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Home Alt Forums Your Video Blues Video Collab. with my friend Nathan Singing/Guitar, me on Tenor Sax

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    Michael Bishop

      Here’s a quick, raw video (no special editing, just a USB mic plugged into the cpu. with a webcam) with my friend Nathan Michaud. Nathan is a blues player and has created a number of his own songs. He calls this one “The Light In My Room” We’re making good progress getting settled in our new home, after we’re finished he wants us to start doing more Blues stuff together. We put the video he gave me at Max volume and it was still very faint sounding, so forgive me if the sound is lacking in this regard. I had to lower the volume on my video a lot so that what I played wouldn’t try to conflict with his playing. I just plugged in the USB mic and started playing in the 1/2 empty recording room…you can tell by listening that the room is still 1/2 empty, but we’re getting there. This a very Raw video, but that’s not the important thing right now until after we’re finished arranging the house. It’s enough at least for Johnny to critique me on playing this style of music. You can see I managed to put a plaque on the wall behind me, it says “Music is what feelings sound like”…that’s good way to approach blues playing 🙂 Will start hanging all of my Saxophone pictures up soon. Sorry if you can’t make out some of the subtle things on this video, it was difficult balancing the 2 videos out with a video I was given that was already faint to begin with.


        way to go Michael, you’re really staring to get some good riffs going there.
        overall you sound a little on the flat side as far as intonation goes so try pushing your mp in.
        also end the longer notes with your tongue instead of letting them fade off, this will help with intonation as well.
        overall you should be proud of how well you are getting the blues riffs going and popin in those high notes too!

        on another note I’m off on the road again and so may not be as active here for 10 days or so.


        Michael Bishop

          Yeah, I knew I was just a little flat…out of nowhere I got some new cuts on my lower lip/faint amount of blood on the reed….it doesn’t help at all…very uncomfortable!!! I tried to just block it out, I had to really focus to block out the discomfort when I played the Altissimo licks, kind of painful to tell you the truth but oh well “it is what it is”. My friend Nathan really loved it, even with poor recording–for the moment. He wants us to do Foreigner 4’s “Urgent” together 🙂 It’s was just an Impromptu thing we did, very rough but it served the purpose for you to see I’m making the Blues my own 🙂 I think I’ll meet my goal of staring your new course sometime this coming year. Some of the notes that seem like they faded off may be due to because it was such poor recording, there’s notes I played while Improvising but can’t hardly hear them on audio, even with headphones, but will definately pay attention to not letting them fade out, no worries there 🙂 Your autographed pic will on on that wall behind me along with other Saxophone players’ pics, will have that on display on upcoming edits after the house is finished.
          QUESTION: what is your take on what I did here in terms of what we do as Saxophone players when playing with a band?


            Hey Michael,
            So cool that you are finding other musicians to collaborate with. Nathan played well and composed a solid Blues piece. Keep up the great work on developing your improv! I too like the Blues and the structure and chord progressions that make it sensible to play along with. I think your playing added and fitted best when you were doing riffs at the end of his sung verses. Once he went into a solo instrumental the combined playing of both instruments muddied the waters so to speak. Both musicians need the “space” to do their thing, so his recording perhaps needed to leave some open areas for you, and vica versa, you also needed to give him “front stage” with your playing being simple harmony stuff blending in with the rest of the band (backing track…)
            My 2 cents …

            Michael Bishop

              Great points Kevin and glad you mentioned them, you’re “2 cents” are always worth WAY more than that 🙂 I’ve learned a lot from you for sure. I had actually talked to Nathan about those very exact things–and this is something that’s been going ongoing–and said for the next take he needs to provide me with something that is more along the lines of what you’re talking about here and he agreed. He gave me this video and I did what I could with it. Even with the poor recording (not important right now, that will be taken care of soon) he really likes the Saxophone in the Blues. Here in this area, the tendency for many guitar players is to think that Sax players should just take a “back seat” and slowly I’ve been working very, very hard to show them that the Saxophone is just as awesome as any guitar when it comes to standing out in the Blues, when you solo, etc.. I had shared some history with them to show them that, actually, the Sax was used in Blues/Rock WAY before any guitar player ever came put a Sax player on the ‘back seat’ would be to ignore our musical heritage when it comes to playing blues…they’re getting the point 🙂
              Part of the “problem” is that the Sax players that live here are into the smooth, elaborate Jazz and for them the thought of playing Hard-core, dirty blues is virtually non existant. Bear in mind there’s different kinds of Blues playing too: Delta Blues, Memphis Blues, Texas Blues, Chicago Blues, and so on. Slowly, I’ve been changing their thinking on the matter. I can tell you one thing: the average person who I’ve played Blues in front of on the Saxophone, both alto and tenor, absolutely LOVED it because it’s different than what they’re used to hearing Saxophone players here do. When I first got involved with the Blues Society, lots of guys were like “a Sax player playing Blues with us?!? We’ll use him as back up player instead” and that’s fine with me. I’ve been showing them lots of videos of guys like King Curtis, Big Jay, Illinois Jacquet, and of course Johnny stuff for sure 🙂 Slowly, the “tide” is turning because other musicians I’ve been connecting with here are seeing how much the average person here loves the Blues on the Saxophone…it’s a very “colorful” type of playing. I just gave a new member here on Johnny’s site, whose a drummer too, a blues backing track. He’s going to drum over the track and I’ll Improvise with it, this time on Alto.

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