Gig Bag: The latest must-have gear
New gear from Roland, Theo Wanne, REMO and more
Jazz Musicianship Vol. 1
In his 201-page method book, Jazz Musicianship Vol. 1: A Guidebook for Integrated Learning, pianist and educator Bill Stevens lays out a comprehensive curriculum with plainspoken expertise gathered over many years as an instructor at the Walden School. Chapter titles like “Seventh Chords and Blue Notes,” “The Bebop Principle” and “The Lydian Scale and Its Modes” should clue you in as to the general nature of Stevens’ discussion, but even seasoned players will get something out of his accessible explanations of harmony and his pointed listening and vocalizing exercises.
REMO Pyramid Wire Drum Stand
This new percussion stand reflects the sort of streamlined ingenuity that has become a REMO trademark. The metal stand fits inside a variety of REMO djembes and timbaus, elevating the drum so its bass tones can resonate more fully. A three-tiered design allows the stand to fit drums with an inner base diameter of 7.125 inches, 5.90 inches or 5.36 inches.
Theo Wanne Mantra Soprano Sax
Theo Wanne first gained renown for his impeccably crafted “True Large Chamber” sax mouthpieces, and entered the instrument market last year with the well-received Mantra tenor. Now comes the Mantra soprano, a silver-plated straight horn with a bevy of special features including a proprietary nozzle design, an accommodating three-ring strap hook and a reticulated finish inside the sax that creates a “boundary-layer effect.” Writes Wanne: “As air moves through the instrument, a boundary layer of air forms over the surface as it does on the dimpled surface of a golf ball. … As a result, the airstream travels freer through the saxophone with less drag. This results in a freer blowing and responding instrument.”
Roland’s V-Combo VR-09 Keyboard
Roland’s V-Combo synths rule the market in terms of practicality, and the VR-09 might be the series’ most user-friendly keyboard yet. It’s certainly the lightest, weighing just a bit over 12 lbs., but within that modest weight are dozens of convincing, editable effects and sounds that can be layered and split with ease. Some of our favorites include the vintage ring-modulator tone and the highly tweakable jazz organ. Seriously tweakable: In addition to adjusting your harmonic settings with Hammond-inspired drawbars, digging into the “click” and “leak” settings can help you achieve a nice, gnarled old-school Hammond sound, and the rotary-speaker emulation focuses deep, all the way down to separate woofer and tweeter speeds. And the option for battery power makes those outdoor wedding gigs extension-cord-free at last.
Boulder’s Alpine Series Gig Bags from Saga
It wouldn’t be a proper Gig Bag column without a plug for an actual gig bag, right? Boulder Bags’ Alpine Series from Saga boasts just the sort of heavy-duty materials and padding you need to protect a valuable acoustic instrument—for example, one of Saga Gitane’s John Jorgenson signature models—along with some useful modern appointments, like multilayered pockets, reflective piping and a mesh water-bottle holder.