Oct / Nov 2006

March 16, 2007

Berklee Appointee Reasoner Interim Dept. Chair
Kari Juusela, dean of Berklee’s Professional Writing Division, announced the appointment of Eric Reasoner as interim chair of the college’s Film Scoring Department. He will serve as chair for the 2006-2007 academic year, replacing founding Film Scoring chair Don Wilkins, who instituted the department in 1979. Wilkins will remain with the department and is returning to the faculty toteach.

Reasoner has been a professor of film scoring at Berklee since 1994, where he teaches the aesthetic and technical applications of composing and editing music for film. He is an alumnus of the college, having graduated Magna Cum Laude in 1982 with a degree in film composition. Reasoner first worked at Berklee in the mid-to-late 1980’s as a part-time faculty and part-time staff member in Film Scoring, and then became the first Film Scoring Department Lab Manager in 1988, before moving to Los Angeles, in 1990.

As a professional film music editor, Reasoner was a staff editor at Segue Music, Inc. – the premier music editorial and supervision company in Hollywood.He is credited as music editor on many feature film soundtracks, including Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991 GRAMMY-Award winning score), Lethal Weapon 3, Lethal Weapon 4, Swing Kids, Demolition Man, Curly Sue, Last Action Hero, and Die Hard with a Vengeance, among others. He has also had the opportunity to work with such film composers as Georges Delerue, Michael Kamen, Elliot Goldenthal, Richard Gibbs, and Ira Newborn. Says Reasoner of outgoing chair Wilkins, “Don has been my teacher, mentor, colleague, boss, and a dear friend for many years.His pioneering efforts in creating, growing, and maintaining this department is something of which he can be proud. I only hope that I can continue his work, by guiding the department in a positive direction in our immediate future.”

Juusela notes: “Eric brings with him a deep knowledge of the film scoring program and a strong commitment to the college. I am certain that he will do a great job keeping the Film Scoring Department not only stable but moving forward.”
Reasoner is a voting member of the NARAS Producers Engineering Wing, and a Music Editor with the Motion Picture Editors Guild- Local 700.He is a native of Kendallville, Indiana, and currently lives in Whitinsville, Mass.

Berklee is the only college in the world that offers an undergraduate degree in film scoring. The number of students who pursue this major has grown significantly in the past few years, and the department now counts nearly 300 students as majors.The Film Scoring facilities include five labs with state-of-the-art equipment and software, and a dedicated scoring stage to offer students the opportunity for hands-on application of project assignments involving film music composition, sequencing and editing, and computer application incorporating the recording, editing, and mixing of digital audio. www.berklee.edu

Chicago Bassist Launches PlayJazzNow.
Launched this summer, offers downloadable jazz play-along tracks that will enable every instrumentalist and vocalist to work out with a world class rhythm section.

“It was impossible to find any recordings my students could play with to help them become better accompanists and soloists – and it was very frustrating,” says PlayJazzNow “trackmeister” Bill Harrison, a professional jazz bassist who has been playing and teaching for nearly 30 years. “PlayJazzNow.com provides tracks that any musician, regardless of their level or instrument, can use to hone their musical skills,” he explains. “These tracks give musicians the support and tonal reference they need for mastering scales, rhythms and the other fundamentals of jazz improvisation.”

For example, bassists can play-along with piano and drums – allowing them to feel what it’s like to synch up with a great drummer and to hear their bass lines in the context of the chord changes. Piano, guitar and vibes players can practice with bass and drums; horn players and singers can work out with a full jazz trio. “There’s really nothing else out there like it. In fact, our tagline is “The World’s Only Source for Downloadable Play-Along Tracks,” says Harrison. Until the last decade or so, players would learn a lot ‘on the job’ and at jam sessions, but now there are a lot more players – and a lot fewer sessions. Harrison feels that budding jazz musicians need a way to practice regularly with a real rhythm section.

PlayJazzNow.com addresses this need, offering jazz play-alongs that are quite different from the CD/book sets of play-along tunes sold by Jamey Aebersold. PlayJazzNow.com tracks consist of chord progressions – turnarounds and forms that occur in all types of standards and jazz compositions. Harrison states, “PlayJazzNow’s play-alongs are available for immediate download, come in all 12 keys and you can find the precise tracks you need for your level and your instrument.”

PlayJazzNow.com play-along tracks are much more affordable than other CD-based play-alongs on the market. A track set, comprised of 12 identical tracks – one in each key – runs a little over a dollar per track. Since the tracks are made up of chord changes and not “songs” per se, they provide the jazz musician with the freedom and flexibility needed to practice whatever they choose.

PlayJazzNow.com offers several progressions to choose from, including simple two-fives, blues, and turnarounds in major and minor. Future tracks will deal with “rhythm” changes, more complicated forms of major and minor blues and other common harmonic formulas. Tracks will feature a variety of rhythmic feels including swing, Latin and African grooves. There are also plans to create a series of play-alongs for drummers and percussionists, something that will be unique to PlayJazzNow.com.

Bill Harrison is an accomplished jazz bassist who has performed with many jazz masters including; Clark Terry, James Moody, Dizzy Gillespie, Max Roach, Kenny Burrell, Bunky Green and Joe Daley. He has been a faculty member of Chicago State University and the American Conservatory of Music, and has taught at the Montreux Jazz Festival, Clark Terry’s Great Plains Jazz Camp and the Saskatchewan Summer School for the Arts. Harrison currently plays jazz, commercial and theatre gigs in Chicago and maintains two teaching studios. For more information, visit: www.playjazznow.com.

Lexicon Wenger Develop “Virtual Acoustic Environment”
Lexicon Pro#153;, a Harman International Company, has announced a collaboration with Wenger Corp. in the development and release of Wenger’s new Virtual Acoustic Environment#153; (VAE#153;), a virtual environment simulator aimed at the music education market as a rehearsal/teaching aid.

Using Lexicon’s patented technology, the VAE creates extraordinary acoustic room simulations with settings that include Baroque Room, Recital Halls, Auditoriums, Cathedral and Arena. These active acoustic simulations contribute to the sensation of being enveloped — or surrounded — by the sound, and enable musicians to hear themselves as if they were performing inside a particular space. Based on Wenger’s revolutionary V-Room#174; technology, the new VAE offers an integrated music learning environment with active acoustics for “audio virtual reality” simulations and features built-in recording/playback capabilities.

The VAE can record up to nine single-track sessions with a 60 minute total recording time. Audio transfer of recordings is possible through the built-in USB connection in standard stereo .wav format (44.1 kHz, 16-bit). Accompaniment music may also be transferred to the VAE via this USB connection. By selecting from the nine active-acoustic settings, musicians can learn how to optimize their performance in different environments. Designed for installation in a Wenger sound-isolated music practice room, the VAE features easy, intuitive operation, including visual feedback from an LED display and backlit, 18-button control panel. An optional foot control provides convenient, hands-free playback and recording.

For more information, visit www.lexiconpro.com or www.wengercorp.com.

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