RIP: Not Something I Counted On

black ribbon, RIPWhen I started the Bassic Sax Blog back in 2008, I did so on the advice of my neurologist. She thought it would be a good exercise for me to see if I could do something each day that resembled work, in an effort to see when, or if, I could ever get back to my pre-illness level of information processing and functioning. As it turned out, that was not meant to be, but a pleasant side-effect of this neurologist-recommended exercise was this weblog.

Over the years as this portion of my website has grown, it developed into a mini-saxophone forum of sorts that has attracted the attention of a great many players from around the world. Many subscribe to my blog, and many regulars post to exchange ideas within the comments section.

It is in and through the comments section that I have had the opportunity to meet some of nicest and kindest players ever in my 30+ years as a saxophonist. The players I’ve had exchanges with range from beginners to  professionals whose names are on the tips of everyone’s tongue.

The Bassic Sax Blog really did catch the eye of sax players from around the world, but one thing I never counted on was that some players who participated in this little community were going to die. I realize this sounds ridiculous—especially if you consider that I used to be a paramedic, and that I used to deal with life and death situations on a daily basis at work. However, that was then; this is now. I run a saxophone website now, and I really don’t go about my day to day life thinking about people dying off.

Yesterday I got an eBay notification about a B&S Medusa tenor saxophone. As I read the description of the horn I started to get a sick feeling in my stomach, then I got to the sentence that read:

He was a regular commentor on Bassic.Sax an info blog. “Sam”

silver saxophone, B&S Medusa tenor sax, saxophone bell, German saxophone

Sam Netherland’s B&S Medusa tenor Source: royalpawn on eBay.com

The Sam who owned this horn was Sam Netherland. I remember talking with him about it. It was one of two horns he owned that I was interested in. Even though it was not for sale at the time, if I had wanted to buy it, he would have sold it to me.

Sam and I exchanged emails and Christmas cards, and we learned a fair amount about each other. I knew his cancer had come back. Then one day his emails stopped. I feared the worst. This morning I was able to search out his obit and found this:

SAMMY LEE NETHERLAND “Sam”

Passed away January 16, 2013 in Alexandria, VA. A resident of Dale City, Sam was a veteran of the United States Navy. He was an avid golfer and reader; loved dogs, especially his bulldogs; all music and playing jazz saxophone; and an excellent cook. Sam is preceded in death by his son, Russell Netherland; and his parents, Albert Netherland and Claudia Lewis. He is survived by his loving wife Carlotta “CAsey” Netherland, and step sisters, Kathy Oglesby of Baton Rouge, LA and Peggy Norman of Auburn, AL. In lieu of flowers, the family requests a donation to Capital Caring Hospice www.capitalcaring.org ;

A celebration of Sam’s Life will take place on Friday, January 25, 2013 at 11 a.m. with family receiving friends beginning at 10 a.m. Inurnment immediately following service at Quantico National Cemetery, Triangle, VA. Services entrusted to Mountcastle Turch Life Celebration Home 4143 Dale Blvd., Dale City, VA 703.680.1234

RIP Sam

Your saxophonic thoughts and words continue to live on through the Bassic Sax Blog.

Sam wasn’t the only member of the Bassic Sax Blog who we lost. It was nearly a year ago that both Monty Mac’s wife and daughter posted comments on this site informing me that Monty had passed away. Unfortunately I have never been able to find an online funeral announcement or obit.

The eerie thing about Monty’s passing was that he had posted a comment to this site just hours before his death. (Scroll up to see it.)

Monty and I exchanged emails regularly, and just weeks before his death he had offered to machine a custom right thumb rest for my Martin Committee III baritone. That’s just the kind of guy he was. Monty really was one of the kindest souls I have had the pleasure of meeting through my adventures in online saxophone-land.

RIP Monty

Your saxophonic thoughts and words too continue to live on through the Bassic Sax Blog.

I must admit reading about Sam’s death hit me rather hard yesterday. Although it didn’t come as a shock like Monty’s did nearly a year ago, both men were electronic pen pals of mine who I shared a lot in common with. Truth be told, I had more in common with Sam and Monty than I do with many of the friends I spend a lot of time with.

When my friends ask me why I continue to work on my website, and do what I do, I have a number of answers for them. However, one thing that I never mention, and usually don’t consider, is the connections I make and the people I get to meet in the process. As saxophone players we share a special bond.

…this is just my blog. My “real” website is www.bassic-sax.info. If you’re looking for sax info, you should check it out too.There’s lots there!

Atlantic Jazz: Saxophones

It has been a while since I have seen an interesting album cover. Then this morning I happened across Atlantic Jazz: Saxophones, a compilation recording of some of the 20th century’s best jazz sax players.

Atlantic Jazz: Saxophones, album cover, jazz album, retro album cover art, 1993, Rhino Records
Source: amazon.com

Atlantic Jazz: Saxophones was originally released by Rhino Records in 1993. It includes the following tracks and artists…

Track Listing

Title/Composer Performer Time
1 If I Loved You

Oscar Hammerstein II / Richard Rodgers

Rahsaan Roland Kirk 8:50
2 Freedom Jazz Dance

Eddie Harris

Eddie Harris 9:39
3 Willow Weep for Me

Ann Ronell

David “Fathead” Newman 4:56
4 Russell and Eliot

Yusef Lateef

Yusef Lateef 4:47
5 Lorelei’s Lament

Hank Crawford

Hank Crawford 5:36
6 Confirmation

Charlie Parker

Sonny Stitt 4:35
7 Giant Steps

John Coltrane

John Coltrane 4:43
8 Lonely Woman

Ornette Coleman

Ornette Coleman 4:59
9 Forest Flower: Sunrise

Charles Lloyd

Charles Lloyd 7:17
10 Forest Flower: Sunset

Charles Lloyd

Charles Lloyd 10:19

The following is the AllMusic Review by Heather Phares:

Atlantic Jazz: Saxophones gathers some of the label’s most memorable sax performances, including a live version of Rahsaan Roland Kirk‘s “If I Loved You,” John Coltrane‘s “Giant Steps,” Ornette Coleman‘s “Lonely Woman,” Yusef Lateef‘s “Russell and Eliot,” and Hank Crawford‘s “Lorelei’s Lament.” Sonny Stitt, Eddie Harris, Charles Lloyd, and David “Fathead” Newman. Atlantic Jazz: Saxophones works as a fine companion piece to Rhino’s Atlantic reissues, featuring definitive cuts from the trad jazz, bop, and free jazz saxophonists that defined the label’s historic roster.

To get a feeling of what the album is about, here is Confirmation performed by Sonny Stitt.

If this compilation is something that you’d like to add to your collection, you can find both new and used CDs on Amazon.com. If you like to download your music, you might be able to find a site to do so. I didn’t really look into it. The sites I was on didn’t offer any download options.

In any event, Atlantic Jazz: Saxophones has a really interesting retro album cover that reminds us of the time when many of the tunes were first hip, and didn’t speak to the masses. While our instrument might have been the king of cool, the music it was often used to play spoke to intellectuals or to free thinkers, who hadn’t been swayed by the pablum-serving mass music market.

…this is just my blog. My “real” website is www.bassic-sax.info. If you’re looking for sax info, you should check it out too.There’s lots there!

Alto Bamboo Sax For Sale

Yesterday I spotted an interesting alto bamboo sax on eBay. This horn caught my eye because it looked very good, and not primitively made like some we sometimes see pop up around the ‘Net.

bamboo saxophone, wooden sax, DIY saxophone, alto bamboo sax

Source: viboo.2015 on eBay.com

Over the 7+ years that I have been writing regular articles for my website, I have come across many examples of bamboo saxophones. That said, this is perhaps the nicest-looking, working version that I have seen for sale on eBay.

Compared to other bamboo saxophones that we have seen, this alto bamboo sax looks like the Cadillac or Mercedes Benz edition of the instrument. Compare/contrast it to the $50 version that Malcolm, the saxophone busker from Mexico, was selling to tourists, and you’ll immediately spot some pretty big differences.

To my eye this horn looked familiar, so I poured through the various articles I had already published on bamboo saxophones, and came across this one from May 20, 2011. The artisan who built it, Waiboon Tungyuenyong, was featured in an article on the CNN International Edition’s Travel section on May 19, 2011.

I’m quite unclear who is actually selling this alto bamboo sax on eBay. Is it Waiboon Tungyuenyong himself? I don’t think so. Is it someone doing it on his behalf? Possibly. Or is it someone trying to make a buck off Tungyuenyong’s work? Quite likely.

The seller states the following in the eBay ad copy:

….I tried many years to find the unique music instrument style to be a gift for my dad who is the music lover and like to collect the unique products.  I’m most delighted to find the Bamboo Saxophone Craftsman.  I had immediately requested him to produced Bamboo Saxophone for me.  He made by order with delicate step by step for each piece.  I’m sure that my dad will enjoy and very happy to see my special gift on his coming birthday.

This is a good chance for you to get the special experience like me. If you’re interest, I will take a good care to deliver to you.

One thing is for certain, the eBay price for this alto bamboo sax is certainly higher than the one cited in the CNN article. There the cost of the horn was shown to be 5,000 baht, which, according to xe.com, would be $141.86 US today.

True, the eBay sale offers a stand, and it’s unclear if the price mentioned in the CNN article included one, but I can’t see why a stand should drive the price up $253.14 over the opening bid price—let alone $378.14 over the BIN price. ($395.00 and $520.00 respectively.) If the money was going to Waibon Tungyuenyong it would be one thing, but based on the auction description, it sounds like someone else is making the money.

Pix of the alto bamboo sax made by Waiboon Tungyuenyong

The full auction description:

Rare Premium BAMBOO SAXOPHONE ALTO
Thai Handcraft Music Instrument Collection
By The First Bamboo Saxophone Man in Thailand and Asia

Product Description:-

Material             Selected premium grade of Bamboo
Weight               light weight only 1.2 Kilogram
Key                     G
Sound                 Nice sound like Flute recorder
Shape                 Very professional, look smart and beautiful
Best for             The Beginner, The Musician, The Collecton
Promotion: Buy 1 Bamboo Saxophone now  GET FREE full set of 4 design accessories (value $160)

(1)   Mouthpiece case                                                Cost  $10

(2)  Saxophone bag handmade                                   Cost  $60

(2)  Design Stand showcase (can perform part)        Cost  $75

(3)  Fingering chart                                                  Cost  $15

History of Bamboo Saxophone

Bamboo saxophone model premium collection is produce by the only one Bamboo Saxophone Man in Thailand, Mr.Wiboon Tangyuenyong, who invent this innovation musical instrument by himself from the real bamboo more than 15 years.  He has a dream to build them using a unique material and easy to play, like a recorder.  He tried for more than 3-4 years to create this innovation thing. He made a working bamboo saxophone like this.   The most difficult challenging process was how to make it sound like a real saxophone.  At the first time, he was tune with his ear and a piano but now he uses a digital tuner.  It is most the reliable way to tune the saxophone.

It takes approximate 3 months to prepare the raw bamboo material, grilled over charcoal to dry it, cut and rest it until ready to use, and take more 10 days to complete construction of 1 delicate bamboo saxophone.  So it’s unique, awesome and very limited edition.

His bamboo saxophone is very interesting from many musicians, music lovers, collectors and medias from many countries.  There are TV channels and newspapers had visited him to interviewed and see the real product as you can see in VDO clip.  Many people brought it before back to their countries.  It is a lighter weight more than the metal saxophone but nice sound like Flute Recorder.

I tried many years to find the unique music instrument style to be a gift for my dad who is the music lover and like to collect the unique products.  I’m most delighted to find the Bamboo Saxophone Craftsman.  I had immediately requested him to produced Bamboo Saxophone for me.  He made by order with delicate step by step for each piece.  I’m sure that my dad will enjoy and very happy to see my special gift on his coming birthday.

This is a good chance for you to get the special experience like me.  If you’re interest, I will take a good care to deliver to you.

Let’s start testing the masterpiece premium product from Thailand – awesome BAMBOO SAXOPHONE limited edition.

If this alto bamboo sax floats your boat, you have to be prepared to bid at least $395.00! The BIN price for this horn is $520.00! :nuclear:  As I stated above, if the money was going to the artisan himself it would be one thing, but it seems possible that someone else is making the extra money.

The auction for this alto bamboo sax is scheduled to run until August 23—unless someone exercises the BIN option. What are the chances of that? IMHO, slim to none, but hey, I’ve been wrong before. Go ahead, prove me wrong. :P

Do check out this video of Wiboon Tungyuenyong. It is a story that really is worth watching. I would buy a horn from the man himself. I’d like to try out a bari. I think that would be fun.

…this is just my blog. My “real” website is www.bassic-sax.info. If you’re looking for sax info, you should check it out too.There’s lots there!