I am absolutely thrilled, honored, and incredibly excited to share that I am now an endorsing artist for the B.A.C. (Best American Craftsman) company based out of Kansas City, MO (USA)! Mike Corrigan and the staff at B.A.C. do an amazing job creating some of the best brass instruments in the world. Everything is done in their shop in Kansas City and is handmade with the finest craftsmanship and detail.
I met Mike and a few of his staff at NAMM 2017 (National Association of Music Merchants) in Anaheim, California in January. It didn’t take long for me to fall in love with just about every trumpet they had at their booth. I was the guy that kept trying their trumpets, went away and tried others, and then kept coming back like a lost puppy. After some conversation in Anaheim and later over the phone; I officially joined the family! It is an honor to be on the same roster as great musicians like Delfeayo Marsalis, Kenny Rampton, Kevin Williams, Jim Pugh, Michael Ray, Paul Nowell, Marcus Lewis, and a host of others.
Be sure to check out B.A.C’s website at CoolIsBac
To see Jason’s other Endorsements click Here.
Klobnak joins the Denis Wick family! I am absolutely thrilled, honored, and incredibly excited to share that I am now an endorsing artist! Denis Wick (London) makes some of the best mouthpieces, mutes, and accessories for brass players around. While I have been performing and recording with the Denis Wick adjustable cup mute for almost 20 years, I have never had the opportunity to really check out their mouthpieces until January of 2017.
I met Mary and a few other Wick artists at NAMM 2017 (National Association of Music Merchants) in Anaheim, California in January. I had the pleasure of trying out a few of their mouthpieces and there was an instant comfort, yet familiarity that I fell in love with. I have made the switch over to the American Classic 3C (and Classic 3E when I need something a little brighter) and they keep surprising me every time I put them in my trumpet. I can color the sound, yet still have the comfort and endurance to make it through an entire night of R&B/Soul music without feeling shot the next day. I would gladly recommend any of the fine Denis Wick products to students and colleagues.
So, I have officially joined the family! It is an honor to be on the same roster as so many great musicians that perform all types of brass instruments.
Be sure to check out Denis Wick’s North American site at DANSR.COM
I’m incredibly excited to share that I am officially joining the Westone family! While the in-ear monitor and hearing protection community is familiar with them (you should check out their artist roster-it’s a “who’s who” of the musician world), this is from their About Us section on their website:
Established in 1959, Westone Laboratories has more than 55 years of experience delivering premium in-ear solutions for critical listening applications. Westone is the largest manufacturer of custom ear pieces in the world and was the first to design and manufacture a balanced armature driver earphone. With hearing healthcare and music specialists on our research and production teams, Westone invented the most ergonomic monitor design which provides the most comfortable, best fitting and quietest earphones on the market. The largest names in music turn to Westone in-ear monitors for on-stage use, just as U.S. Air Force fighter pilots depend on Westone’s ACCES® in-ear communications system for mission-critical noise isolation, hearing protection and two-way communication. It is our experience, our products, and our people that make Westone The In-Ear Experts®.
I’m a proud user of the Tru Customs and the ES20 custom in-ears (both pictured below). The Tru Customs are perfect for everything I play from small group Jazz (especially in a loud room) to louder amplified bands where the sound team doesn’t have capability to run a line for my ES20‘s.
I have the size 20 filters which reduces overall down to 13dB. If I ever want to raise or lower that filtration I can get different filters that range from 25 down to 10. The ES20‘s are AMAZING. When I went to get the molds, my rep didn’t try to up-sell me to something I didn’t need. The ES20‘s are a dual-driver system. The clarity is exceptional and the fit is spot on. I really love their Flex Canal technology. A body temperature-reactive, semisoft earpiece canal additive that stays firm at room temperature for ease of insertion and then softens at body temperature, allowing increased comfort and acoustic seal for incredible noise isolation.
I would highly recommend that you check out Westone for your hearing protection and IEM’s. Not just because I’m officially an endorsing artist now, but because the products and service are worth it!
I am incredibly honored and excited to share a Genius Jamtracks Review. A relatively new app that I believe will absolutely help you with your improvisations. I was recently approached by the creators of this app, Dimitris Neonakis and Antonis Tsikandilakis to check out their new app which is the first polyrhythmic play-along. Many of you know that with my students I already highly recommend using iReal, Drumgenius, and other apps for practice. When they mentioned the word polyrhythm I was instantly intrigued. While I play some piano (not at all to the degree to be taking Jazz gigs); I am mainly a trumpet player. Getting together with a rhythm section to work out ideas over shifting rhythms isn’t something I get to do on a regular basis. To be honest, this is one of the areas that I probably lack the most and spend time working on alone. However, this app allows you to work that out whenever you want.
The below is from the Genius Jamtracks:
“Polyrhythms, long part of the jazz vocabulary, were consolidated and brought to a whole new level in the early 60s by the masters of that era and are a core element of contemporary jazz improvisation and composition. Genius Jamtracks is the first polyrhythmic play-along. This interactive and great sounding app offers an easy way to get you from basic four bar chord progressions to the most advanced of Jazz songs.
Genius Jamtracks lets you:
1) Edit each instrument by clicking on it. You can have the bass play quarter note triplets
while the drums play in double time and the piano 4 over 3, or any other polyrhythm you might encounter in this genre
2) Add as many choruses as you want to the song and treat each one individually
3) Treat each section of the song separately: e.g. if the song form is AABA you can choose different events for each of the 4 sections
4) View chord charts and the selected polyrhythms map (for all instruments and sections of the song) at the same time
5) Transpose any track to any key / Adjust the tempo to fit your practice needs / Mix to your liking or mute any of the instruments
6) Randomize your selections either for one section or the whole arrangement and work on your interaction skills
7) Follow through the changes in polyrhythms using the map showing under the chord chart
8) Turn the metronome on/off, from the quick access button, when in need of a checkpoint”
I have had the opportunity to use this app over the past couple of days and I am genuinely impressed and find it incredibly useful. This is a big part of why I wanted to do a Genius Jamtracks Review. The sounds are as realistic, rhythms are on point (from the default core groove to the 8 different metric modulations and polyrhythms contained in the app), and the various exercises and standards are a great tool to work out these ideas. Because the app is still in its early stages (December 2016) there are only a few limitations like a smaller library of standards and not being able to input your own charts (similar to iReal). However, I’m sure as time marches on some of those capabilities might be added. It is still VERY much worth the $7.99 asking price.
I am going to continue working with this app to help solidify my own internal metric modulations. One exercise I have already started using is taking my Targeting: Improvisation With Purpose book and using the Altered Dominant/Diminished targeting exercise over All the Things You Are with the “3 quarter note pattern.” It’s challenging and fun!
To check out more of the app (including a Youtube video review below by the incredible Jazz pianist, Jean-Michel Pilc) you can go to their Facebook page HERE.
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If you were like me and thought, “I don’t need to see any more, send me to the download page!” You can click on the image below. If you would like to try the exercise I listed above, be sure to grab my book by clicking on the other link. I hope you enjoy this app as much as I am!
If you have followed this blog and have purchased Breaking the Monotony I wanted to share a Drumgenius App Review I recently downloaded. It is called Drumgenius v1.4 by the guys at Projazz Lab. For the record, I was NOT asked to do a review of this app. However, I did want to let you know about the app and how it can be used to enhance your jazz improvisational studies (whether you are a drummer or not). I strongly believe this app can be a powerful resource for my students and use it in both the Modern Jazz Trumpet Routine and my Targeting Master Class.
Drumgenius v1.4 is made for the iPhone and Android based operating systems so it wont matter what type of smart phone you prefer. The app contains (at the time of this writing) around 300 different styles of drum loops that sound great and have a number of applications that you could use. Loop styles range from Afro-Cuban, Brazilian, Funk, all types of jazz (straight and swung) and odd meters. For drummers, you can play along with each loop to not only get the feel, but work on timing and groove. For other musicians, it gives you the opportunity to work with a drummer anywhere you have your phone.
You can work on timing, rhythmic creativity and phrasing. For those that have Breaking the Monotony, this app can be especially helpful because a number of the loops come with an option to include the clave pattern over the loop! You can use a number of different loops as a practice aid with just about every chapter in Breaking the Monotony (or Targeting: Improvisation With Purpose)! Another great benefit (especially for someone like me who is not a drummer) is you get proper names and a short history of the drum loop. As a composer I now have a resource to say, “Oh yeah…that is the drum groove I am wanting for this section on my chart. I always wanted to know what that was called!”
To get a feel of what it looks and sounds like, below is their video found on their website as well as Youtube (the video is below).
The app itself is free to download. Along with the app you get 3 free loop downloads that come with the app. You can purchase 3 levels of loop downloads in their app store. The first is 10 loops, 50 loops or infinite (which is all 300 loops or any new updates they have in the future). I did not catch the prices for the first 2 levels because I went straight for the infinite option. It was $9.99. For the iPhone, the app also works in the background so you can continue to use your phone for other features while still listening to the loop.
Since I have made this app purchase I have been using it in my daily jazz practice and have been thrilled with the benefits. There is something to playing duets with a drummer that help an improviser’s time, phrasing and rhythmic creativity. Now I can work on those whenever I have my horn and phone. Overall I give this app 5 stars!
I mentioned a little while ago that I wanted to do a review on a pair of IEM‘s (in-ear monitors) that I received back in September. Now that I’ve had them for a while, I wanted to let others know about my experience and do an Alien Ears IEM review.
Disclaimer: I was not asked by this company to do this review. I’m doing this because I hope my experience might be beneficial to others who are in the market for IEM’s. (**2016 Update. As of 2016, I am currently a Westone Endorsed Artist and recommend you check out THIS PAGE for more info**)
I’ve used in-ear monitors in the past. My experience with them included Shure’s SE line, Westone UM1, Apple’s ear buds and a pair of Brookstone dual-drive ear buds. Believe it or not, my favorite of those listed above was the Brookstone dual-drive ear buds. They fit my ears the best, were the most comfortable and had the best dynamic range.
However, this review is on the Alien Ears G8 which is my first experience with custom molded in-ear monitors. I did some research on different companies comparing their products, prices and reviews. For the budget I had-I decided to go with Alien Ears. I have not heard of them before, but wanted to give them a try. I was impressed that they were offering a quad-driver (or 4 speakers per ear for those that aren’t sure what a driver means) for $550 at the time of my purchase. This included a case, detachable 72 1/2″ (& a free replacement cord) cleaning tool, custom color and logo imprinted on the monitors. That price also included a molding kit (you can watch their mold instructional here).
For more information on the specs of these particular monitors I’ve included a shot from their webpage that outlines what it contains:
I had my wife help me with the mold to make sure I was getting the compound all the way in as they instructed. It was easy and pain-free. I shipped the molds back to Alien Ears and they responded back within a week saying the molds looked good and I should receive my in-ears in 4 to 6 weeks. It took about 5 weeks for them to be completed. I filled out the forms to decide on my monitor color, cord color and what I wanted imprinted on the monitors and case.
I picked them up during my lunch hour and wanted to try them out right away. I went to my studio and plugged them. I was definitely pleased!
Everything that I expected based off of experience and reviews was there. These monitors have a great dynamic range. The lows are present, but not overbearing. The mid’s have a balanced richness and the high’s give great definition without being unpleasant.
Below is a closeup shot of my left monitor:
Besides struggling to get them out of my ear (it’s not as easy as just pulling out an ear bud), I was enjoying them. However, after about a week or so into receiving them I kept having problems with my left monitor. The G8’s have a detachable cord option so you can change them out when the cord goes bad. The left monitor’s cord kept falling out in the middle of using them during performances. At first I thought it was the original cord so I tried changing it out for the backup. That didn’t work either.
I called Alien Ears and talked with their customer service department. They were very helpful and told me that it sounded like in the final buffering process some of the compound got into the port where the cord connects. I needed to send them in to be sure, though. I’ll be honest, at first I was a little upset that I needed to send them back in so soon after getting them. But being impressed with everything up to that point, I didn’t let that get to me.
I sent the monitors back in and had them returned within 2-3 weeks. I’ve had them back for the past month or so and have yet to have a problem. That sound great and I’ve been using them for loud gigs and other performances where in-ear monitors work nicely. If you’re looking at trying some in-ear monitors (custom molds or buds), I would highly recommend looking into Alien Ears!
Thank you for taking the time to read this blog/post. If you would like to learn more about my online school you can go here.