Monday, October 26, 2009

DEC and Symbolics History Revisited

Yes, the title of this blog is referring to Music and Saxophone playing, but I have taken a liberty writing of some personal items occasionally, too.

This is a follow up to my previous Blog post dealing with my personal history with Digital Equipment Corp. and Symbolics, Inc.

This update stems from Harlan E. Anderson, one of the DEC founders publishing his memoirs. Should make interesting reading.

Harlan's marketeer, Carole Gunst has a very interesting Hi-tech History Blog. In there she is writing: The First Domain Ever Registered Was

Carole's articles are hitting home very effectively. I worked for DEC 1974-1985 most of the time in Maynard, Mass, USA. From 1986 I was with Symbolics in Cambridge, Mass, USA when Symbolics achieved that important record. While at DEC they received “the honor” of sending the first spam message in the Internet. That was about announcing VAX 11/750.

The rest is history:

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Jon R. Smith: White Trash, Michael Brecker, Philip Glass

"I used to occasionally hang out with Mike Brecker in NYC. We would both be sitting in with Paula Lockhart who had Howie Wyeth playing drums…Brecker told me that two of his favorite players were Jim Pepper and Jon Smith."

“Jon’s sound is instantaneously recognized, something only a handful of players have, with a tone that’s as big as a house, and a big vibrato that’s characteristic of a gospel singers…If I were putting together a horn section, Jon would be my absolute first choice.”
Edgar Winter
Windplayer Magazine

In Part One of an exclusive interview with SOTW, legendary sax great Jon R. Smith discusses his career and influences, including the early days in New Orleans, great sax players from Louisiana and Texas, the formation of Edgar Winter's "White Trash", meeting Michael Brecker, group dynamics, ego and solos, Philip Glass and more...

This two-part interview is adding up to other Sax on the Web interviews by Neil Sharpe.
There are several mp3-files and music videos from Jon's early career. 

One tidbit from the interview:
White Trash

A lot of the music business is about being in the right place at the right time. Usually that means a lot of hard work to put yourself in that position but, sometimes, lady luck can make a big difference. I was coming out of a music store in New York City, when I ran into my old buddies Edgar Winter and Jerry Lacroix. Seems that Edgar’s brother, the terrific blues guitarist Johnny Winter, had got them an audition which led to a recording contract with Clive Davis and Epic Records. They asked if I’d be interested in joining the band. A three-story house had been rented in Woodstock, New York. Halfway through the question, I’d already started to pack!

“I have followed him since he left Edgar Winter’s White Trash…I couldn’t leave Antone’s until I knew he’d played his last note of the night.”
Will Lee
Late Night with David Letterman Band
Austin American-Statesman 

“Never mind the superlatives, [Jon Smith plays] some of the highest caliber blues to be found…One longtime blues veteran compared his playing to Cannonball Adderley, saying ‘Smith is so good, he’s almost out of control’.”
Austin Chronicle

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Tim Price on How To Find Your Saxophone Sound

My good friend, Tim Price authored a comprehensive set of Jazz Lessons and Etudes for my web site, Sax on the Web.

Tim is a Selmer Clinician, professional musician, jazz journalist and author. He teaches in New York City and Pennsylvania.

While at Berklee, he studied with Charlie Mariano, as well as with Andy McGhee, Joe Viola, and Nick Ciazza. After Berklee he studied saxophone and improvisation with Sal Nistico, Fred Lipsius, Jimmy Lyons, Ray Pizzi, Sonny Stitt, and Ronnie Cuber; flute with Harold Jones; clarinet with Kal Opperman and bassoon with Karen Borca.

Tim Price's web site.

In the following video Tim is addressing the eternal question: How to develop your saxophone sound?

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Bar Mendocino, Tall Ships, and Horses in the Lobby

What does this blog title mean? You figure it out, but it was another exhilarating Monday night (October 12, 2009) in the premier Helsinki roots/blues jam venue; Bar Mendocino.

There were two reasons for a special celebration. The multi-instrumentalist and, blues/jazz talent Rene Reinikainen was in town. We had an important gig for following night for BTA (Bob's Take Away) and Rene agreed to fill in for bass for this gig.

In the above pictures Rene (red shirt) is jamming with base guitar and harmonica. 

Also, Rene and I managed to lure Robert "Bob" Rasmus, against his will, to the scene of the crime. Roba played some magnificent guitars solos and accompanying Kojo, who still has his say about singing the blues.

Kojo singing in the front. Roba on guitar.

 Blues-Pekko and Roba jamming.

Other high points of the night:

Köpi on drums and the company. 
  Horn section: Anders Jansson and Harri.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Air Saxophone playing

Air Sax

What guy doesn’t dream of rocking out on a saxophone?

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Friday, October 09, 2009

Karmann Ghia's Clutch repaired

From a Karmann Ghia Discussion Group:

Harri Rautiainen:

KG clutch problem.

re: Karmann Ghia -58

The clutch wire tube in the shaft tunnel is loose. This prevents adjusting the clutch.
Any similar experiences? 

Andy Holmes:

I thought I had a similar problem with my KG - the advice from Luke Theochari at Terry's Beetle Services was that we would need to cut a small inspection hole in the tunnel to enable the wire conduit inside the tunnel to be welded back in place. Luckily this turned out not to be the problem with my car, it was a fault with the release bearing.

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Harri Rautiainen:

More developments on the clutch. It came out that there were already inspection holes in the tunnel. There was some previous repair dome, but the welding was too sloppy and the part was loose again. After fixing that my trusted mechanic, Mr. Simo Makkonen went for a test ride, and broke the clutch release shaft. Cannot really blame him because the original shaft was 51 years old, and was heavily tried recently because of the clutch wire problem.

I found a new part from Kuplapaja in Mäntsälä, some 50 km from Helsinki costing 30 €. Simo is pleased because it is much sturdier and better material than the original. He is throwing in a new release bearing for free. It has been staying on his shelf, and looks like I am his only VW customer. On other hand he can afford a freebie because the overall repair bill will be pretty hefty. If Simo will retire next summer, I will be in deep sneakers with my Karmann Ghia.


Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Tipitina's, Tall Ships and Horses in the Lobby

"The Crossroads. That decision every musician must make.

It came while sitting in a ramshackle tour bus, squeezed in between the great drummer Jack Pedlar and a 300 pound entertainer..."

Part Two Interview Sonny Del-Rio by Neil Sharpe

You moved so gracefully across that smoky room,
You thought those saxophones were playing just for you,
We danced a fantasy in syncopated time,
This must be love, I felt that magic when your lips
Met mine.
“Say You Will”  
(Sonny Del-Rio from the album “40 Years of Rock n’ Roll”)

We got a red-hot band,

We’re gonna rock your blues away.

Sonny Del-Rio
Welcome To Saxland

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Friday, October 02, 2009

The greatest invention since sliced bread – A Computer

My friend sent me this and I found it both amusing and nostalgic. I shortened it to include only the computer companies which I had a personal interest and of course , my previous employer:

IBM Global Services Image via Wikipedia
If IBM made toasters... They would want one big toaster where people bring bread to be submitted for overnight toasting. IBM would claim a worldwide market for five, maybe six toasters.

Microsoft Image via Wikipedia

If Microsoft made toasters... Every time you bought a loaf of bread, you would have to buy a toaster. You wouldn't have to take the toaster, but you'd still have to pay for it anyway. Toaster'95 would weigh 15000 pounds (hence requiring a reinforced steel countertop), draw enough electricity to power a small city, take up 95% of the space in your kitchen, would claim to be the first toaster that let's you control how light or dark you want your toast to be, and would secretly interrogate your other appliances to find out who made them. Everyone would hate Microsoft toasters, but nonetheless would buy them since most of the good bread only works with their toasters.

If Apple made toasters... It would do everything the Microsoft toaster does, but five years earlier. The toast would make a little smiley face at you when it popped up, or else it would get stuck and there would be a little picture of a bomb burned onto it. If they break, these toasters would require a special set of MacToaster Tools to even open up. Worldwide market share would only be 5%, but all the bread in school lunches would be exclusively toasted on the MacToaster.

Does DEC (Digital Equipment Corporation) still make toasters?... They made good toasters in the '70s, didn't they?

If Hewlett-Packard made toasters... They would market the Toaster, which takes in toast and gives you regular bread.