’s playing was really on, and the crowd was enthusiastic and appreciative. The gallery owners were really nice people too. I hope to go back sometime.

David Levitt Running for US Senate

From time to time I give a shout out to my friends’ (usually art or software) projects, but here is something much more important. My friend, colleague and former professor David Levitt is running for US Senate as a progressive candidate in the state of California. David is one of the smartest people I’ve ever met, forward-thinking, outspoken, principled, charismatic and warm-hearted. He’s a Silicon Valley entrepreneur, and among his accomplishments are contributions to the development of virtual reality, interactive music and social media. He’s also activist, founding director of OccupyGovernment.org and founding member of BeYourGovernment.org. We need more people like him in government. Go David, good for you!

I no longer live in California, so I can’t vote for him, but if you do, you can! And no matter where you live, you can contribute to his campaign or to OccupyGovernment.org.

News article on David Levitt’s candidacy:
http://current.com/groups/news-blog/93679257_citizen-candidate-to-challenge-dianne-feinstein-in-senate-race.htm

Interview with David:
http://bcove.me/53w95j2b

Links to orgs:
http://occupygovernment.org
http://beyourgovernment.org

And of course his campaign home page:
http://www.levitt2012.org