***** Be sure to also check out Erik Klien's page on this event that includes some recordings! *****
Friday night, January 17th, at the 1997 Winter NAMM show in Anaheim California was a veritable mecca for the wind controller enthusiast. A number of "wind listers" were onhand to witness an historic concert presented by Yamaha featuring the VL Virtual Big Band. This concert featured a whopping 10 wind controller players (9 WX11s and 1 EVI) and 1 Keyboard/BC3 player on stage at the same time all controlling the VL70-m as their sound source. All were using stock Voices with the effects turned down. Each player had a Yamaha MS60s powered monitor at head level.
The sax section (seen above) consisted of (from front to back) Michael Andreas on WX11 "2nd tenor", Brandon Fields on WX11 "2nd alto", Tom Scott on WX11 "lead alto", Gary Meek on WX11 "lead tenor", and Mike Overlin (XG Evangelist from Yamaha) on WX11 "bari".
The trombones (seen above) were laid down by Alan Palmer, and two Yamaha District Managers, Paul Furtcamp and Ron Mills. Ron Mills, the 2nd trombone player, was playing his part on a keyboard and BC3 breath controller.
The trumpets (behind trombone section) were Matt Catingub (who also arranged most of the charts) on WX11 lead trumpet, Greg Huckins on WX11 "2nd Trumpet", and Nyle Steiner (seen above in back row at far left) playing the "3rd Trumpet" part on his own handmade EVI wind controller.
The awesome all-star rhythm section was made up of Neil Stubenhaus on bass using the new Yamaha G50 Guitar System with a Yamaha TRB Bass, Patrice Rushen on keys, Steve Gadd on DTX electronic drums for the opening numbers, and acoustic skins for the concert, and Vinny Valentino on guitar using the G50 Guitar System with an AEX1500 guitar. For his solos it appeared as though Vinny was triggering the VL70-m.
As Mike Overlin puts it; "Most of the charts were Matt Catingub's and they were amazing! [Many of these charts will be featured on Catingub's upcoming 'High Tech Big Band II' CD.] For the most part they looked like a zebra tripping over a barbed wire fence and personally, I was just hoping not to fall off the stage. The bari book was a kick! Tom [Scott] brought out a couple of his charts and Ron Mills contributed a couple of charts from his own book."
Mike goes on to say; "Avery Burdette from Yamaha really did a lot to put this thing together. It certainly was a little slice of history. He and Matt really believed in this, and it was their passion for this whole thing that made it happen. The group got together the night before and was able to read down most of the charts, but there was still some site reading going on which only confirms the incredible skill of these particular players. It was very easy to lose sight of the fact that these were alternate controllers with cutting edge synthesis. It just felt to me like we were swinging!"
Tom Scott on WX11 and Steve Gadd (above) on the Yamaha DTX 2.0 Electronic Percussion System starting out the evening with a couple of funky jams.
An historic meeting of two great wind controller innovators. (Left to right) Nyle Steiner (inventor of the EWI and EVI), Ken Bausano, Sam Zambito, and Martin Hurni (inventor of the Softwind Synthophone).
Wind controller summit with (left to right) Nyle Steiner (inventor of the EWI and EVI), Sam Zambito (middle), and Martin Hurni (inventor of the Softwind Synthophone).
Don't blink now! This legendary unretouched photo may be documenting the world's record for "most EVI players per square foot". The five EVI players pictured left to right are Matt Traum from Patchman Music, Craig Hara, Nyle Steiner, Ken Bausano, and Sam Zambito.
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