Category Archives: News

Transcribed: The Go! Album (Part 6 of 6) Dexter Gordon – Three O’Clock In the Morning

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It’s time to wrap this series up and put a bow on it. Rounding out Dexter Gordon’s GO! album is “Three O’Clock In The Morning.” The song was written by Spanish-Argentinian composer Julián Robledo in 1919 and was popularized in the United States by Paul Whiteman in 1922. The song has been recorded numerous times by artists ranging from Harry James to Lou Rawls (my 2nd favorite version next to Dexter’s).  Although the song was originally written as a waltz in three-four time, nowadays it’s typically played in four-four.

In Dexter’s recording, it begins with the piano quoting the chimes of London’s Big Ben clock. Many listeners, myself included, would think this is a nod to the intro of “If I Were A Bell” from Miles Davis’ Relaxin’ With The Miles Davis Quintet album (recorded 1956, released 1958). Both recordings use the Big Ben motif, but the 1922 Paul Whiteman recording also does.

When Dexter enters with the melody, the rhythm section is playing in two. On the second half of the tune, the rhythm section switches to playing in four and they stay there through until Dexter restates the second half of the melody at the end.

I don’t have a lot to say about Dexter’s solo. It is a textbook example of his playing. There are musical quotes, strong bebop vocabulary, he’s playing behind the beat, and most of the notes are tongued.

I hope you have enjoyed this series on Dexter Gordon’s GO! album. I learned and then wrote out these solos a few years ago. It’s been nice to revisit them and to share them with you.

Currently, I am learning John Coltrane’s solo on “Tenor Madness.” I’m in the early stages of that and it will be a while before I write it down.

In other news, a new EP titled shä brē el by Las Vegas artist Sabriel (The title is her name spelled phonetically.) is set for release next week. I played tenor saxophone on it and wrote the horn arrangement for the song “Garden.” It’s definitely worth a listen (or many!).

Dirty Horn = Potential Health Risk









I ran across a story on the NPR site yesterday that really grabbed my attention. The title was:

Think Music Heals? Trombone Player Begs To Differ

The basic gist of the story was that this trombone player was chronically ill due to mold and bacteria that were growing inside his horn. This may sound like an isolated incident, but scientists running an experiment prompted by this case found that every instrument they tested had some form of contamination.

For saxophone players, there are a few things you can do to maintain good saxophone hygiene.

1. Clean your mouthpiece.

  • You can use a mouthpiece brush to get out any particles that are left behind after playing.
  • You can also let your mouthpiece soak in hydrogen peroxide. This can be really gross if you haven’t cleaned out your mouthpiece for a while, but also has a fun, science fair quality to it.
  • You can use soap and lukewarm water. Be careful to avoid hot water with hard rubber mouthpieces. The hot water can cause discoloration and you’ll end up with a green or brown mouthpiece.

2. Clean your neck.

  • You can use a neck brush (a trumpet snake would probably also work) to remove particles. You could also put soapy water on the brush and scrub the inside of the neck.
  • You can put hydrogen peroxide in the neck and let it soak for a few minutes. Be sure to put a piece of tape over the octave pip if you do this.

3. Clean your reeds.

  • Wipe excess moisture off of reeds (on both sides) after playing.
  • Dispose of reeds that have any mold on them.
  • Soak reeds in a 50%-50% solution of water and hydrogen peroxide. This will get the reed clean, but it will play softer afterwards.

4. Clean the body

  • Run a swab through the body of your saxophone after you finish playing.
  • If you have a shove-it (those fuzzy things that people put in their horns), put it in the horn to remove moisture and then take it out. Storing shove-its in the horn keeps that moisture in your horn, which is exactly what you’re trying to avoid.
  • Wipe down the exterior of the horn with a soft cloth.


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Musical Instrument Carry-On Provision tucked into FAA Bill



Click here to read the story from AFM Local 802 (NYC).

Traveling with an instrument has been daunting for a long time. The fear of being stopped somewhere between the ticket counter and the plane and told you have to check your prized (and very delicate) possession has been great. Hopefully a lot of that fear can be alleviated with the Congress’s passage of the new FAA bill. It appears that as long as your instrument will fit under the seat, in the overhead compartment, or in a storage locker in the cabin, you can bring it on with you. There is also a provision for larger instruments, but people wishing to travel with those instruments in the cabin would still be required to purchase an additional seat for that instrument.

This is all to be taken with a hint of caution, for now. On the page I linked to above, you can get a .pdf summary of the part of the bill that relates to instruments. In that summary, there’s a section at the bottom that says:

“Not later than 2 years after the date of enactment of this section, the Secretary shall issue final regulations to carry out subsection (a).”

Subsection (a) is the part of the bill that describes the policy for bringing and stowing instruments in the cabin of a plane. This is a victory for working and traveling musicians everywhere, but it may be a while before we are guaranteed this right.