Category Archives: Dan Performing

Honest Introspection

I frequently mention to students that YOU can be your best teacher if you learn to listen.

In this episode of #DansVlog I show you how I create a Honest Introspection from a gig I did at the Hot Numbers Jazz Cafe in Cambridge.


Yanagisawa S992 Curved Soprano Review

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Yanagisawa S992 Curved Soprano


I first encountered a curved soprano when I visited my old primary school ten years ago. A number of the students had bought curved sopranos as they were not big enough to play the alto or tenor.

This of course didn’t get the hoped-for results as the youngsters couldn’t keep them in tune, and the instruments were poor quality.


This Yanagisawa 992, by contrast, is SUPERB. I own a 992 Bronze straight soprano – for me it is simply THE best soprano on the market today, with flawless intonation, a warm and centred tone and a design that is second to none.


Make sure you watch the video and listen to the sound clips below.

RICO Reeds Masterclass at Southport International Jazz Festival

Here’s a 10-minute video highlights package from my RICO masterclass at the 2013 Southport International Jazz festival.

Some of the questions are:

1. How can I follow the changes in a standard?

2. How do you improve playing by ear?

3. What is the best method to keep my reeds in working order?

and much more …

I hope you find this useful!

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Performing at St Paul’s Cathedral

I felt immensely privileged to be asked to play in St Paul’s Cathedral as part of the King Cave Project on Sunday, 25th November 2012. I’ve been a part of this group for over a year now, and Ewan and James have asked me to play in venues as diverse as schools, crypts, tents and two of the UK’s most impressive cathedrals: Hereford and St Paul’s.

The first thing that strikes you about St Paul’s is its sheer size. For centuries this was London’s biggest and tallest building. I’m sure those of you who have been lucky enough to go in would agree that it’s even more impressive on the inside than the outside. The hardest thing to deal with on a Sunday is all the tourists who’ve decided that, as it’s a Sunday, and free to get in, they’re going to have a good old nosey around. I’m sure this must push the superb cathedral staff to the limit! However, the 500+ people who showed up in the evening certainly lifted the musicians – if you were one of them, thank you.

The next thing you notice is the amazing acoustics. I took my saxophone out of its case and just blew one of my customory opening ‘licks’ … the notes just went on and on and on, arriving back at me about a 1/4 tone flat and up to an amazing 12 seconds later – certainly longer than singing in the shower!  This caused me a few problems. I have to say it took me a good 40 minutes of playing to really get used to the strange acoustics, and it required a great deal of really intense listening in order to hear all the other musicians. We had no fold-back system, either, nor even much PA!

Without doubt the most impressive saxophone in this acoustic was my bronze Yanagisawa S992 – it was just out of this world. Playing under the dome of St Paul’s on this instrument was an experience I shall never ever forget. My only disappointment was that I wasn’t allowed to make any recordings of just how impressive the soprano sounded in this wonderful place.

We also had quite possibly the strangest band room I’ve ever been in – sitting downstairs in the crypt beside the tomb of Lord Nelson. I’m not sure he’s much of a jazz fan, but after the performance I did give him a sneaky blues serenade! The performance itself was for evening Communion, and used the Bryant Park Mass by James Cave. You can hear some of the King Cave Project’s album featuring James’ music here.

For me it was over all-too quickly. For our digital scrapbooks we could only manage (in rehearsal before the service) a few shots and a 10-second video clip.

This was only the second jazz service St Paul’s had ever held. I really hope they’ll have more, so I’ll get the chance to play in this amazing space again.


Jazz Vespers – Jesus Christ the Apple Tree

[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_video link=””][vc_column_text]As one of the Christmas services at our local parish church we put on a ‘Jazz Vespers’. Here is a great arrangement of Jesus Christ the Apple Tree by Ewan King, our pianist. The vocalists are all from St James’, Hemingford Grey, Cambridgeshire.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][/vc_column][/vc_row]