Monday, May 25, 2009

Festival de l'anche

10 years ago when organizers announced that a music festival celebrating the use of reed cane, known locally as "canne de Provence" would be held in the small Mediteranean town of Hyeres, everyone said it couldn't be done. However the Festival de l'anche (Cane Festival) did happen and has grown considerably from its humble beginnings to a lively and exciting event.

This year will mark the 10th anniversary of the Festival de l'anche and Rico is proud to once again be a sponsor of the events. The 3-day festival takes place May 29th through May 31st in Hyeres, France (about 140km west of Nice).

Concerts are held at several concert venues including the Casino de Hyeres, the Théâtre Denis, the Olbia Archeological Site, and Rico's own Roso France plantation. Featured guest artists include top name acts like The Benny Golson Quartet, Manu Dibango, and many other exciting concerts. The final concert on Sunday evening is held outdoors in Rico's cane fields and is a beautiful setting to hear one jazz music's greats - Benny Golson.

An exhibt of woodwind and reed companies is complemented by workshops and other displays of crafts and products that make use of cane. These include calligraphy, paper making, and even the manufacture of the calameau, a wind instrument made from cane!

A highlight of the festival is the weekend tours of Roso France, Rico's cane plantations. These tours are guided by Mr. Jean Francois Rico who helped build Rico's plantations starting in the mid 1970s. Tours take place Saturday and Sunday morning and a free shuttle leaves from the Casino to Roso France.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Applications For Rico Plasticover

Applications for Rico Plasticover

By Mike Zucek-North Central Regional Sales Manager

My blog this month gets away from packaging and instead presents the Rico Plasticover reed and its uses.

Plasticover has been around for decades, having been developed by a Hollywood musician named Herman Hansen, as early as the mid-to-late 1930’s. Herman was experiencing the usual problem for “doublers” in that the reed on his alto sax tended to dry out and wrinkle while he was playing his clarinet. As a result, it was not ready to play when he needed to switch back. He gave lots of thought to this problem and came up with the idea of spraying a very thin coat of a safe-to-use “plastic” on a natural cane reed. This tended to keep the reed “wet” while it was not being played; thus ready to play no matter how long his double instruments sat on their stands. This coating worked so well that the “plasticover “application was adopted by Rico, who quickly brought the Rico Plasticover to the market, and also provided a full time job for Herman at the Rico factory until his retirement in the late 80’s!

But Plasticover benefits more than just the woodwind “doubler”. The same properties that keep Plasticover ready to play also make it less susceptible to changes in humidity and temperature, making it a terrific outdoors reed and perfect for concerts in the park. And because the Plasticover coating provides greater projection, it’s a miracle worker for the marching band director who needs to help the woodwinds balance the brass! This same projection has also endeared Plasticover to many Jazz saxophonists; just ask Dave Koz!

Remember that the Plasticover reed is a real cane reed that plays with the response and sound that you’d expect from cane. You owe it to yourself to give Plasticover a try.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Reedvitalizer Break-In

Break-in Procedures Using the Reed-Vitalizer System

In my last installment I talked about the importance of the humidification of reeds. In this blog I would like to discuss how to use the Reedvitalizer system to help speed up the process.

A typical break-in can take a very extended amount of time, but using the Reedvitalizer system can help speed up the process.

Here is a suggested setup for the efficient break-in of brand new reeds.

1. Take a brand new box of reeds and put the reeds in their reed holders in to a 73% Reedvitalizer bag for 12 hours.

2. Play your reeds for 30 seconds to 1 minute then wipe the extra moisture with your fingers, put them back into the Reedvitalizer bag.

3. Repeat twice.

4. At this point, it is a good idea to move the reeds in to the Rico Reed Case. The reed case is air-tight and humidity controlled with our 2 way patented humidity control system.

Your reeds should be very consistent and have better longevity!