Friday, December 19, 2008

The North Pole Toy Factory Blues...

Hear Santa's Elves at work! Catch the hustle and bustle on the Toy Factory floor! It's the North Pole Toy Factory Blues!

Thank you for listening, and Merry Christmas!


Saturday, December 13, 2008

Saturday Nigh-on Christmas Boogie

A little practice, a little weekend, a little holiday, a little boogie blues. What more couldja ask for?

Thanks for listening!


Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Snow Call - new Christmas tune in progress

Hey, Folk,

Thank you for reading & listening. This is a new Christmas tune I'm working on. I plan to add some sleigh bells, percussion, and hopefully keyboard work. Lyrics are yet to be penned, but I have a few things in mind. (I do poetry too, and plenty of it. I have over 1,500 poems up in the document library over at .)

Hope you enjoy, and Happy Holidays!


Friday, December 5, 2008

12-05-2008 Practice Session

Getting a bit quicker on the keys, more able to flow smoothly from note to note. This is good.

I still play a lot better if I'm working with another musician, but I only have a few early tracks available to distribute. I'll get them in here at some point or another.

Thanks for listening.


Wednesday, December 3, 2008

12-03-2008 Practice Session

I'm running tired but playing on - extremely busy at work & that is slowing me down a lot - but I'm still hearing incremental improvements in my playing.

Thank you for listening.


Saturday, November 29, 2008

11-30-2008 Practice Session 02

This session is what I call "playing on the edge" or "Jazzcid Rock." What I'm doing here is hitting the harmonics on the low end of the horn to get chords out of the sax. It's very tricky to hit just the right harmonic and produce a chord in the octave you want. Kind of like dancing on the head of a pin - but I was very "on" tonight and I think this tuned out fairly well. I recorded it using my Sony ICD-P620 digital recorder with the on-board mike, so the recording is low-bitrate and noisy, but the playing is some of my better practice jam. I think all-inall, you'll enjoy this.

Thank you for listening.


11-30-2008 Practice Session 01

I don't know how else to put this, but this session is a little more "Mack The Knife" - that general style - than session two, which I'll post shortly. I really felt "on" tonight.

Both of these files are a bit noisier than usual - I was using my little pocket digital recorder to get them down instead of my usual PC mike & Audacity. I tried opening the mp3 files in Audacity to clean them up, but all I was able to do with them was delete the noise at the beginning and end of each session, and amp down the levels so it's bearable on the ears.

I hope you enjoy, and thank you for listening.


Thursday, November 27, 2008

Things went good with the Keyboardist... we're going to start working together in January after the holidays. It was kind of funny, we were talking about band names, and he said "not until we earn one. Until then we can call ourselves the Two Jackasses." I love it. So it is, until we make some decent music.

The practice session here is a nice, sultry, bluesey track, with a much better reed. I'm fairly happy with it, although the one before last was probably the best reed I've ever played to date.

Enjoy, and Happy Thanksgiving.

Thank you for listening -


Tuesday, November 25, 2008

I'm going to meet a new keyboard player in the morning...

...named Scott. He's kind of a beginner musician like me, so neither of us should feel outclassed. I'm really looking forward to it. We should be meeting at Panera Bread between 09:00-10:00 or so, I'll let you know how it goes.

I also am not diggin' this new reed. It's really stiff and the sound is a little flat to me. That's part of the deal with reeds, being organic, they aren't totally consistent in quality. I'll play it out a bit more and see if it mellows, but if this keeps up I'll ditch it and move to another.

Thank you for listening.


11-25-2008 Practice Session

A bit sultry. I just put a new reed in the sax. The last reed was phenomenal, it lasted way longer than most and was very easy to play. The new one is a bit more stiff - we'll see how it goes.

Thank you for listening.


Saturday, November 22, 2008

Newer Pic of Bello...

... 2 MP image of my 1966 Selmer Bundy Tenor Sax "Bello" - serial number 411559. Also shown is my Otto Link "Super Tonemaster" brass mouthpiece. The blue box in the case is an unopened package of 2 & 1/2 Rico royal tenor sax reeds.

Jack Space And The Jazzcid Rock-it Sax Galaxy...

Jack Space And The Jazzcid Rock-it Sax Galaxy...

Jack Space was going to race,
Twice round the big Blue Moon,
'Twas a Christmas in Outer Space,
All stars were like lighted jewels.

Jack was nimble until he sat on a thimble,
Which was really an alien space suit,
He shot past Andromeda and spun on a gymbal,
Grabbing his sax made of brass he blew his horn toot-toot.

The sound was round and flew off the ground,
All aliens were fuzzy and green for the chase,
Jack got his ray gun and kept on playin' to be found,
But the green-eyed monster was too fast and they wound up in hyper space.

Next I knew the coop he flew,
Playing inside his tin can,
I stumbled and fell and tied my shoe true,
As the critics all gave Jack the pan.

Our eyes were alive as the telescopes cried,
"A galaxy shaped like a sax - I've never lied!"


By: Daniel A. Stafford
© 11/22/2008

Into The Void…

Into The Void…
I tumbled in the sea like stones and glass and shells,
Turning to sand at the shoreline,
Eaten away millimeter by inch,
Lost and out of control,
Thought that I’d been swimming.
There is no fighting the current,
The chop of a charcoal grey sky whipping water,
There is no golden goose,
There is only everyone around me swimming,
Afraid to stretch out a hand.
In the darkness of the beach the combers run in,
Silvered by the moon,
Boiling and dangerous – beautiful as time,
Entirely as deep as endless space,
What lives under the space between our ears.
Some say they have the Universe in their hip pocket,
But they haven’t spent a single day awake,
Nor ever seen the dawn rise in colored fire,
Bejeweled only to fade in an hour,
Like the shape of a cloud.
I put reed to lips and play and play,
The pearl keys and brass are fickle,
Cool to the touch like stone and stubborn,
Yet inch by inch I master it,
Until I swim away.
By: Daniel A. Stafford
© 11/22/2008

Friday, November 21, 2008

11-21-2008 Practice Session & some old sax poetry...

I had to keep it short & sweet this morning, things are busy & I think my reed is on its last legs, so I'll be changing that out later today.

*Note* - it's best to make the reed fit as precisely on the mouthpiece as you can - it makes it far easier to play and the reeds last longer. Also, you get less reeds that are "unplayable" right off the bat. Reeds being organic plant material, they are of varying quality, and should be composted when used up.

I'll also be cleaning the mouthpiece later today when I change out the reed - this needs to be done every two or three reeds, or it can get quite nasty and smell like ammonia. Organics in the saliva, don't you know? Nasty subject, but all part of proper horn maintenance.

Without further ado, here's the first poem I ever wrote about playing the sax:

Simple Brass:

The feel of it smooth in my hands,
The taste of reed in my mouth,
Some piece of life I abandoned far too long,
Battered and old,
Touches of green on gold I'll spend days,
Stressing to find the natural flow,
Remembering infancy and desperation to speak,
It's right as rain and hard as hell,
Wavering cracking squeaking,
Like a teenager trying to sing,
But none of that matters,
Not if I can strike a true note at will,
Someday I'll have different words,
The kind that don't push pictures,
But will break your heart and leave you loving it,
Simple brass but it gleams in spots,
One more bit of polish,
In every hard-earned breath.


By: Daniel A. Stafford
(C) 10/16/2003

By: Daniel A. Stafford

Author's Comments

A touch on picking back up a saxophone after 29 years. *Grin* The sax in the pic is mine - webcam shot. I decided to call it Bello - Italian for handsome and a good play on what that word would mean if it were spelled differently (add a "w") and in English. *LOL* It also takes a bit of "brass" to play it in front of others...


Words are the mind's bridge - it's connection to all the universe.
Love is the heart's bridge - it's connection to all other souls.
Loving words can work miracles.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Extra 11-20-2008 practice: "Jazzblues 2 Jazzcid Rock"

This is the full session of practice that spawned "Jazzcid Rock-it Sax." Who said insomnia from 3rd shift wasn't good for even a little sloppy creaitivity?

Thank you for listening -


Jazzcid Rock-it Sax

I did an early afternoon extra practice session, and the latter part of it sprouted this interesting creation. I call it "Jazzcid Rock." Bet you'd never have thought a 1966 student horn could do this...

I'll post the full practice session next. Wow, what a cool day.

Thanks for listening,


11-20-2008 Practice Session

11-20-2008 Practice Session.

I kept it short and on-music as best I could, it's busy right now. I think the playing is a bit tense and rushed. See what you think, but I think the energy in the environment plays into the music.

Thank you for listening -


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

So, How Did I Get Started On Sax?

(Alternatively titled "First Sax")

Well, way, waaaay back in the 6th grade, I started playing in school band. I got assigned the tenor sax because of my size, not my choice. I'd have picked alto.

Our band teacher was a guy named Jack Farina at a small-town parochial school in Wisconsin, Beloit, to be exact.

I played for about six months until my Mom ran out of money and only one of the three of us kids could play anymore. That benefit went to my sister, who won the Saxophone War of 1975. I won't go into further detail, but I was so pissed off that I didn't play again until after my Mom died. (I didn't realize that was the way it was until a year or so after I started again.) She of course QUIT a couple of years later.

In 1994, I saw a tenor sax just like what I had played in grade school in a Beloit pawn shop. That was the day I bought Bello, my 1966 Selmer Bundy, for $96.00. He promptly got stuck away in a closet for ten years. I was living in a small apartment and had no where else to play, so I figured I'd get to it "later," after I moved somewhere it wouldn't annoy the neighbors.

About two months after Mom passed away, I decided "later" was late enough, and found a part-time teacher at a local music store. My teacher was gentle about it, but my sax was really in barely-playable condition. There were dents that were causing valves not to seal all the way, the cork was glued to the inside of the antique mouthpiece, and the leather valve pads were chewed up from a past insect infestation of some sort. That was just for starters. The neck strap was also old and had a metal hook that was wearing out the strap attachment hook on the sax. So, $250.00 and two weeks later, most everything is up to snuff. There are still a few quirks, but otherwise, he plays great.

I've also invested in an upgraded mouthpiece, a nice brass Otto Link unit.

So now I've been back at it a little over five years...


Distant Dreamer Tenor Sax Track

This is the tenor track I created to go with Duffy's song "Distant Dreamer".

New Age Blues Sax - Pacha Mama Prayer

I play a 1966 Selmer Bundy (Serial number 411559). The below song was recorded using the sax and my laptop. Percussion is my hands on the table, and I'm doing vocals. The software used is Audacity & LAME MP3 encoder, both of which are free. I recorded this in three separate parts, first the saxophone, then the vocals, then the percussion. Time from melody concept to full recording was one hour. (Pacha Mama = South American equivalent to Gaia, the Earth Mother Goddess.)

(Reference: Lars Kirmser's Music Trader - Buescher / Bundy Serial Number List )

My Sax "Bello"


Bill Clinton playing Tenor Sax Blues

I Never Knew Selmer Made Amplifiers...

...but here they are:

th1.jpeg - 49Kb
Thunderbird 50 Combo, courtesy of Laszlo Szaniszlo, Nevada, USA

I've done some session work on Duffy's tunes...

...unofficially. I can't distribute the tracks, though, they're not licensed.

(Check out Duffy's Neo-soul retro sound here: - beautiful stuff. Her voice is a bit like Dusty Springfield's.)

I'll try to get the sax tracks separated out from her music and post them, but I doubt they'll sound the same without the rest of the music, especially the percussion.

I'd love to find a local band of beginners, or even some beginners online to collaborate with. Audacity makes it possible, projects can be zipped and e-mailed, then new tracks added.

Audacity can be found here:

This is a full-featured, 100% FREE, multi-track audio editor. Tracks can be exported as .wav or .mp3 .

The LAME MP3 encoder package and effects package have to be installed separately, but are fully integrated into Audacity once the installations are complete. All the download links and instructions can be found on the Audacity page.

Play on,


July 4th Tune - "Sparklers"

My new July 4th tune - "Sparklers."