Introduction To A Sax Player

Introduction to a Sax Player


Hello yes, my name is Brady. I play the saxophone in Bes, as well as any other instruments I need to play that I can play. I’ve been known to play clarinet, bass clarinet, flute, trombone, trumpet, and drums. This post is an introduction to a sax player.
Introduction to a sax player bradyI have an oboe right now but there is no reed, so I haven’t learned it yet. I’ll get a reed soon.
Writing music is bonkers to me. Guitar was my very first instrument, but I was 8 when I tried to learn it and I had a terrible time. 17 years have past and I have patiently upheld my tradition of being inept at playing chord instruments. This has been a major force preventing me from composing music, because when you only play single-note instruments like most wind instruments, you can’t effectively realize a chord.


However, I have also been learning and playing jazz music for about 15 years. The beginning of this journey coincided with my switch from clarinet to saxophone, around the time I began taking private lessons. Jazz is a language within a language, its own sort of exclusive dialect inside of music as a whole. A central goal to most jazz musicians is musical liberation, which means in order to be able to improvise fluently and express yourself to your fullest potential, you need to master not only your instrument but the music theory you seek to interpret using that instrument.
I like to think of my journey as a jazz musician as a sort of lifelong big bang taking place in my brain for this reason– I rationalize things more creatively and methodically than I probably would have without if jazz hadn’t started this mental demolition/rebuilding process 15 years ago. In this way, jazz has been a boon to my ability to compose.

Throwing Spaghetti

Now when I go to write music, whether it be a song, a part in a song, or helping someone else construct their part in a song, I usually come at it from an erratic, creative angle. I often use the expression “throwing spaghetti at the wall and seeing what sticks” because it reflects my artistic process with disturbing accuracy.
This presents some challenges in progressive music, a genre often characterized by willful sidestepping of what’s expected or intuitive. Working out a part is a tedious process because I tend to try things out before taking the time to think about them, in spite of the focus and thought the music demands. My approach as a writer in Bes is evolving towards greater patience and intentionality, because taking months to assemble a part for one song gets very exhausting.
As a saxophonist in a prog rock band, I fill an odd role. As many saxophonists have in the past 40 or so years, I often find myself assuming the responsibilities of a lead guitarist. Bronson writes parts that are intricate in both harmony and rhythm, only occasionally leaving himself room to incorporate melodies into his playing. Since his parts are the backbone of most of our songs, I try to complement them and create melodic bridges between words and sections. Many rock saxophonists whose playing I’ve enjoyed and found effective seem to do this.


That’s the essence of what I do in Bes. Our music is eclectic, so I struggle to be precise when describing the band and my role in it. If what I wrote seems vague or contrived, that might be why. Thanks for reading it and I hope the world makes a little more sense to you now. This has been an introduction to a sax player in a prog rock band.


EDM Sub-genre Greatness

“Anyone with a laptop can make music.”

This is true. ANYONE with a PHONE can make music. Too many phone applications for recording/mixing are available in the google or apple store; FREE ones. Making music (EDM) can be as easy as click, drag and drop. Will it be GOOD music? That is subject to opinion, but it more than likely isn’t that good. Art takes time.  Generally this craft is more appealing when the creators have some kind of musical background outside of the the computer.Laptop

In the surge of music producers dominating Soundcloud there are a few artists that are making more unique or classy tunes. Honestly the producers and musicians in this vein of music are a dime a dozen; I have my favorites (Lophiile… Kozmo… Knife Party/Pendulum or Infected Mushroom to name aBass guitar Stand-up Bass few.)
Once you get a bit deeper into the computer generated music sub-genres you’ll have some seriously interesting finds. Caravan Palace is one of the most dance-able acts I’ve found. This music is called “Electro-Swing.” Caravan Palace combines Electro-Swing with Gypsy Jazz and old style singing/mixing. Granted, a lot of the recordings are done with synths and drum-pads… most of what you’ll hear is a real musician.
The main vocalist uses two microphones. One with an old-timey mix and one with a more modern or live sound. The Violin, guitar, bass and key players all support her with backup vocals. It is seriously one of the coolest shows I’ve seen. (bring your dancing shoes)
Ever since I’ve discovered this band a good 4 years ago I’ve been SCROUNGING the internet for similar music. Similar in that I wanted EDM blended with sub-genres that was ALSO played by real musicians. Caravan Palace, unfortunately, is one of the best in their respective genre. There are a few others that are still worth mentioning, however. Parov Stelar. The Correspondents. Etc etc.
The whole subculture of the 1930-1940’s swing revival is thriving and is one of the most exciting things to be happening. In fact, something I find to be interesting is that in the 90’s we saw some big band/swing brass bands come up and jam on the radio. Bands like Cherry Poppin’ Daddy’s and Big Bad Voodoo Daddy had their run but that scene didn’t last forever. Here it is again. Swing is coincidentally… swinging back into our culture again and again. It won’t stay, like everything… but I don’t doubt it’ll be back again.
I can’t stop dancing.
-Bronson Bragg
About The Author: Bronson writes and plays for the Progressive Rock band Bes. He also writes a wide variety of music for personal development. Being a full-time musician, Bronson occasionally writes opinion pieces and articles on multiple platforms and websites. check out his band Bes. They offer free downloads of their music.

Getting Paid In Exposure Bucks!

Being an independent musician I sure do have some stories.

   Being an independent musician I sure do have some stories. The general opinion is that independent musicians are broke. Some of us know how to market ourselves as a business and treat our craft as a source of money.
   If I am not mistaken 7 billion other people agree with me when I say money IS important. Money exists. In fact money is a fantastic idea that allows people to be universal in our currencies. In other words… Best Buy probably isn’t interested in accepting 450 fresh eggs in exchange for an Xbox One.
   Now that we’re chin-deep in this system we have two options. If it is possible to offer and exchange of SERVICES or GOODS then that’ll be pretty rad. I’ve traded my time for the time of an accountant. Ended up saving me 1000’s of dollars and everyone saved money. So if you want someone to do something for you it’d behoove you to sweeten the pot.
a penny. the payment of an independent musician
   I have been offered the “opportunity” to perform for 3 hours in front of 100’s of millionaires. This “would be a great chance to get some great exposure.”
   They knew I was an independent musician  and must’ve thought my primary goal is fame. The opportunity to “earn fans” apparently seems like a valuable item for trade.
   The company, [redacted], had every reason to include a live pianist in an [redacted] for a [redacted] for the sake of sales. If everything worked out they would have been paid well over $50,000. Now… if my professions were in [redacted] I would want to invest in having some solid presentations. Or if I were paying for elegance I would want to pay top dollar.
There are some free things you don’t want. Live Music is one of them.
   On top of missing out on what realistically SHOULD have been a $2,000 gig, I had to convince the [redacted] that The Bank Of America doesn’t accept EXPOSURE BUCKS to pay the mortgage. If they did then I’d be more than happy to perform.
   If you take yourself seriously as an independent musician don’t expect payment until you’re confident in performing. Alternatively, don’t REFUSE ALL unpaid gigs, you should really use your best judgement. Ask yourself a few questions first:
What are THEY getting out of this? What are YOU getting out of this? Will you lose money by doing this? Can you put out a TIP jar? What is the attendance guarantee? How long do you need to play?
   Basically write out a list of questions you’d ask yourself. For the most part I decided NOT to play for [redacted] because they had EVERYTHING to gain and I was going to gain literally nothing and lose 3 hours of my time. It would have been “inappropriate” to put out a tip jar so…
They get ambiance and increased interest for the sales. I’d get literally nothing except compliments. (woooo.) Gas money would be lost, and valuable time. No Tip Jar (it wouldn’t have been the deciding factor.) Maybe 30 heads? I do that on my own EASY. 3 hours; Weddings pay $2,000 for my company’s duet performances.
   If I went through with this “offer” I’d end up asking myself, “What am I doing this for again?” Oh yeah… EXPOSURE BUCKS! Try walking into an Apple Store and offering to tell all of your friends about Apple in exchange for some of their fancy computers.
Big name and Small, local band/album reviews


Top Ten Best Albums Ever Made

Bronson – 6/13/18
The Top Ten Best Albums Ever Made needs to be defined. A Top Ten Album is a ten out of ten. A perfect album doesn’t have any stinkers. It can’t even have a single track that is worth skipping. If I can play the album start to finish uninterrupted it is more likely to be one of my top ten favorite albums. In fact, important songs or albums SHOULD have some kind of memory or experience with which it is associated.
Total album sales have NOTHING to do with this list. This is purely subjective or for the younger folks, “IMO.” The order is semi-important, however, this list will shift over time. I tend to keep going back to these albums over and over again and when I do I listen to them over and over; It usually takes about a week of re-listening for me to be “done” with them. All of these albums helped develop my OWN sound as an artist, so if you like this list check out some of my tunes and let me know what you think!…

10. Pain – Midgets With Guns

Pain Midgets With Guns top ten
Some of the most clever lyrics are found on this album. Also, this “sound” has a special place in my heart; this is the sound of the early to mid 90’s. This was even before  I really got INTO music. I still rock this one for DAYS. Oh and finding a physical copy was a pain in the neck!  I even stopped by Amoeba Records in CA. No luck! Eventually, my wife got it for me as a birthday gift.
(check out Milk, Fight, Square Pegs, Chuck Al Hashib)

9. Barenaked Ladies – Are Me

BNL Are Me Barenaked Ladies top ten
BNL has made a career of writing songs from every emotion in the book. This album proves they’ve matured as songwriters. They really put this one out from the heart. The silliness is still present but the humor is definitely passive in comparison to the arrangements of each track. And of course, their harmonies are top notch, as always. So many great tunes on this, and it was actually quite difficult to pick a single BNL album… but… this one holds a few memories.
(check out Bull in a China Shop, Everything Had Changed, Take it Back and Easy)

8. Tool – Lateralus

 Tool Lateralus top ten
This is one of my “OF COURSE” entrees. But honestly… there isn’t a bad song on this album, the replay value is through the roof and by the time the first track is done you can’t wait to hear it again. Not to mention Ticks and Leeches is generally the song people use to get other people into Tool that haven’t heard anything aside from whatever is on the radio.
(check out Ticks and Leeches, The Grudge, Parabol and Parabola)

7. XTC – Apple Venus Part 1

xtc apple venus part 1 top ten
Whenever I start this album I am completely consumed by the atmosphere it provides. It is comforting and off-putting at the same time. The arrangements and the production are some of the best I’ve ever heard. Just pop this one in and give it a solid 10 minutes. You’ll probably enjoy about half of the album at least, but I’ve got some personal memories with this one. So listen to it all… or just jump to the few tracks that I recommend in particular.
(these: Green Man, River Of Orchids, Your Dictionary, I’d like that)

6. Pink Floyd – The Wall

 Pink Floyd The Wall top ten
You really shouldn’t skip any song on this masterpiece.  Put it in and listen to it like you’re sitting in the theater.  Or… go find a copy of The Wall the movie and watch that if you haven’t. It’s been nearly 40 years. Get on that for crying out loud. Seriously. This album has taught me quite a bit in terms of story-telling in music. I can’t even bring myself to listen to ONE track. I have to do the whole thing in one sitting. It deserves that much respect.
(check out the whole thing. If you skip anything you’ll skip the point)

5. Ween – The Mollusk

ween the mollusk top ten
First of all, Storm Thorgerson did the artwork (he generally did Pink Floyd album covers. RIP.) Second: There is an obvious nautical theme throughout the album. Despite that, they really do an awesome job of maintaining their prolific, genre-flipping reputation. I love these freaking songs. It’s Dean Ween’s favorite album too… so… there’s that.
(check out Buckingham Green, I’ll Be Your Johnny On The Spot, Ocean Man and Cold Blows The Wind)

4. Faith No More – Angel Dust

 Faith No More Angel Dust top ten
This album blew me away the first time I heard it. I was supposed to drive somewhere but instead, I sat in a parking lot and listened to the whole thing right there. Jaw to the floor. I don’t even remember much else aside from how it affected me. Also, my mom got super pissed at me for owning it. Lol!
(check out RV, Malpractice, Smaller and Smaller, Land of Sunshine, and Crack Hitler)

3. Primus – Frizzle Fry

Primus frizzle fry top ten
First album I ever bought with my own money; Being 13 or 14, my eyeballs saw the album art and bought it because of that alone. I definitely owe a lot of my own musical interest and fascination to Primus. Thank you Les, Ler and Tim! This album goes full throttle and never backs down. PEOPLE are making these sounds. I’m still shocked by that.
(check out everything Primus as ever done. This album, in particular, is 100% start to finish)

2. King Crimson – The Power To Believe

King Crimson the power to believe top ten
Though people tend to use “Court of the Crimson King” as a top contender…..I believe Power To Believe is King Crimson at their best. Now I’m a HUGE KC fan, so not to downplay any other album at all… I probably could have put any of their albums on this list but I only want 1 album per band. Start to Finish. Level Five grabs you by the brain stem and pulls you around like a can on the back of a newlywed’s getaway limousine.
(check it out. do it now.)

1. Mr. Bungle – California

 Mr. Bungle California top ten
  This album changed me. It set the standard for experimentation. For me it is the holy grail of music collections. Every song is vastly different. I could probably talk about each track of this album in its own blog post. I do have short story to share. When I took anyone on a date I’d have them listen to some of the weirder music I listen to. This one girl I went right for the big guns and showed her Ars Moriendi from this album. Her reaction told me all I needed to know. That woman is now my wife. Not saying THAT is the reason I married her, but that is the first sign that told me, “she can handle strange……… excellent. (You’ll have to imagine Mr. Burns from The Simpsons saying that.)
I’ll leave it at that and tell you to go listen to this entire thing. Not a bad song on this track. Not a good one either; every single one is AMAZING. 
Go listen. It will change your ears for the better. It is Mr. Bungle at their most matured state. Great Job, guys!
 Honorable Mentions: Rage Against The Machine (self titled), Oh Brother Where Art Thou soundtrack, Pendulum In Silico (there are a few songs I skip… but I absolutely love the others)
I obviously have PLENTY of other albums that are great. Some albums, however, tend to change how I listen to music. The albums I regard as highly influential and are deserving of my top ten are just as good on the 100th time I’ve spun them as the moment I had discovered them (more or less). These albums set the bar for me and MY music in many different areas of writing. If you think there’s another artist or group I’ve yet to hear let me know. I love hearing new music!

Memory of a Yellow Submarine

If you can remember a date, that makes it important, right?  On March 15, 1995 my dad and brother flew down to Sacramento after they got a call from his father.  Two days later on March 17, my mom and I went out for Chinese food and came back to a blinking red light on the answering machine.  December 31, 1999 must have been a bad day for me because I remember shouting “BAD NEW YEAR” at my brother, to which he replied, “You RUINED my millennium!”  On October 2, 2009, I saw a now-prominent NPR host drink way too much and make an ass of himself at a karaoke bar in Seattle’s International District. user clconroy   I don’t remember the day or even the month, but that doesn’t make this memory any less vivid or meaningful.  I think it was sometime around late November or early December…it was cold and wet, and I remember it being fairly dark out when it wasn’t particularly late.  Regardless, I remember almost everything around me as John’s gloved hand held the buzzing tattoo gun against the inside of my left forearm.
Since that moment, every time I hear the beginning of Yellow Submarine by The Beatles, I remember what felt like flaming knives being dragged through my skin.  It was my first tattoo, but I have been with friends as they go theirs.
“It doesn’t hurt!  It kinda tickles, actually…” And I believed them.  Three thousand little pin-pricks every minute drew a noticeable amount of blood, yet they giggled.  I expected the same—perhaps maybe something akin to a bee sting, but not nearly as much as I felt.
“In the tooooown, where I was booooorn, lived a maaaaan, who sailed the seeeeeaaaa…”
I gritted my teeth as I watched what would eventually become the left wingtip of a dove being etched into my skin one pinprick at a time.  FLAMING KNIVES!  Of course, mind over matter—and just like I grit my teeth and sit through my weekly massage therapy appointments to help me recover from a recent car accident, I sat in that sterilized chair for an hour and twenty minutes as an absolutely gorgeous black-and-white dove with an olive branch was skillfully created on my left forearm.
The dove serves as a reminder that I have never thrown a punch in my life, and I will die a happy man if I never have to.  Whenever anyone asks if the dove has meaning, that’s what I tell them…but every time I look down at it, …
“In the tooooown, where I was booooorn…”
-Nick Kennedy
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