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Gear Check – August 2020

Jazzed Magazine • August/September 2020Gearcheck • August 19, 2020

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Print and Digital

Charlie Parker: The Complete Scores and the Frozen Activity Book from Hal Leonard

Hal Leonard has published Charlie Parker: The Complete Scores boxed set, a quintessential collection that features a hardcover book with 40 note-for-note transcriptions for all the instruments that played on each iconic track. Published to coincide with the centennial of Parker’s birth on August 29, 1920, the Hal Leonard editorial crew worked closely with Parker’s Estate to ensure the highest quality transcriptions and production. The book features forty transcriptions from Parker’s exemplary studio recordings of tracks including “Anthropology,” “Billie’s Bounce (Bill’s Bounce),” “Blues for Alice,” “Ornithology,” and more. Transcriptions for saxophone, trumpet, piano, bass, and drums are included for each piece.

Hal Leonard has also expanded its Music Activity Book Series with a new edition featuring the songs and artwork from Disney’s “Frozen” and “Frozen 2” movies. Designed as an introduction to music, these full-color activity books feature songs, games, puzzles, and other music activities designed to spark a lifelong interest in singing and making music. The songs are arranged in simple melody format with lyrics so it can be enjoyed for singing and/or playing on any C instruments, including piano and guitar. The Frozen Music Activity Book covers the basics of explaining the music staff and notes, as well as counting, rests, ties, dynamics, and much more – all done in age-appropriate ways.


Excelcia’s Jazz Ensemble Music Catalog and Flexcel Series

Excelcia Music Publishing launches its first Jazz Ensemble music release with 15 new and inspiring tunes from well-known composers as well as talented newcomers. The publisher’s 2020 Jazz Ensemble music release includes charts from composers Blair Bielawski, Jack Cooper, David Samuel, Peter Sciaino, Carl Strommen and Steve Wiest. Published with Excelcia Music Publishing’s signature grading system, the 2020 Jazz Ensemble Music charts are grouped into four levels that range in difficulty from music appropriate for middle school students just starting their jazz journey to more challenging music for high school groups. The levels are Jazz Exploration Series (grade 1.5), Jazz Horizon Series (grade 2), Jazz Voyage Series (grade 3) and Jazz Zenith Series (grade 4 and up).

Flexcel is a flexible concert band and orchestra series with high-quality pieces from well-known composers like Sean O’Loughlin and Carol Brittin Chambers. Pieces in the Flexcel series are designed to be used with significantly-reduced ensemble sizes and any combination of wind, string and percussion instruments. Each piece is uniquely arranged in five-part writing by transposed keys, rather than by instrument, providing endless options depending on which students are in the classroom or at home. The works can be performed by as few as five players plus percussion. Included in the purchase of each set in the Flexcel series is unique photocopying permission from the publisher as well as access to digital copies for remote learning.


New Books from Kendor Music

Kendor Music, Inc. has released Volume 40 Jazz Ensemble and String Orchestra Music. The Volume 40 String Orchestra music features 18 new pieces at the grade 1-4 level, many of which are available on SmartMusic. Recordings, full scores and descriptions can be accessed at The Volume 40 Jazz Ensemble music features 16 new charts from Kendor Music and 15 new charts from Doug Beach Music, many of which are also available on SmartMusic. Recordings, full scores, and descriptions as well as SoloMate recordings are all available at

Recording Tools

Zoom’s H8 Recorder

Zoom’s H8 recorder features a color touchscreen interface, which presents a “3-way” app workflow navigation. Whether you’re recording music, sound effects in the field, or professional podcasts, the H8 adapts instantly to the feature set required for the job. The H8 features all of Zoom’s industry-leading audio fidelity, legendary transparent preamps, and overall dependable performance. With four XLR and two XLR/TRS combo jacks, the H8 can record up to 12 tracks simultaneously, and you can quickly and easily adjust input type, lo-cut, EQ, compression, limiter, noise gate, and more.


Loog Pro VI Acoustic

The Loog Pro VI Acoustic is Loog’s first full-sized six-string guitar marketed to kids and adults 12 years old and up. The Loog Pro VI Acoustic also comes bundled with flashcards and an app that helps students play songs on their guitar from day one. The app includes video lessons, a tuner and even a digital songbook with hits by The Beatles, Rolling Stones, Taylor Swift, Bruno Mars, and more. The Loog app also has an Augmented Reality feature that allows beginner guitarists to learn using the selfie camera on any device. Available in six different colors for $149.


Tri All Multiple Purpose Trial/Training Tool from RS Berkeley

The Tri All Multiple Purpose Trial/Training Tool from RS Berkeley is for beginning band students and was designed in the USA for individual use. This one device works for flute, trumpet, trombone/baritone, clarinet, and saxophone, and includes an individually wrapped reed. The tool promotes good hygiene while reducing exposure to germs.

KHS America’s Wind Instrument Try-Out Kit

KHS America’s Wind Instrument Try-Out Kit is a durable, compact, and affordable trial pack that is an ideal tool for introducing school band instrument mouthpieces to prospective incoming band students. Including components to test for aptitude and gauge interest in flute, clarinet/saxophone, trumpet, and trombone, the kit provides a convenient solution for many possible testing scenarios. The components are easy to assemble, and can be cleaned in a dishwasher or with soap and hot water.

Face Masks from Henry Heller

These face masks from Henry Heller are reusable and designed for daily wear. The masks feature a bendable nose adjustment and three-inch pocket opening to add filter material if desired. Made of two-ply cotton. $7.50 each.

Chedeville Umbra Mouthpiece Series

Chedeville has announced the launch of a completely new range of classical clarinet mouthpieces called the Chedeville Umbra Series. The new Chedeville Umbra Clarinet Series was designed and developed in collaboration with acclaimed International soloist and co-founder of RZ Clarinets, Milan Rericha. For the creation of the new Chedeville Umbra clarinet mouthpieces no expense was spared, starting with the proprietary “Chedeville Rubber,” a purer rod ebonite that recreates the great rod rubber of pre-war legendary Chedeville mouthpieces.

jj Babbitt’s DH-113 Alto Clarinet Mouthpiece

To round out the quartet of new Premiere by Hite composite blend mouthpieces for 2020, jj Babbitt has unveiled the DH-113 Alto Clarinet mouthpiece. Finally, developing young musicians can play in the higher registers with confidence and control without sacrificing the resonance expected in the middle and lower registers. Not only does the specially blended resin help to shape the personality of the DH-113, but the craftsmanship of the artisans of JJ Babbitt in Elkhart, Indiana add the post mold finishing touches that make the new Alto Clarinet mouthpiece stand alone in its class.

New Mouthpieces from JodyJazz

JodyJazz’s new DV BEATBoX Tenor Saxophone mouthpiece is a new addition to their range designed with “Beatbox Sax” virtuoso Derek Brown. The new DV BEATBoX Tenor is a silver-plated customized DV mouthpiece in Derek’s #5 tip opening. The new DV BEATBoX Tenor also features “DV BEATBoX” engraved on the side in the characteristic typeface used by Derek in all his projects in order to solidify the mouthpiece’s association with him. MSRP: $650.

In addition, the new HR* Custom Dark Alto mouthpiece is the newest addition to JodyJazz’s HR* Custom Dark line of premium hard rubber mouthpieces. The new HR* Custom Dark Alto offers the same beautiful, warm, dark, traditional, vintage sound characteristic of the HR* Custom Dark series and is available in 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 & 9 tip openings. It also features a heavy stylized ring on the shank of the mouthpiece. With significantly more mass on the shank of the mouthpiece the HR* Custom Dark Alto enjoys a boost of body and increased harmonics.

Key Leaves’ Spit Sponge Pad Dryers and GapCap

Key Leaves’ new Spit Sponge pad dryers remove moisture left behind on pads and tone holes that swabs miss, extending pad life and keeping instruments clean. The Spit Sponge is a unique, dual-texture pad dryer with an ultra-absorbent top to clean delicate pads, while the bottom has micro-texture grooves to trap and remove gunk that grows on tone holes. Spit Sponge pad dryers have a laser-fused edge that never frays and they are completely washable for years of reuse. The universal woodwind size Spit Sponge can clean flutes, clarinets, oboes, bassoons or any woodwind instrument you play. The Spit Sponge for saxophones features an easy-fit shape to care for large sax pads and those hard-to-reach places.

In addition, Key Leaves’s new GapCap replaces traditional saxophone end plugs and features a coil spring wall to provide the perfect fit inside the saxophone neck socket, no matter what make or model you play. If your saxophone case is loose-fitting, the GapCap screw expands to fill the gap inside the case and hold the sax in a safe, secure position. This reduces risk of bent keys or a bent sax body that results from the sax bouncing around inside a loose-fitting case. The flexible spring wall design of GapCap also provides shock absorption, decreasing impact force that can damage the sax. A new optional lock nut allows players to find their favorite position and lock it into place.

Drums & Percussion


New TAMA Snare Drums

The S.L.P. Sonic Stainless Steel snare drum features a 6.5”x14”, 1.2mm, stainless steel shell which delivers brightness, projection, and a huge supply of cutting tone. The authoritative sound is supported by TAMA’s new 3mm, 10-hole Steel Might Hoops, offering extremely solid tuning and ample amounts of focused attack. Overall, this new entry to the S.L.P. series delivers an assertive tonal voice, and its 6.5” depth affords it a wide tuning range, offering an array of stylistic applications.

Warm and balanced, with striking clarity and excellent projection, the S.L.P Bold Spotted Gum snare drum leaves nothing on the table when it comes to a complex, versatile snare tone. The 6.5”x14”, 6mm, 9ply 100% Spotted Gum shell delivers a full, warm sound with a diverse dynamic range, lending itself to a variety of expressive playing styles. The 10 hole, 2.3mm Steel Might Hoops provide solid tuning and a robust attack, with added wooliness from the Spotted Gum shell.

Rogers Drums’ Covington Series 3-Piece Shell Packs

Rogers Drums’ Covington Series 3-Piece shell packs (rack/floor/kick) are available in red ripple or black lacquer finishes, in either 12”/14”/20” or 12”/16”/22” configurations. All kits feature classic styling and appointments, like the Bowtie T-rods and script logo badges, with your choice of 9mm round steel spurs and hex-steel floor tom legs, or lightweight 12.7mm chrome-plated aluminum legs and spurs.

Cases & Stands

Clear Shields from Manhasset Stands

Manhasset Stands’ #2019 Clear Shields offers a barrier for schools, orchestras, and choirs. The large 24” x 24” polycarbonate clear shield provides a protective barrier, and features the Manhasset Symphony Base for maximum stability, as well as the Manhasset Symphony Shaft with Magic Finger Clutch to allow easy adjustment to the Clear Shield’s height without having to secure a knob. $539.95 for a three-pack.

Keyboard & Piano

Kawai’s CA49 and CA59 Digital Pianos

The CA49 and CA59 are the latest high-performance additions to the popular Concert Artist series of premium digital pianos from Kawai. Both instruments feature new motherboard and amplification hardware designed for richer, higher quality sound, and 4-speaker delivery systems that reproduce the sound field of a grand piano. The latest models use improved cheekblock control panels that incorporate modern OLED graphic displays, while the CA49 boasts a new interface for easier, more intuitive operation. Both feature enhanced Shigeru Kawai grand piano sounds, providing a more natural and realistic playing experience, while the CA59 includes a new Shigeru Kawai SK-5 studio grand sound and additional Virtual Technician parameters for even greater tonal variety. Both instruments include Bluetooth MIDI connectivity, with the CA59 also boasting Bluetooth Audio, with aptX support providing high quality wireless audio with minimal latency. The updated cabinet designs provide a more impressive, premium appearance.

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