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Topic: "Little Wing" using Chris Hein Soprano sax

  1. #1

    "Little Wing" using Chris Hein Soprano sax

    This is an offshoot of another thread discussing Chris' new soprano sax instrument for Kontakt. In the midst of that conversation, a poster offered a link to a Branford Marsalis solo on a Sting performance of Jimi Hendrix's "Little Wing" (did I get everybody properly credited there?) on Youtube.com.


    The OP also wanted to know if the CH soprano could reproduce written music, in this case, his transcription of the aforementioned Branford solo. Well, I spent 2-3 hours this afternoon doing my best, within reasonable time constraints, to emulate the original performance, based on the sheet music made available. My results are here: ( I hope - this is my first experience with box.net so please be gentle if I don't have it set correctly)


    As I said, this was done in about 2 hours or so, with the remaining time devoted to some basic rhythm tracks. I didn't try to copy the recording exactly, just give an accurate harmonic and rhythmic feel so that the solo would be reasonably in context.

    Notes: The sequence was done in Sonar using Kontakt 3 for the soprano sax and Cakewalk's TTS-1 for the rhythm tracks (bass, drums, organ, synth pad).

    Since Branford is a very clean player and posesses excellent technique, I ended up not using any keyswitches at all. Everything you hear is the basic instrument, in the Natural setting, with a little Lexicon reverb.

    There is no pitch bend involved for "scoops" because Branford uses a lot of grace notes instead. However, I did use two pitch "events" to adjust two notes in the solo, but those were very minor, no more than 5 cents or so either way.

    Finally, I think I came pretty close, although some musical nuances were not achieved since I didn't want to spend alot more time on fanatical editing. This demo should show what can be done quickly with minimal tricks.

    Overall, it seems to be to be slightly more aggressive in character than the original which is pretty laid back in some spots, but I think it's a very musical and uasble result. I'm sure you'll let me know what you think
    Paul Baker
    Baker's Jazz And More
    Austin, Texas, USA

  2. #2

    Re: "Little Wing" using Chris Hein Soprano sax

    as a very big fan of the sting's version of Little Wing, i can tell you that you did a great job !!

    congrats !


  3. #3

    Re: "Little Wing" using Chris Hein Soprano sax

    That worked well. Nice job!
    Producer ~ Sound Engineer ~ Musician


  4. #4

    Re: "Little Wing" using Chris Hein Soprano sax

    Thanks, guys! I'm looking forward to getting a wind controller in a few months and that should help in creating even more realistic phrasing. Chris' stuff is fun to work with. It's more rewarding when the sounds you're making are so pleasing.
    Paul Baker
    Baker's Jazz And More
    Austin, Texas, USA

  5. #5

    Re: "Little Wing" using Chris Hein Soprano sax

    I thought it came out quite well, especially given the amount of time you put in! I'm going to pick up the Soprano sax tomorrow (the site is down today) and give it a whirl. Do you have any of the other CH libraries? I'm impressed with the BBB library, but I've heard some horror stories about it, so the CH stuff seems like a strong alternative.


  6. #6

    Re: "Little Wing" using Chris Hein Soprano sax

    I'll be getting the Vol 2 collection soon and working on a demo for the Vol 3 Muted Brass. Both of those are set up the same way as the Soprano so I'm expecting the same high level of quality in sound and controls. I'm looking forward to doing some realizations of my full big band charts. I'll post links when those go up, but that will be the middle of next month at the earliest.
    Paul Baker
    Baker's Jazz And More
    Austin, Texas, USA

  7. #7

    Re: "Little Wing" using Chris Hein Soprano sax

    To Paul Baker;
    Encore bravo ... I take off my hat!:

    Thank you for having taken the challenge of starting from my transcription ( good musicain allways like challenge ;-).. and thanks to give me the envy to go further in the study of Chris Hein's sound banks ...

    I hope you still enjoyed to play the solo of Marsalis.

    Having almost any bank Vsl, I'm looking for the equivalent quality but in a register more Jazz, funk, Latin ... The bank "BroadwayBigBand" with fantatisc demos from Amit P.is a temptation for me, but I don't believe much in the Halion system and the price is still high. So why not CHH?

    It is always for me more interesting to hear demos from existing music with notes and articulations imposed! because this is more objective and better reveals the quality of a sound bank (which can do more can do less!).

    And I think that minimalist demos, can contribute to a better sales products.. but of course it is necessary that the quality of a sound bank can do these kind of things!

    So if you make other demos, think to people like me.

    Obviously, it's easier to make good flattering demo, in playing with the sound or with great orchestral mass but minimalist things can do the difference between good and less good library: As example and for the pleasure of history of the sampler,here is a demo on batman's theme, I made it over 22 years ago with the sound banks of the day on two Akai samplers S900 and S1000 :


    In this context the library sounded relatively good but If I have played scales, arpeggios, etc ... with lots of different articulations: I know the result!
    Thats why I'm allways a litlle distrustful where I hear demo with too much things.

    When I took my rod with a transcription of solo, I hope to find a good musician at it's end to take the challenge :
    so thanks again and think the demo you made, is a pretty good publicité for Chris Hein and obviously for you ;-).
    Best regards

  8. #8

    Re: "Little Wing" using Chris Hein Soprano sax


    Thank you for the kind words. It was a lot of fun to take on your challenge and work with Branford's solo.I have to wonder how much closer I could have come if I had a wind controller and could modulate the attacks better, but that will have to wait for another time.

    I agree that, as a customer, I really prefer demos that are more "real world" than demos that were written to show off various features of a library. For instance, Little Wing used no controllers at all except for two isolated pitch events. All the phrasing was created with MIDI editing of velocities and note durations. That speaks very well for the library and tells me that it will be very useful in the future - not some seldom used gimmick.

    I haven't had the chance to work with the VSL soprano, but from listening to the demos, I think Chris' is a little more aggressive and possibly more capable as a jazz instrument. The VSL demos are beautiful for classical and chamber work, but I think, as a jazz guy myself, I'd lean more towards Chris's soprano. If you haven't done so already, check out the "Funky Smooth" demo on Chris' website for another more aggressive jazzier demo.
    Paul Baker
    Baker's Jazz And More
    Austin, Texas, USA

  9. #9

    Re: "Little Wing" using Chris Hein Soprano sax

    wow . very nice.
    so you are saying that this sound is pretty much out of the box.
    ive got an ewi and would love to get this sound playing real time with it.
    a little editing is not a big deal, but being able to play live and pull of a convincible sound would be nice.

  10. #10

    Re: "Little Wing" using Chris Hein Soprano sax

    Hi bartp,

    Yes, the sound, with the exception of some Lexicon Pantheon plug-in reverb, is directly out of the box. No EQ, no compression, nada. No keyswitches were used either, only MIDI editing of velocities and note durations and start times. Oops, forgot the mod wheel for vibrato. Still - pretty basic stuff.

    I'm curious to find out how the soprano works with the ewi since I'm looking at that for myself in a few months. Please keep updating that thread with your results and progress.
    Paul Baker
    Baker's Jazz And More
    Austin, Texas, USA

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