New Song Preview: Bluezebub Bari Sax Demo

Autumn arrives. A week ago the kids were home visiting for the weekend, which was very nice. Michelle is doing well at college, having fun, making friends and enjoying her classes. Perhaps not surprisingly, she brought home a giant bag of laundry in lieu of luggage. Lizzy hung out with a bunch of her friends down here, and was good to see how they’re all doing too.

The weather has remained mostly mild, although we had a couple cool nights where we had to turn on the heat the next morning for a little bit. I’ve been resisting putting on the heat more than necessary, figuring this is a good time acclimatize myself to the cooler weather. Anyway we decided to take out the air conditioners this weekend, and then today got up close to 80 degrees.

Last Friday I got in a skate on my rollerblades, the third and maybe final time this season. Even though it’s been staying pretty warm, it’s getting dark earlier every day, which limits the time available to do things outside. Sunday I went for an epic bike ride thru the nature study woods, all the way to the far end and back. And I went up in weights in my workout like I’d planned. It’s been a a few weeks and feels good. So the next increase is in the offing.

I’ve been playing alot of bari sax recently. It’s been a while since the last time I took it out of the case, but I needed it for my new song Bluezebub. I spent a couple days practicing, getting my chops in shape on the horn, and then a couple sessions laying down the track. And it must say, it came out great. The horn has tone galore, and the action and intonation are better than I remember. Maybe cuz I’ve been playing more tenor then I used to before the plague times..

The bari is an old horn, a Conn 12M, which I brought from my brother years ago. He always considered it less than a pro-level horn, probably because Conn saxes were not particularly well regarded in the 1980s when we were students, and it is a big beast to manage. But I googled it, and the 12M is actually considered and all-time classic with a lineage dating back the 1930’s, the big sister of the legendary “Naked Lady” 8M tenor. The one I have was built in the 1960s, before production moved to Mexico, and has a giant fancy engraving on the bell that includes the words “Elkhart Indiana U.S.A.”. Everything about the horn, the pads and springs and all, are in great shape. My only real complaint this the thumbrest is not so comfortable. The mouthpiece is a hard rubber Otto Link btw, a great paring. So tone galore. And now it’s back in its case until next time I write a song with a baritone sax part. Unless maybe I can find a horn section band.

Meanwhile I really dig the way the bari part came out, so here’s a preview, without the other saxes and synthesizers, of the first half or so of the song. Enjoy!

What’s Going On

Things have been mellow lately. The kids are out of the house, and my main contract gig ended a little while back, so there’s less to do than usual while I line up a new gig. Last year at this time I was building a patio, but right now there’s no need for any big home improvement projects. We’re kinda in the middle of defragging the house, but that’s slow going. We’ve been thinking, mostly idly, about getting some new furniture. The world is still under a pandemic, so it’s not a great time for any epic travel adventures. We do have a few mini road trips coming up, but I’m hesitant to do anything that involves air travel nowadays.

I’ve bee updating my web site, including my online software projects portfolio ( So far alot of it has been invisible, behind-the-scenes stuff, but there’s some new content too. More stuff is in the offing, so stay tuned for future updates.

Been working on the Global Jukebox ( too, and in fact we just did a push to live a couple weeks ago. There’s also another site for The Association for Cultural Equity called The Alan Lomax Digital Archive ( The site is pretty much what the name implies with lots field recordings, films, radio shows, etc. plus a section of curated exhibits. The site is built in Drupal, and most of the work involves styling and skinning, plus a few UI widgets. The workflow is pretty convoluted, since the site is not under source control and there’s no dev instance nor any way to deploy a local version. A large part of the early phase of the project was setting up a pipeline were I could do chunks of work locally, rapidly deploy and test, and roll back if things didn’t look or behave as expected. Now things are pretty much humming along, but there’s gotchas at every turn.

Although the heat of summer is gone and suntanning season is over, the weather has remained quite mild and pleasant into mid-October. We’ve yet to turn on the heat or even take out the air conditioners, but the days are really getting shorter faster these days. I’ve been going for walks in the nearby field alot, and Jeannie and I even got in a good hike last weekend, up Mount Hook in the Palisades. I’ve also been biking about twice a week on average, once on the streets and once in the Nature Study Woods. I still want to get back on my rollerblades a third time before the end of the season. I went up in weights recently in me workout, and added back in tricep curls. I’m still 5 lbs. short of my goal for the year, and hope to go up one more time, but it gets harder when the weather turns cold, so I better do it soon.

In music, I’ve been working on a new song Bluezebub (The Devil You Don’t Know). This is the last song on my upcoming Computer Jazz record I’ve been working on since the start of the pandemic. It’s a sort of 60’s spy-jazz meets King Crimson vibe, in 5/4 time with a sort fugue-like riff structure for the first half, a crazy uptempo jam in the middle, and then an elaboration and recapitulation to end it all off. I have the whole arrangement worked out, and have tracked the drums, fender bass, synth bass, and fender rhodes piano, and have sketched midi tracks for the horns and lead synth. Yesterday I broke out my bari sax to attempt to lay down the part, only to realize that I better write it out first and practice it a few times, so that’s next.

I’ve been a bit of a Beatles phase lately, as I tend to do every few years. This time I created and printed out lead sheets for a whole bunch of their songs , as part of my ongoing songbook project. Most of the stuff from the first half of their career is to play on guitar. Turns out they’re mostly pretty easy and really fun to play, and full of little twists and tricks and tight arrangements. If only I knew someone who like to sing harmony. Their later songs are mainly to work up piano, with a focus on maximum psychedelia such as Strawberry Fields Forever and I Am the Walrus, plus some not-quite-rock Paul songs.

The jazz group is humming along, although I haven’t had any luck getting gigs, and admittedly I haven’t been trying very hard. Also keeping an eye out for the opportunity to form a new rock group, although there’s not much movement there either.