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Feb / March 2007

Jazzed Magazine • GearcheckMarch 2007 • March 8, 2007

The Musician’s Toolbox
The Musician’s Toolbox: Thoughts on Teaching and Learning Music is a new publication by Diane and Nick Petralla which explores 111 “tools” for musicians and music educators.

Subdivided into categories such as “teaching tools,” “learning tools,” and “performing tools,” each tool is a practical, thought-provoking idea striving to both motivate and inspire the reader.Every idea is discussed in-depth and includes a project suggestion to incorporate it into practice.

In addition to the broad range of topics covered, there is also a Web site directory of over 100 international musical organizations. The authors, Diane, an associate professor of piano and piano pedagogy, and Nick, the director of education for Sabian Ltd., bring decades of musical and educational experience to the reader through this informative and easy-to-read book. With 10 percent of the profits going to support music education, The Musician’s Toolbox retails for $9.95.

Faxx and Partner Mutes
American Way Marketing introduces its new line of Faxx and Partner mutes.The Faxx mute’s unique design helps a player produce the sound and projection needed without compromising intonation or sound quality.Faxx mutes are provided in metal for the advanced player and also in an economically priced plastic.Each line is available for trumpet, cornet, trombone, euphonium and tuba.The Partner mites are available in a blue or red plastic and are economically priced for the beginning student. JA Musik USA, an operating division of American Way Marketing, announces the availability of the following product lines from JA Musik USA: Meinl Weston tubas and euphoniums, VMI tubas and euphoniums, Meister Hans Hoyer French Hans J. Scherzer rotary trumpets, B S “Challenger I II” trumpets, cornets and flugelhorns, and B S Challenger trombones.

Gibson MelodymakerMelody Maker
The new Melody Maker from Gibson USA is an accurate, affordable recreation of the original Melody Makers of the late 1950s.

Originally introduced as a student model, much like the Les Paul Junior, the Melody Maker became well known for its light weight, comfortable neck, and great tone.With a period-correct pickguard housing a special design singlecoil pickup, a vintage-style wraparound tailpiece, rounded neck profile, and slim, light body, the Melody Maker is a good value for players of all ages, styles, and skill levels.It features a mahogany neck and body with chrome hardware, is available in Vintage Sunburst, Ebony, and Worn White finish.

Humidity Control System from Planet Waves
Planet Waves’ patented Humidipak is described as the world’s first true two-way humidity system for guitar that maintains the optimum humidity level for wooden instruments: 45 percent relative humidity.

The “two-way” system means that it actually emits or absorbs moisture as needed to maintain 45 percent relative humidity. The Humidipak is an automatic system that is said to eliminate maintenance, guesswork and protect cherished instruments.

The Humidipak kits (including soundhole/headstock pouches and three packets) retail for $29.99. Refill packets retail for $9.99.

Jeff Queen Snare Drum Combo-Pack
Hudson Music has announced the immediate availability of the Jeff Queen combo pack. The multimedia bundle includes a copy of the international solo snare drum champion’s instructional DVD, Playing With Sticks, as well his book, The Next Level, published by Mark Wessels Publications. The deluxe package is recommended for intermediate to advanced marching, drumset and concert drummers.

Playing With Sticks and The Next Level draw on Queen’s vast drum corps, solo performance and teaching experience #151; offering a comprehensive, step-by-step approach that covers all aspects of hand technique, from the grip and rudiments to building speed and endurance. The combination of Queen’s 144-page book filled with printed examples, exercises and explanations plus video demonstrations from the 3 1/2 hour DVD is intended to help drummers develop their technique more quickly and efficiently.

The Jeff Queen combo-pack has a suggested retail price of$49.95. Hudson Music DVDs and books are distributed by the Hal Leonard Corp.

First Act’s Preamp-Equipped VE591
First Act has debuted the VE591 guitar, its own version of the First Act GarageMaster guitar used in the recent, high profile partnership with Volkswagon. The world’s first guitar designed with analog preamp modeling using First Act’s V-Stack#174; technology, the VE591 is engineered to play through many different outlets – your home stereo, computer, car, headphones or a guitar amplifier.

The analog equipment lends an organic feel, sensitive to the player’s touch and provides vintage-style warmth using the VE591.According to the company, the preamp can act as an analog distortion “effects pedal” when played into a conventional guitar amp. To operate the user-friendly preamp, a simple nine-volt battery and cable are required.

Designed by First Act’s product development team and its expert luthiers, the VE591 is made of real “tone woods”: basswood with a maple neck and a rosewood fingerboard. A chrome-colored pickguard covers the reverse-curve single cutaway body style, which is reminiscent of First Act’s highly acclaimed Limited Edition Sheena model. The VE591, equipped with neck and bridge Alnico humbucking pickups with chrome housings, has a MSRP of $399.

New Jazz Books from Sher Music Co.
The Jazz Musicians Guide to Creative Practicing, by pianist David Berkman, aims to fill a void in jazz literature by demonstrating how to make hours and years in the woodshed actually productive and fun. Berkman shows how to dissect hard tasks, like soloing on “Giant Steps,” into easy and do-able pieces.Covering tune analysis, creative accompaniment, using chromatic notes to make contemporary-sounding lines, and improving swing feel, Berkman’s 150+ page book lists for $29 and includes an audio CD of the author demonstrating many of the ideas presented.

In Jazz Piano Masterclass with Mark Levine: The Drop 2 Book, author and pianist Mark Levine gives a step-by-step approach to learning how to play “Drop 2” piano voicings – the block-chord technique used by Bill Evans, Barry Harris, Cedar Walton, McCoy Tyner, and many other jazz piano greats. The retail price of $19 includes an accompanying CD of Mark demonstrating each exercise.

Jazz Saxophone Duets by Greg Fishman
Chicago-based tenor saxophonist and author Greg Fishman’s Jazz Saxophone Duets aims to “set the standard for saxophone duet publications for all aspiring jazz saxophonists.”Including an accompanying three-CD play-along set, Jazz Saxophone Duets features the author and Mark Colby performing duets. Each CD includes multiple versions of each track, making them suitable for either one or two tenor or alto saxophonists to accompany the recording.In addition, there are tracks that include extended choruses for soloing.

New DW Percussion DVDs
Drum Workshop, Inc., has released three new DVD’s: The Marco Show, featuring the Marco Minnemann big band, The Rhythm Collector, by Alex Acuna, and Stephen Perkins: A Drummer’s Life, about former Jane’s Addiction and Porno for Pyros drummer Stephen Perkins.These DVDs retail for $39.95 each.

The Marco Show includes a tribute to Buddy Rich, several of Marco Minnemann’s new compositions, and instructional insight into Marco’s extreme independence and technique.Among the many bonus features is a section of performance material filmed at the Sarriod de la Tour castle, set high in the Italian Alps.There, Marco guides viewers on a tour of the unique location and performs some of his latest songs. With over an hour of drum solos, The Marco Show is an ample demonstration of the drummer’s awe-inspiring technical proficiency.

In Alex Acuna’s first instructional DVD in over ten years, The Rhythm Collector takes viewers on a personal journey from the Latin artist’s homeland in Peru to the studios and stages of the world.This cinematically inspired DVD reveals some of Alex’s most cherished rhythms as he demonstrates their traditional origins and how they apply to drum set and popular music.The Rhythm Collector is filmed in high-definition and captured in digital multi-track sound.

DW’s latest performance driven title for drummers, Stephen Perkins: A Drummer’s Life is a 90-minute DVD that captures Perkins performing some of his most popular hits from Jane’s Addiction and Porno for Pyros, including “Been Caught Stealing,” “Mountain Song,” “Pets,” and others. The DVD also features guest musicians such as guitarists Wes Borland (Limp Bizkit) and Nels Cline, and bassists Tony Franklin (The Firm) and Mike Watt.

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