zaterdag 29 september 2012

Video blog 29 Sept 2012: Lee Konitz @Bimhuis

First time I saw this legend live, very impressive. He played fresh and creative. Not as virtuoso as he used to be but the band compensated!

I went with a friend after going to relaxing sauna bath. The ideal circumstances to enjoy a concert. And we liked it. Not that I was really thrilled about it, but it was very inspiring to see this man enjoying himself on stage, both as a musician and person. And being creative! He selected fantastic musicians to tour with him. He was not afraid of being outplayed, and he shouldn't be. The band carried and made him sound even better.


vrijdag 28 september 2012

Fresh from the press: Cellist Charles Watt will write a new piece for him and Ties for cello and barisax for the 6 November Splendor concert

Review of the Lars Mlekusch mouthpieces for plastic Legere reeds

Long awaited, here it finally is!

In 2011 I received an email from saxophonist Lars Mlekusch that his new mouthpieces were released and produced by Playnick. I try a lot of new mouthpieces that come out, but this one caught my special interest right from the beginning. The mouthpiece is produced especially for Legere plastic reeds! Some years ago I tried Legere plastic reeds and this was the first time I actually felt that plastic reeds could be the future, in my lifetime. But they weren't quite there yet, from my standpoint at least (please put this last remark after every opinion you read below :-)
When Mr. Mlekusch announced his new ML1 and ML2 mouthpieces I was very excited. Could this mouthpiece be the missing link? Could this mean no more hassle with wooden reeds anymore?! I'd give a lot to have to miss the troubles of dealing with wooden reeds.
Mr. Mlekusch is an excellent player himself. If anyone could design such a mouthpiece and endorse it, it would be him.
I replied to the email and tried to order some samples at Playnick. This took some time, and I heard nothing anymore. Apparantly, I heard from somebody else, they had to wait for a new batch of Legere reeds. But after some months I decided to email again. Now somebody else emailed me back and some weeks later I had the package in the mail, with some Legere reeds in different strenghts. When they get around to do it, they do it well!
Initially, I wanted to just go ahead and choose the best one from four mothpieces they send. So I started practicing on the best mouthpiece-reed combination I found. It was after my holidays so I figured I might as well play on a different set up because I had to get back in shape anyway. And I remember the revelation when I played my friend's and colleague's, Gordan Tudor,  LM1 when I was in Croatia: that was a great moutpiece reed combination. The sound was a bit flat and somewhat uninspiring. But I remember myself having the same opinion about the AL3 and not using the first two years after I bought it. When I actually started practicing on it within some months I found my own sound again on the AL3. Which was worth it, the AL3 makes my life so much easier now: more good reeds, better legato, easier articulation (except for staccato, that's harder) and intonation.
Well, to not make this a review about the AL3: after some days of practicing on the LM1 with 2 3/4 reeds in August I decided to go back to my own set up for my upcoming solo concert. This was quite a disappointment... But I couldn't do it. First of all, There are very large differences between the mouthpieces, probably due to the type of production (this is the same with Selmer, because of the production process, all the mouthpieces they make are very different, which can be an advantage!), as opposed to Vandoren, which is more constant in quality. I am sure Mr. Tudor's mouthpiece was much better (for me) and this was what I was expecting. I had an important solo recital coming up the next week and in spite of my wish to play this on the LM1 with plastic reeds, I had to go back.
I had my students try the samples and now one student plays the LM1 with 2 3/4 reeds and he sounds great on it, better than on his AL3. But for me, the LM1 (the samples I received from Playnick!) were too flat in sound. I guess they passed the border of giving up 'personality' and 'character' (like I felt I had to do with the AL3) to be able to play more easy.

I hope Mr. Mlekusch will keep developing these mouthpieces and listen to feedback. As well as Legere. I will not hesitate a minute when the time is there to switch to plastic reeds. And it will be within my lifetime! Reed my lips :-)

Here is Mr. Mlekusch playing Hiroyuki Itoh: The Angel of Despair II

Piano concerto Ravel left hand on bari sax

In February 2012 I played Ravel's pianoconcert for the left hand on bari sax with the Konrad Kosseleck Big Band at the Amsterdam BIMHuis


And here a link to the audio on soundcloud

zondag 16 september 2012

Video blog, 16-9-12, interview with Ian Wilson

Ian tells about the Amstel Quartet's performance today of his 2006 'Ghosts' (premiered in Carnegie Hall 2007) and about upcoming projects with Ties Mellema

a.o. a piece for saxophone and Boss RC300 looper: "MotherFunk!" This piece will be premiered in the The Hague club "Het Paard van Troje" in a concert with members of the Residentie Orchestra that Ties and the orchestra put together. (more info about the club gig and more info about the concert the next day with the whole orchestra here)

TIes will play three piece by Ian Wilson in these two days. On Saturday 15 december he will play Ian Wilson's saxophone concerto with the whole orchestra.

Ian Wilson

Bonus: Amstel Quartet backstage getting used to their new outfits @Villa Augustus

vrijdag 7 september 2012

Gerardo Rosales' Afro Cuban Quintet

Gerardo Rosales' Afro Cuban Quintet at the Amsterdam Bimhuis.

The video is Ulas Aksunger's solo on conga's.

This was a great concert. Gerardo is a great percussionist with great timing, not only on percussion. He's a fantastic entertainer as well.

I wish he would have played at my festival: Uitgast, but unfortunately he canceled at the last moment. I was very happy to have seen him some weeks later at the Bimhuis, Holland's nicest concert hall.

Video: Ulas' solo

maandag 3 september 2012


I was working on my expo 'In between the Music' last week and today. Today I send the first JPEG to the printer to see how it will turn out.

It is a photo of playing kids. I will have a series of 2 or 3 with playing kids. It is very exciting to make something, to be creative and create something from nothing. It's a lot of work but unbelievably fulfilling.

Cmoe check my expo out. I will open it on October 18th at the Amsterdam Lloyd Hotel with a concert on 18 October at 20:00. Here is the Facebook event

Dutch info:

Mede sinds hij de Nederlandse Muziekprijs won in 2010, geniet klassiek saxofonist Ties Mellema ( een groeiende bekendheid. Dat geldt (nog) niet voor de foto’s die hij sinds een 2011 maakt.

Op 18 oktober 2012 geeft Ties Mellema in het Lloyd Hotel een voorproefje van zijn optreden in de Solo Bach-serie van de KAM (14 april 2013), spreekt over de muziek van Bach, zijn instrument en zijn nieuwe liefde voor straat foto’s (street photography). Met de tentoonstelling ‘In Between the Music’ pres
enteert Mellema voor het eerst een selectie van de foto’s die hij sinds 2011 maakt op weg van en naar repetities en optredens.

Lloyd Hotel & Culturele Ambassade
Presentatie en concert: 18 oktober 2012, 20:00 uur
Tentoonstelling t/m 22 oktober, dagelijks van 09.00 – 01.00 uur

Toegang gratis / graag aanmelden via of bel ons 020-6812100

Meer info via KAM website: