Friday, January 30, 2004 - Create A Band Online - Create A Band Online - Wow! This is a very cool and creative offering!

One note: the band did seem to fall apart after about 5 minutes of jamming without switching loops. Ah, but that's entirely forgivable as it happens all the time with most "real" bands anyway!

My highest recommendations to - well done!

Rob Birdwell

Wednesday, January 28, 2004


JAZZ MUSICIANS' PROTOCOL (by Ken Watters) - a very nice reminder list - after reading through this I found myself saying "opps" as I've stepped in a couple of these blunders once or twice (especially playing a solo again after I've already taken one! nothing like trying to redeem oneself - some of that may be slightly forgiveable though, depending on the venue, audience, or lack of one!). I loved the suggestion about trying not to develop a contempt for the audience - ha!

Wise words of advice and insight for the working musician - and not just Jazz musician - I think these comments and advice are applicable to just about all gigging musicians regardless of the style of music they play.

Rob Birdwell

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

iRiver iHP 140 Jukebox

iRiver iHP-140 Jukebox - I've been looking long and hard at the specs on various Jukebox audio (MP3) player/recorders. I had a brief moment to experience the iRiver iHP-140 for myself and was impressed with its sleek look, small size, great sound and it's amazing features, especially the ability to copy files without any special software (just drag and drop your audio library/files to the HD via USB), and ease of navigation options.

The iRiver iHP 140 looks very promising, especially for a musician who currently records gigs with a MiniDisc unit. Although I'll need a powered mic, it just may be possible to take this unit to gigs. The built in mic seemed plenty good to my fairly discriminating ear. Like MD recording units it seemed to be picking up everything (room/computer noise) - nothing like listening to one's own music library, only to be inspired. What a great way to capture those little hummers of ideas (that's how I do a lot of writing, by singing riffs, licks and often strange musical fragments into my cell phone voice notes - one can't have enough devices to capture those fleeting gems!).

The key purchase points for me (and I haven't purchased yet but will strongly consider it) are ease of use/reliability, storage capacity (40 GB seems pretty good), ability to record audio, small size. This device meets those demands with high marks - plus it sports the ability to navigate in a way that works best for me, either from the ID3 tag data, or by the file folder, and I believe by various other categories. Nice. The FM radio is also nice. The optical IN and OUT are very nice. Noticing a theme here?

The price (rhymes with "nice" but currently around $450 US, or maybe even a bit higher as of this writing) is probably worth it. But when the price comes down (hopefully), that will be even nicer!

However, it's time for me to hang hang up my red sweater, take off my white sneakers and head up to bed...please sing along with me:

"Would you be mine, could you be mine - won't you jukebox!?"

Rob Birdwell

Wednesday, January 14, 2004

Fixing scratched CDs

Fixing scratched CDs - I found this article to be interesting. I presently have a CD of music tracks and backups that I can't access! ARG! I'm going to try this for one of the less important CDs to see if I can recover the data!

Tuesday, January 13, 2004

Clinic with Bobby Shew

Clinic with Bobby Shew - this is a good article. I'm especially interested in the reference to the yoga book, "The Science of Breath."

Yep, air, air air.

Friday, January 09, 2004

Musical Web Jam over the Internet

Web-jam - over the holiday break I've had a bit of time to enjoy myself, time with family, and even time to practice (I love to practice, really!). Over the holiday (December 27, 2003) I was thinking how cool it would be to jam with friends or other kindred spirits on-line. The trouble with that, besides time zone, stylistic, and language logistics, is that musical "jams" are often fleeting. When playing or rehearsing in person we have the liberty of eye contact, dialog, etc. So although in-person is the way to go, the mere idea of being able to play with musicians around the world is enticing.

Undaunted, I found a place to Web Jam! I navigated to The Web Jam site (a German site with parts in English) and dowloaded the backing track, got out my flugelhorn, loaded up SONAR 2, and began the process of jamming along.

I emailed a link to my MP3 file (it was about 8 mb) and the result, after some very nice mixing by the "Web Jam Master," was this groovy little Web Jam Mix with Rob's Flugelhorn!

I really liked the backing track chord changes - they were challenging to play over and that made it fun too. I'd like to produce some play along tracks like this too and host some of my own web jams or whatever I end up calling them. Meanwhile, I'll look foward to the next Web Jam offering to hear how the tune evolves.

Rob Birdwell