New in Akai Professional’s EWI series, the most prominent line of wind synths available, is the EWI USB, which combines terrific playability-breath modulation, transposing and octave shifting, pitch bends, a variety of fingering modes and adjustable vibrato complement its five-octave range-with computer capabilities. The instrument is compatible with Mac or PC, and comes with Aria software that features Garritan and Akai Professional samples. All available at an affordable $499 MSRP. akaipro.com
Play Along iTunes?
From jazz guitar monster Vinny Valentino comes playalongjazz.com, an online resource with a worthwhile catalog of standards-based accompaniment tracks. Like an iTunes store for the woodshedding jazz musician, the site offers individual downloads to suit most rehearsal needs-full-stereo recorded versions by Valentino for examples of what these tunes should sound like; inventively re-arranged renditions; tracks without melody, without harmony, without rhythm; and more. playalongjazz.com