choice of sax for reggae/ska

Mack

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Devon
I am an alto player and I have been studying jazz playing - but I some way off being good enough to play live. My other musical love is reggae/ska/rocksteady, and I see this as a much more realistic chance of playing in a band. I do have a tenor but my sound on this is nowhere near as good as on alto. Does anyone have any experience of playing alto in a reggae/ska band? Or to be in demand is it a case of persevering with tenor?

Also does anyone have any tips for successful ska/reggae playing - heavy use of certain scales such as pentatonics?
 

Pete Thomas

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Pentatonics are good, also just regular major scales.

I think alto is fine also, just listen to lots of reggae/ska/rocksteady and if you hear tenor, translate it to also, should be no problem
 

TomMapfumo

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Skabertawe, South Wales
Jim Conti plays both Alto and Tenor Sax for Streetlight Manifesto and Lester Stirling was Alto sax player with the Skatalites, but Tenor is the more common - after both trumpet and trombone (trumpet has same range as Alto sax, and trombone has same as a Baritone sax).

Major Pentatonic is the one to practice above all - not much written music is available as far as I am aware but the skill is in playing some accompaniments/frills/riffs that add to the general melee!

Kind regards
Tom:cool:

Budding Ska trombonist:cool::cool:
 

thomsax

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For me alto and soprano are the right saxes in reggae music. Don't ask me why!! But tenor is good as well. Listen to tenorplayer Im Brooks. I also think that the two-part hornsection is good in Ska/Reggae. Tenorsax/trumpet, or even better, altosax/flugelhorn.

Andrew Clark did a masterclass in Saxophone Journal about "Five Common Styles In Rock" and this is what he says about sax in a reggae song. The clip is used by permission of Andrew Clark.

http://s297.photobucket.com/albums/mm201/thomsax/?action=view&current=fivegroovesreggea_0001.flv&newest=1

Thomas
 

thomsax

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Sweden
Tom,

For me reggae/ska is "light - floating" type of music and a beefy hornsection with trb and barisax get the music "grounded". But it can work if you have disciplined musicians in a tight hornsection that keep the tones short so the the horns doesn't become "blurry - less distinct". I think the same goes for the Funk-hornsection as well. If I remember right you like Nisse Landgren? He is "short-toned"! He is running a good funkband called Funk Unit. He lives just of couple of miles from me and I use to go to "his" jazzfestival here in Scania.

As it goes for my enthusiasm about the brighter saxes in reggae/ska I think it's more based on what I like and listen to in reggae. Some saxplayers I know used to play with the Swedish/Scanian Reggea-King in Sweden: Peps Person!! I guess they have influenced me!

Hope you understand what I mean!?!?!

Thomas
 

TomMapfumo

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Skabertawe, South Wales
Cheers, Thomas!

For me, Reggae is very much about the melody played on Bass Guitar, with other guitars playing rhythm. Bass has the same range as Tenor trombone and Baritone sax, so either Trumpet, Flugelhorn or Alto sax (all same range) would provide a good contrast. Learning Ska trombone (which I have been for the past year) is very much about short phrases and off-beat stabs (mm-bap-mm-bap-mm-bap-mm-bap or similar).

Nils Landgren is a good dude, but my hero is either Don Drummond or Rico Rodriguez on trombone!

Kind regards
Tom:cool:
 
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