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January 2008

Jazzed Magazine • GearcheckJanuary 2008 • January 9, 2008

New Finish to Pearl Congas
Designed by one of the most technically proficient conga players around, Pearl’s Richie Flores Signature Oak Congas feature the exclusive “vertical” fade Lunar Eclipse finish transitions from Silver to Midnight Blue dusted in stellar sparks as you turn the drums. Fade your congas from left to right, right to left, all Silver Sparkle or all Midnight Blue Sparkle#149;the color possibilities are immense. Thai Oak shells with Contour Crown Rims, Natural Buffalo skins, brilliant chrome-plated hardware, and Pearl’s exclusive Self-Aligning Washer System (S.A.W.S.) for effortless tuning round out these instruments’ features.

Marantz PMD620 Hand-Held Digital RecorderMarantz PMD620 Hand-Held Digital Recorder
The PMD620 Hand-Held Digital Compact Recorder is Marantz Professional’s newest and smallest handheld portable recorder. The PMD620 offers direct-to-mp3 recording in three quality levels, as well as fully uncompressed, CD-quality 44.1/48 kHz .wav format in 16 or 24-bit resolution, allowing the user to configure the PMD620 for a wide variety of applications, from extended-length voice recordings to high-quality music applications. Sound quality is enhanced by the inclusion of two condenser microphones on the PMD620, as well as line and external mic inputs, and an external mic output.

The new PMD620 also utilizes the SD flash memory card for data storage, a first for the PMD Series of recorders. SD (secure digital) is a highly stable and the most widely available flash media format, so users will have ready access to very cost-effective data storage. Additionally, the PMD620 accepts memory cards of high capacity (up to 2-TB or 2048 gigabytes).

Incorporating user feedback from across the PMD Series spectrum, the new PMD620 sports several new layout enhancements intended for a simpler and more confident experience. The PMD620 offers one-touch record engagement using a button with its own tactile feel and red highlight illumination. The unit’s transport controls will be familiar to users of personal portable music devices, and incorporates a thumb-operated scroll wheel and a vivid organic LED (OLED) display screen, one of the first in the industry, which uses very little power to illuminate, thus extending the unit’s battery life. (The PMD620 is powered by two AA batteries.) The display’s black background means that all alpha-numerics and function icons are always crisp and easy to read. The screen is also configurable thanks to two font sizes, allowing more information on the screen with the smaller font and highly readable key information with the larger one.

The PMD620 also offers editing capabilities. Included in the firmware is “Copy Segment” editing, which uses non-destructive cut-and-paste-style editing to create a new sound file, which can be up/downloaded via the built-in USB port. Another menu feature, “Skip Back,” allows transcribers the ability to review recorded audio from 1 to 60 previous seconds. And the PMD620’s USB 2.0 port allows drag-and-drop transfer of files to a PC. “Level” and “Peak” LEDs let you know the status of your input signal, and you can toggle between four displays screens that provide elapsed time, time remaining and other key data.

Sher Music’s The Real Easy Book – Vol.3
Sher Music has released The Real Easy Book – Vol. 3: A Short History Of Jazz, which features 5-10 tunes from each historical era of jazz: Trad Jazz, The Swing Era, Classic Bebop, West Coast Jazz, The Blue Note Era, Contemporary Jazz, “Groove” Jazz, Brazilian Jazz and Afro-Cuban Jazz. The wide variety of styles included means that every jazz combo will be able to find exactly the material that fits their needs.

Difficulty ranges from very simple blues, like Charlie Parker’s “Now’s The Time” to deep, but still playable, contemporary tunes, like Mike Stern’s “These Times.” Also featured are some beginning trad jazz arrangements of “Bill Bailey” and “Alexander’s Ragtime Band,” including separate clarinet and trombone obligato parts to get that authentic Dixieland feeling.

In addition to the tunes and educational material, there are also fun and informative introductory texts for each section. These short histories of each era of jazz introduce both the flavor of the era, and a discussion of the musical innovations that each one brought to the evolution of jazz.

At over 200 pages, The Real Easy Book – Vol.3 comes in C, B#153;

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