Masters Of Pocket Sax

After somewhat of a round the world trip, I have finally began to gather a collection of Pocket Sax Masters. I will no doubt be updating this playlist as time goes by.

Herewith, a ‘pocket saxophonist’ is the term given to a most talented Xaphoonist who’s sound is almost en par with that of a larger Sax.

Whence reading my blog you will know, I have spoken many times about how true virtuoso Xaphoonists are very hard to find.

They are more precious than star dust.

Therefore, it was only inevitable that I would eventually begin searching the endless vaults of recordings, in the hope to start compiling a playlist of Pocket Sax Masters, those of whom have truly began to take hold of the heavens and channel this truly special instrument’s secret divine heart.

There are of course, many talented Xaphoonists out there, yet my excuse for not including them is purely a consequence of musical arrangement or presentation, rather than any absence of talent.

Also, whilst a Xaphoonist of good calibre may impress in one aspect, for example fluidity of scales, he or she may be weaker in another aspect, for example maturity of voice.

Of course, the Xaphoon as I have written often, harbours a rich diversity of voices, such as like Trumpet, Clarinet, Oboe, Sax and even Armenian Duduk. Yet the instrument itself requires a translator of its soul. Its disposition is of a linguistic unorthodoxy, as opposed to any social illegitimacy.

Thus, when addressing one as a Pocket Sax Master, I am saying the performer has acquired a substantial understanding of how the Xaphoon itself wishes to be interpreted and translated to the listener.

It cries, “My body may be finite, but my soul is eternal.”

Indeed thence, as time goes by and existing novices become more adept at their craft, I expect not only to find more and more quality performances, but much, much more well practised individuals who have truly taken The Art Of Pocket Sax unto another musical dimension.

Please enjoy.

Stranded In Sweethaven

This is a song I wrote for Blues Harp, composed to the tune of Popeye. It is completely Ad Libitum, as most blues harmonica songs are.

Chorus

Well I’m stranded and I’ve got the blues,
Well I’m stranded and I’ve got the blues,
Can somebody ship me over to Sidney,
‘Cos I’m stranded and I’ve got the blues.

~ 4 bar harp solo ~

Vrs 1

Well I’ve met Dwongo d’Orangutan,
Well I’ve met Dwongo d’Orangutan,
He don’t need pyjamas ‘cos he eats bananas,
Yeah I’ve met Dwongo d’Orangutan,

~ 2 bar harp solo ~

Well I’ve met Isac The Third the Parrot,
Well I’ve met Isac The Third the Parrot,
He keeps all his feathers whatevers the weathers,
Yeah I’ve met Isac The Third the Parrot.

~ 2 bar harp solo ~

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Psax Advice: Low C & High DEF Resonance

Xaphoon Fingering Chart
Xaphoon Fingering Chart
When learning to play any reed instrument, inevitably one will stumble into obstacles like squeaks, silences and unwelcome vibrations.

Most of these things are regular novice issues which can be researched and remedied easily enough.

When it comes to the Pocket Sax however, there are a handful of hurdles remaining on the horizon even whence one has acquired a good grasp of the instrument.

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Xaphoon by Zariah

Xaphoon by Zariah ArtHere is a wonderful painting created by a female artist in Maui, Hawaii, who goes by the name Zariah.

As far as I am aware, this piece is actually called “Riddle”, but what draws one’s attention is the unique instrument tucked under the boy’s arm.

Without doubt, a Xaphoon, since the artist herself is from the exact same region where Brian Wittman invented it back in 1972.

This picture is actually a cropping of a much larger work of art, featuring this loveable but mischievous boy, having a laugh amongst the gardens with his friends.

Strikingly, he reminds me of Peter Pan, yet more to the point, if the Pocket Sax had actually been invented during J.M. Barrie’s lifetime, would the Xaphoon have then been the actual flute of Peter Pan?

Looks fairly conclusive to me.

Zariah Art

Djolomyga ~ Ukrainian Double Flute

Djolomyga ~ Ukrainian Double Flute
The beautiful Djolomyga is a double fipple flute of the Ukraine and features 13 holes.
When somebody tells you they play the Flute, one immediately imagines the shiny transverse type seen throughout Western orchestras.

Yet it would literally blow your mind to know that in the far reaches of all the Earth, there are in existence, uncountable different kinds of flutes, the sounds of which are beyond the imagination.

This Note section of my blog will as time progresses, be detailing many of these flutes. Indeed, in this blog I will make you believe a flute to be as powerful as thunder.

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Ktak ~ Cajon By Kandu

Ktak ~ Cajon By Kandu
The good Ktak is available in many colours.
Behold, for it is here.

Hand percussion is by far my favourite of all percussive styles, not least for its immensely expressive nature and all round versatility.

Ever since my first pair of Bongos I have been researching endless kinds of hand percussion.

Yet in truth, I have been searching this past decade for one particular kind of drum that would provide every characteristic I desired.

I was looking for a wooden box, yet also an Udu jug… I was looking for a snare yet also a thumping bass… I was looking for portability yet also presence… basically I was looking for the Ktak.

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Kalimbawu ~ Chromatic Thumb Piano

Kalimbawu By Simon Jepps
The Kalimbawu or Double Kalimba
It took a long time, but in the end my years of research, pouring over numerous photos of various different kinds of thumb pianos eventually paid off.

Here is my invention, the Kalimbawu.

It gets its name by borrowing the term “Ba wu” from the Chinese flute of that name, meaning “him” and “her”.

Whilst not a reed instrument, the metal tongues of the Kalimba do resemble the shape of the Bawu flute’s reed. Also as I will explain, the Kalimbawu features two voices, one male and one female.

If that’s not an excuse, the word just works!

The Kalimba, also referred to as a “thumb piano”, is a modern variant of the African Mbira, developed by Hugh Tracey and which features a Westernised tuning system.

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