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Movin’ On

“Get up in the morning and it’s just another day,
Pack up my belongings, I got to get away,
Jump into a taxi and time is getting tight,
I got to keep a movin’, I got a show tonight.” – Bad Company

Well, I guess it’s time to hit the road again.  One class over, my technology credits for high school earned, and now I’m movin’ on.  I was asked to give a critique of the Digital Media class that I am taking (the reason why I even have this blog), so here it goes:

Overall, the class was good.  I learned a lot of things that I never thought I would learn.  I learned the basics of Adobe InDesign, Photoshop, differences between designing for web based media and print based media.  In addition, my favorite part of the class was the journalistic part.  Writing this blog was a good bit of fun, and I loved writing the obituaries.  It was a great experience to sort of have this crash course of journalism and design.  Though I will be a musician, and I can’t really see where this will help me, it is knowledge that I am glad that I have.  I am glad I took the class.

The only real problem I had with the class was the workload.  It was a lot more than I expected.  I felt that we had too many projects.  Between the 1 in 1000 project, the Prom ad design project, the court case analysis, color analysis, photo collage, it seemed like simply too much work.  Looking back on it, however, I’m not sure which project was not necessarily, therefore, I come to this conclusion: keep all the projects, but lessen the homework.

That would really be the only change I would make.  We had plenty of time for the projects, but it is difficult to do a great job on a project when you also have a caption due on Thursday, a blog post due on Friday, an AP Style Book Activity, and a quiz to study for.  So, I think that in order for the class to be more manageable, either some homework or some projects have to go.  I would say keep the projects and cut some of the homework.  Maybe simply not giving us a caption the week a project is due or a few less Style Book activities would do it.  I don’t feel as though I should be spending more time on Digital Media than I should on AP English Literature or AP French Literature, yet that was often the case.  That’s really my only critique of the class.  I enjoyed the material more than I thought I would, and it was, in general, a helpful and enjoyable class.

Finally, an opportunity to vent through this blog!  How I thought this day would never come!  So, here it is: My Top 5 Examples of horrendous graphic design:

#5: “Become a Fraction of Your Former Self”

Well, I have to give this designer credit   for a cute idea: making a fraction out the phrase involving a fraction.  The problem is that the line should not cut through the word, “Fraction.”  It makes it hard to read, and, by doing so, most of the comic effect is lost.  Also, why not just put the line subdividing “Become a Fraction” and  “Of your Former Self?”  You’d have to make the line a different color, but it would be much more appealing to the eye.  Not good, but, trust me, it gets worse.

#4: “Desktop Publishing for the Masses.”

This one is on the list for only one reason as well: It violates the most basic rule of all graphic design.  We design something to be legible.  It takes legitimate effort to read this ad.  If you did not notice, I would bet that your eye goes straight to “for the masses.”  Why?  It’s the only legible part of the ad.  “Desktop Publishing” requires way too much effort to read.  Otherwise, it is OK.  The colors pop, and are relatively pleasing to the eye, much unlike some of the others.

#3: Men at Work: Business as Usual

I must admit, I have not heard the album, but based on how it did in the charts, it has got to be better than the album cover.  Well, for starters, I like the idea of the yellow (caution color) for the band “Men at Work.”  But, what do mountains have to do with any of this?  That really bothers me.  Then, you have this amplifier underneath it, which I can say is OK, but what really, really gets me is the “Business as Usual” album title.  You can barely read it, as it is mixed up in a jumble of amplifier, steel, yellow, and black.  Also, what is the first object that grabs your attention?  For me, it was the cable running from the amp (presumably) to the guitar.  Other than the strange random mountain range running on top of the amp, that cable is the next least important piece of the album.  Also, the yellow is overkill.  It started out as a good idea, but, come on, who wants to stare at yellow for a particularly long time?  Not I.

#2: 1968 Mexico City Olympics Poster

If I were tripping on LSD, I might like this one.  Seriously, if you were lucky enough to make out the “Mexico” portion, did you catch the “68.”  I’ll give you a couple hours to look for it.  Yes, it is there, underneath the Olympic circles.  Honestly, if I did not know a little Olympic history, I would have thought it was the 1988 games, if I had been lucky enough to find the area where the numbers were.  These strange lines drive me crazy.  I mean 2001: A Space Odyssey had not come out yet, so what was the deal?  I fail to understand how they could let this go.  You can’t read it, and you are drawn into this helpless maze of disturbing lines.  Again, this must have been inspired by “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds,” which came out the previous year.  Other than tripping on LSD, I am not sure how anyone can like this or think it was a good idea.

#1: Fall Preview

First of all, I’m sorry you have to even look at this one.  Seriously, where do I begin?  The color scheme is hideous.  There is a difference between choosing colors that pop, and colors that are just plain ugly.  That green was an awful choice.  Not only does it make this odd man look more like a Grinch who was clearly on some sort of high, but it makes the viewer want to throw up.  On top of that, the word “Hot” is one of the few that is legible.  There is nothing “hot” about that Grinch dude or anything else on the cover.  Oh yeah, and you have to really squint to see the “Citilife” subtitle.  I think this “Fall Preview” contained the top 1001 reasons NOT to subscribe to the magazine.

Thanksgiving With the Rodewalds

Ah…yes.  Thanksgiving with my family is always an adventure unlike any other (like any other holiday).  You can always count on a holiday around here being interesting.  This Thanksgiving, we welcomed my brother, Gus, and his family (wife Kristen and two year old son Jet).  Also, my other brother Russell came in from Boston, where he is finishing his master’s degree in nuclear engineering from MIT.  Finally, my uncle came with his family, Holly, Savannah, and Holly’s mother, Francis.  Here are a few photos to enjoy:

All in all, it was a delicious meal and a great evening.  My grandmother also came in from Wisconsin, and it was good to see her again.  The conversation was good, and everybody seemed quite happy.  A good Thanksgiving, and I hope all of you all reading this had a great Thanksgiving as well!

Good Graphic Design

After scouring the internet, I have finally found four great examples of graphic design in order to fulfill the requirement for my digital media class this week.  So, here they are (drum roll please):

#4. The Red Cross ad for help for Pakistan

An advertisement by the Red Cross.

Here is a great example of taking advantage of the season.  As we approach the Holiday season, what better way to convince people to give than to use Christmas icons.  A snow globe?  Brilliant.  It represents the world, and of course the idea of helping people corresponds right with the Holidays.  Ethos is important here as well, and the picture and message are clear, which is always necessary for an effective graphic design example.  A good one, but still number 4.

#3.

An advertisement for the Mini Cooper

“Stop Crying.  It’s just hail.”  I love it.  What is the first thing we think of about a Mini Cooper.  Feminine.  Wimpy.  Nope, apparently not.  This makes the car appear more masculine, and note the nice use of yellow, a color that historically has been used to represent warriors.  The trifecta of yellow is great: border, car, “Always open” at the bottom.  The only bad part of the ad is that the bottom of the L is covered by the car.  Good ad.

 

 

 

#2. Another Red Cross ad:

Another Red Cross Ad.

Another effective ad.  It is humorous, and it is simple.  It is a great idea, using the idea of saving the world in a video game applying to helping the Red Cross.  The red is a nice contrast with the white, and the red cross there as the button is nice.  It make me laugh, but it also makes me want to help them.  Effective, clean, classy, funny.  What could be better?

 

 

 

 

The Number One Ad: McDonald’s

McDonald's Ad. This makes me laugh every time.  Everybody wants free Wi-Fi, and the food (as everyone knows) sells very well.  I like the brown of the wall; it is calming, and using the box to be a computer.  Funny.  Funny is always good, and I like the white contrast.  Just a great ad overall.

Recording a success!

Thanks to Michael Holmes (engineer, piano), Bobby Durham (bass), and Waldo LaTowski, I finished my pre-screening recordings today for NYU, Eastman School of Music, and the University of Miami.  Also a big thanks to Bob Chandler for helping me out, and Dennis Taylor’s wife, Karen Leipziger for being there.  Dennis could not be with us, due to his untimely death, but he was there in spirit.  Sadly, the free wordpress blog that I have will not allow me to put any audio on here, but you can visit my facebook (musician) page and listen to the tracks here A note: the tunes I recorded today were: All Blues, Tune Up, Black Orpheus, Darn That Dream, Billie’s Bounce and Days of Wine and Roses.  The others are old.

On Sunday, I’ll go to the recording studio to record pre-screening tapes for several music schools including NYU, Eastman School of Music, and the University of Miami (Fl).  I’ll lay down six tunes: “Tune Up,” “Billie’s Bounce,” “Days of Wine and Roses,” “Black Orpheus,” and “Darn That Dream.”  I will be accompanied by Mike Holmes (piano), Waldo Latowsky (drums), and Bobby Durham (bass).  These tunes are pretty tough, but I have been working on them quite a bit, including working with them every day this week with my band director, Mr. Bob Chandler.  I will post the recordings here as soon as I have them available.  Here’s a little information about the tunes:

“Tune Up” is a be-bop piece by Miles Davis.  The amazing thing about this tune is that it goes through three keys, and has six key changes per chorus.  It starts out in the key of concert D major for the first four bars (IIm-V7-I progression), C major for the next four bars, and Bb major for the next four bars.  Then, there is a four bar turnaround that goes Em-F7-Bbmaj7-A7.  This leads back into the IIm-V7-I in D, then C, then Bb, and then each chorus ends with one last IIm-V7-I in D.  Be-bop is characterized by advanced harmony and often very fast tempos (usually over 200 beats per minute).  Well on the subject of advanced harmony, this tune was later used by John Coltrane as a basis for his tune “Countdown.”  That particular tune has a fairly similar melody, but Coltrane makes his own chord substitutions, and uses quite a bit of tritone substitution.

“Billie’s Bounce” is a Blues in F, but it is not a standard 12 bar blues.  It is a “Bird Blues,” which means that it is written by Charlie Parker, and has his chord substitutions.  Parker made some chord substitutions.  So, the substitutions allow for more harmony, and more advanced improvisational techniques are required to navigate the changes.  The tune is pretty fast, and has a fairly difficult head, unlike most blues.  It is up-tempo, but not terribly fast, I would say around 155 beats per minute.   A normal 12 bar blues in F would be as follows:

F7-Bb7-F7-F7

Bb7-Bb7-F7-F7

Gm7-C7-Fmaj7-Fmaj7

However, a bird blues is as follows:

F7-Bb7 Bdim-F7-Cm7 F7

Bb7-Bb7 Bdim-F7-Am7 D7

Gm-C7-F7 D7-Gm C7

“Days of Wine and Roses” was written by Henry Mancini, and the lyrics were written by Johnny Mercer.  The tune came from the 1962 movie of the same name.  For the most part, the tune is in F major, although there are some spots where one can use the whole tone scale, and even one chord where the F minor scale can be used.  Some bluesy notes (b9 ) work well at times, but it pretty much stays in one key, though there is a very cool turnaround that is showy for a soloist.  The trick with this tune is that it is not a ballad, but it is still pretty slow, which makes it very easy to get ahead of the changes and get lost, which can not happen on Sunday.

“Black Orpheus” is probably the easiest of these tunes.  It is a bossa nova (latin style, straight 8th notes).  For the most part, it hovers around A minor, which is the relative minor of C major.  There are, however, times in the tune where there are some cool chords that one can really play with.  Hitting a G# over an E7 chord works very well, and there is a pretty cool C#dim A7(b9) measure that is good for working outside the key.  There are a couple of bars in D minor, and a couple in E minor as well, but for the most part, the challenge of this tune is playing something melodic.  For me, this will be a showcase on my tone and melody.

The next tune is a bear.  “Darn That Dream.”  An amazingly slow ballad, with more chord changes than grains of sand on a beach.  No, seriously.  At times, there are 4 chord changes per measure!  Often times, they are not very close to each other either.  The first measure contains 3 chords: A major, Cminor, F7.  What?  Voice leading is a HUGE challenge on this song, and you can not get lost, because if you do it is very obvious.  Also, because the tune moves so slowly, the great player can not just play the melody like it is written.  You must take a lot of liberties with the melody in order to keep it from being too boring.

The very last tune is another Miles Davis tune, “All Blues.”  It comes off of the Kind of Blue record, so this will be interesting to try.  It is a pretty standard blues in G, but the tough part of it is that it is in 6/8.  This tune lends itself to being a modal tune, so I will use a lot of mixolydian and dorian scales.  Simple melodies work well, and are necessary to help you keep your place because the tune simply feels so strange.

Also, this will take place on November 14, one day after my late saxophone teacher, Dennis Taylor’s, birthday.  So, happy birthday DT!  Also, a big thanks to Dennis and his wife, Karen Leipziger, for helping to set this up.

Shattered Glass Review

“Ian Restil, a 15-year-old computer hacker who looks like an even more adolescent version of Bill Gates, is throwing a tantrum. “I want more money. I want a Miata. I want a trip to Disney World. I want X-Men comic book #1. I want a lifetime subscription to Playboy – and throw in Penthouse. Show me the money! Show me the money!. . . .”
Across the table, executives from a California software firm called Jukt Micronics are listening and trying ever so delicately to oblige. “Excuse me, sir”, one of the suits says tentatively to the pimply teenager. “Excuse me. Pardon me for interrupting you, sir. We can arrange more money for you.” – Stephen Glass, from the article, “Hack Heaven” that eventually caused the downfall of his journalistic career.

He was a patholigocal liar.  He was a journalist.  His writing was coveted by every major publication in the United States.  Then, Stephen Glass wrote, “Hack Heaven,” the piece that finally destroyed the journalistic career of a bright, young journalist recently graduated from the University of Pennsylvania. 

Shattered Glass tells the story of Stephen Glass, a 23 year old rising star at The New Republic magazine.  Glass had worked his way up to being an associate editor at the publication.  However, a series of stories started to seem questionable.  Finally, Adam Penenberg, a reporter at Forbes sought so do a follow up on one of Glass’s stories, “Hack Heaven.”  That article told the story of 15-year-old Ian Restil, and how he had, by hacking the software company Jukt Micronics’s website, essentially extorted millions of dollars from the company.  There was only one problem: none of this actually existed.  There was no evidence to support that Jukt Micronics was a real company, nor to support that Ian Restil existed.  Glass had been found out.  He had fabricated notes, created fake business cards, and even had his brother, a student at Stanford University, pose on the phone as Jukt Micronics’s CEO, George Simms.  Eventually though, editor Chuck Lane was forced to fire Stephen Glass.

Perhaps the most amazing thing about this film was how well Glass was portrayed as a liar.  The viewer wants to believe him.  In fact, until near the very end of the film, the viewer is sure that there is going to be some sort of justification for what Glass did.  He has to be innocent.  This must go to the brilliant acting of Hayden Christianson, who plays Stephen Glass in the film.  Indeed, the film accurately recorded sentiments later recounted by Chuck Lane when he said, “We extended normal human trust to someone who basically lacked a conscience…We busy, friendly folks were no match for such a willful deceiver…We thought Glass was interested in our personal lives, or our struggles with work, and we thought it was because he cared. Actually, it was all about sizing us up and searching for vulnerabilities. What we saw as concern was actually contempt.”  The movie could not have done a better job of communicating those thoughts to the viewer.  At the end, just like Chuck Lane, we were shocked, we were horrified that this journalist, who seemed to care so much, was just a liar.  Nothing more.

“The Days of Wine and Roses laugh and run away, like a child at play, through the meadow lands and through the passing door, a door marked never more that was not there before.  The lonely night discloses just a passing breeze, filled with memories of the golden smile that introduced me to the days of wine and rose and you.” – Johnny Mercer (lyrics to “Days of Wine and Roses” from the 1962 film of the same name).

A while ago, I heard several arguments on the complexity of music, particularly of jazz.  As a jazz student, I have spent many, many hours studying this style of music, studying improvisational techniques, and ways to play a song “well.”  One song that I know I can play well is a Henry Mancini/Johnny Mercer tune called, “Days of Wine and Roses.”  Here is a copy of the lead sheet (sadly, it is very difficult to convert something from a Finale notepad file to a file that I can use on this blog, but this should do).  So, we will now examine how to approach playing the “head” as a saxophone player (or any horn player), how to improvise a solo, how to “comp” chords on piano, how to play a bass line through this (on bass or piano), and finally what the drummer would have to do.  Keep in mind that all of this is done in the minds of musicians.  We see nothing more than the lead sheet that is below.  Nothing else.  All the rest of the decisions are made in our heads, and are not made until we begin to play.  This is what allows jazz to be so free and conversational.  Now, here is the lead sheet.  One short note, The first and second endings are not noted on this sheet.  The first ending starts at the Fmaj7 chord before the D-, and goes to the repeat.  The second ending is right after the repeat.

Now, as a saxophone player, the first thing that I must do is play the melody.  However, this would be very boring if I simply played what is written.  The first thing that I will do is make sure that I walk down on the whole note.  So, I may play A-G-F-E natural.  The E natural against the Eb7+4 chord creates a nice tension, which is then resolved by going to the Eb.  The E natural is the flat nine of that chord, so that note will often work over that chord, seeing as the Eb chord is altered already (dominant 7, sharp 4).  Next, I might add a grupetto or turn on the D on the  A- chord.  Simple things like this, or anticipating phrasing makes the melody more enjoyable.  I would never play8-17 like written.  There is plenty of space for more turns, anticipation or delaying of rhythms, and countless other possibilities.  Next comes the solo.  We are in F major for the first chord, so I would likely start my solo running straight up the scale.  Start on an upbeat to give your lines momentum.  I would then be sure to highlight the +4 and b7 of the next chord, so I would play some combination of Db and A natural.  Highlight the +9 and b9 of the next chord, and then we go into G-.  Here, I would highlight the Bb and Eb that are outside of the key signature, and this is also a great place for a G blues scale, as it creates a nice contrast to the rather simple, happy melody.  Basically, from the D7+9 chord through the G- chords, one can use an Eb minor scale, G minor scale, or Bb major.  I prefer the Eb minor.  But don’t use too much of this yet, rather wait until the second chorus of solo to really hammer out the blues.  Next, we see our beloved Eb7+4 chord again.  Once again, emphasize the Db and the notes outside of the key.  Now, we likely have only really used simple melodies to this point.  We get to a point where we are in G major (and E minor, which are very similar) for a couple measures.  Use a lot of 16th notes here, and go into a double time sort of feel, come back to the A minor, and then arpeggiate the turnaround to emphasize the chord tones that are outside of the key.  Start each arpeggio in root position, but because we have two chords per measure, the second chord will not be arpegiatted in root position.  The arpeggios will be straight 8th notes, and will be as follows E-G-Bb-D-C#-A-G-E, then in the next measure, D-F-Ab-C-B-G-F-D.  We’re back to G-, so the rest of the turnaround is easy.  Second chorus is the same until we get to the second ending.  Really aim for the Bm7(b5) chord, and hit the F natural there.  E7+9 chord is a good place to show off the #9 (G natural).  Make up a nice closeing rhythm and you are done.

Now, for the piano player.  This is only a medium swing song, so if you are a good piano player, you want to play a couple of different voicings on this.  You don’t have to play the melody, so you can use both hands for chords.  The bass player plays the root, so you really want a rootless voicing.  For the +4 chords, you could choose a sort of sus voicing, where you play the sharp 4 for two beats, and then substitute the 3 for the +4 on the last two beats, or you could simply play a voicing like 7-9-3-+11 or something of the sort (the 11 is the +4).  The most important thing is that the 7 and 3 of each chord get voiced.  Why?  The 7 and 3 tell what kind of chord we have (major, dominant 7, minor, diminished, etc.)  As far as rhythm goes, any standard swing rhythm would work.  Vary rythms accordingly.  For guitar player, a Freddie Green style of strumming would work just fine.

For the bass player, you want to make sure that you hit the root on every chord.  The piano/guitar player is not playing the root, so they are using what is called a rootless voicing.  The bass can walk through most of this, but emphasizing the alterations on the chords is imperative.  For the drummer, I would recommend using brushes on this tune, but light sticks would be alright as well.  Make sure to carry the form through the song, and give a little crash to note the different sections of the song (repeat signs, 1st, 2nd ending, after each chorus).

The amazing thing about jazz is that all of the musicians have to know this and make their decisions within a few seconds.  So, that is a little demonstration of how to attack any jazz tune, and there are many far more complex than this one.  Hopefully this gives you a better appreciation for how layered the music is, and how much knowledge it takes to play these tunes.  If a jazz musician is lucky enough to have music, they have nothing more than the lead sheet, like above.  This small amount of written music allows for a greater freedom of expression and conversation between musicians, the essential elements of jazz.

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” – First Amendment to the United States Constitution

Is there anything more important to our society than the First Amendment?  I doubt it.  In order to create a society of excellence in the sciences and arts, a society must be able to express itself freely.  Imagine a society where one can not say what one wants to say, or protest.  Imagine that John Lennon’s song, “Give Peace a Chance” was never allowed to be sung.  The Vietnam War protests were perhaps the pinnacle of our first amendment rights.  Those protests tested our country, and, regardless of what your opinion of that war was, that was a movement that was the identity of a decade of our country.  Without the freedom of speech, our nation would lose its identity.  What about artists?  Musical and visual artists would certainly not journey into this nation if they were not allowed to say what they want to say.  Would we want a nation (like the USSR) that banned the Beatles?  Is that what we want to be known for?

Freedom of the Press.  Without that, I could not write this blog.  In fact, in some countries, what I am writing right now could be considered illegal.  Is that the society that we, as Americans, want?  I should hope not.  We often hear how the press is “biased” or “unfair” and that may be true.  But, that is their right, it is up to us the people to make up our own minds.  The press can say what they want to say, and they can endorse the candidates they want to endorse.  I, for one, am proud that we have people in the media that care enough about our nation to make their opinions known.

As far as freedom of religion, I am a Roman Catholic, and in many places Catholics were presecuted.  Christians have been fed to lions, people have been martyred for their faith.  I am glad that we have a nation where Catholics, Protestants, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, Agnostics, Atheists, or anyone else can have the peace of mind that our government will not persecute them based on their beliefs.  Imagine not having the right to go to Church.  Imagine having to have church in the basement of a friend’s house because the country does not allow you to worship freely.  It ain’t a pretty sight.  To be sure, religious differences cause tension from time to time.  But would we not rather have a little tension than no freedom?

The right of people to assemble peacefully is integral to our society.  Martin Luther King Jr. was permitted to speak publically, and he called attention to the problem of racism in our country, and, thankfully, we now have a society that includes people of many races, and does not exclude people due to ethnic background.  We have the right to disagree with our elected officials.  We have the right to send them home, and place the people we want in charge of our country.  We are this nation.  We are America.  We are free peoples living together.  At times there may be struggles, at times, such as now, we may have two very different political parties and ideologies, but the important thing is that we are allowed to have this debate, to have these ideas.  Sure, at times tempers may flare, and we may have some rough days, but would we really have it any other way?

RIP DT

“He was a free-spirited artist.  His playing was so tasteful, and he was such a warm and good person to be around.  What a loss.”  Singer/Songwriter Todd Snider on the loss of saxophonist Dennis Taylor

Dennis Taylor plays the saxophone on May 1, 2010, with the band Dick50 at B.B. King's Blues Club in New York City. Mr. Taylor died on Sunday at the age of 56 just prior to releasing his first solo album

On Monday, I recieved some terrible news.  At the age of 56, my saxophone teacher, Dennis Taylor, died of a heart attack while on tour with the Delbert McClinton band in Texas.  He was a very special person, and everybody loved him.  He cared very deeply for his students, and he went out of his way for them.  For me, a couple of examples come to mind.

First of all, he got me my first paying gig.  He gave me the name and number of a big band that was looking for a saxophonist, and a little over one year later, I still perform with the Merchants of Cool Big Band based out of Columbia, TN.  Along those same lines, we had a show in downtown Nashville, in Centennial Park.  Mr. Taylor asked me for the time, and he, along with his wife Karen, came out to listen to us.  I did not know this at the time, and he did not tell me this, but I found out later that he had given up a gig to come to that show.

I had my last lesson with him three days before the tragic heart attack.  He was working with me to find a studio and musicians to make my pre-screening tapes for my college auditions.  He cared so much about his students.  He was at the school concerts, honor band concerts, virtually anywhere I played.  But, more importantly, he did the little things.  He greeted everybody with a smile, he was quick with a joke, he laughed, and he was just a really kind-hearted person.  He never had an unkind word.  He was positive and encouraging, always.

He was a great musician as well.  He had been with Delbert McClinton for the last 2.5 years.  He had played on 4 Grammy nominated albums, and had recorded and toured with Eddie “The Chief” Clearwater, Buckwheat Zydeco, Delbert McClinton, Mike Ferris and many others.  He had just finished recording his first solo album.  Delbert McClinton’s newest album, Aquired Taste features a blistering saxophone solo by Mr. Taylor on the track, “People Just Love to Talk.”  That album was #1 on the Blues charts for several weeks.   Just five months ago, Mr. Taylor appeared on national radio and television as Delbert McClinton and Dick50 performed on the Imus in the Morning program on April 30, 2010.  After the final song, Mr. Taylor’s playing garnered the attention and praise of host Don Imus.  Mr. Taylor was an outstanding musician, a great teacher, a fine friend and simply a very special person.  Indeed, the world lost a great man, and we will miss him dearly.  Please keep him and his family in your prayers.

If you would like to hear some of Mr. Taylor’s playing, here is a link to a 1998 performance.

There is also a beautiful video tribute to Mr. Taylor.  It is 7 minutes long, and the sax does not come in until the 4th minute, but it is well worth it.

Nashville saxophonist Dennis Taylor poses for a picture. Mr. Taylor was known as a kind-hearted person and an outstanding musician. As bandmate Kevin McKendree said, "Dennis had an old-school kind of tone that I don't hear in anyone else's playing anymore. He knew how to make it sing."