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Is Jazz compulsary if you want to play saxophone?

Messages
56
Location
Isle of Skye
I have been listening to various Sax players, the likes of Coltrane, Getz, Coleman, Rollins etc and I have come to the conclusion that there is very little that interests me. I find them boring I'm afraid to say. Am I alone in not liking this type of music yet still wanting to play the sax? It's not that I am totally anti jazz, I do like a few jazz oriented bands and artists. I really like Soft Machine, Nucleus, Camel, Colosseum, Catapilla, IF, Tonton Macoute, Mel Collins, Elton Dean, etc. I suppose a lot of people will find them boring but to each his own. I feel like I'm committing sacrelege by not liking the "masters" as it were. Am I alone in my dislike?:)
 

Stephen Howard

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,457
Relax - it ain't no crime.

Everyone has their own tastes and preferences - and they change over time.
I started off listening to the big-band players, and when I decided to check out 'important' soloists I started with Charlie Parker. I borrowed a record from the library, rushed home, put in on the player and thought....what the hell is this crap?

These days it's a different story, and I can even listen to some quite avant-garde stuff without wincing.

The important thing is to remain open-minded. It's ok to say "I don't like this now", but it's always worth coming back to it later to see whether your perception has changed.
The challenges of learning the saxophone will give you some unexpected insights, and you may well find that you'll come to appreciate artists you previously didn't much care for - and it's a dead cert you're going to discover some new artists who really float your boat.

Enjoy!

Regards,
 

SignorTenor

New Member
Messages
25
Location
Dartford/Kent
Stephen, you are spot on.

I have loved every minute I've spent playing my sax but the greatest enjoyment has been the world of music it has opened my eyes to.

Twenty years ago listening to Coltrane, Parker, etc. used to make me cringe. Today I cringe listening to most of the stuff I hear on radio and tv! My taste in music has completely been turned upside down because I started playing the saxophone and while jazz, classical or opera may not seem easily accessible, they are definitely worth getting to know. (I am going to check out all the ones you listed above!)

Take your time, discover, enjoy!

Andrea
 
OP
C
Messages
56
Location
Isle of Skye
I would just like to say that if you DO listen to "Catapilla" you will have to get past some of the most horrendous vocals ever commited to record but once past there is an absolute treat of musicianship. IMHO. I particularly like "It could only happen to me" from the "Changes" album there is no singing on this track. Hope you enjoy. Cheers.
 

Taz

Busking Oracle
Messages
3,623
Location
Rugby UK
Hi Alex, I glad I'm not the only one. I find some artists like Coltrane, Parker and many, many others too furious for my liking (this is just my opinion at the moment) I can't seem to get my head around what appear to be loads of random notes. (I'm showing my ignorance and lack of understanding theory here as well)
However, Ben Webster, Stanley Turrentine, David "Fathead" Newman and Gerald Albright have all been encouraging me to listen to more jazz. I find that they all have similarities to their styles that I really like and it's an easy journey to follow. They are all available on Spotify if your a member. That's where I found them, just sittin' around, chewin the fat! Nice ;}
 

Howard Long

Member
Messages
51
Location
London
CSMW

Me too. I mostly don't get it. Technically I can see it's super clever and/or skillful. It just doesn't float my boat. I view it very much like art or wine: to gain an appreciation may take some time and even effort, and I am barely started. Now, back to that bottle of Penfolds Grange.

Cheers, Howard
 

Rico Vandoren

Member
Messages
146
Location
St.Helens, Merseyside. UK.
I prefer the more melodic playing of, say, Stan Getz, to the 20 notes a second style of the more frantic players. Having said that, to actually watch Simon Spillett do it is fascinating.
In earlier times I was a guitarist in a band and was always a rock/pop fan. I found the more sax I played, the more I gravitated towards jazz. It wasn't a conscious decision, it just happened. Nowadays I listen to jazz on Spotify as I browse the web. If anyone on the forum mentions something that sounds interesting I dial it up and have a listen. Its free!
You may be surprised at what you find yourself listening to five years from now.
 
OP
C
Messages
56
Location
Isle of Skye
Howard Long.

Like you I appreciate the technicality of the playing but there is no soul or tunefulness. Like Steve Vai the guitarist, many many notes per second, technically brilliant but cold and clinical and totally boring. Give me one sustained note with soul from Carlos Santana any day rather than a thousand by a soul less player like Vai. I am not into fast playing of any instrument I like the slower melodic stuff. The most annoying thing about listening to coltrane etc is the insistance of every instrumentalist getting a solo spot in EVERY song/tune. It gets very wearing after a while, Sax solo, piano solo, trumpet solo, bass solo, and the worst of all the drum solo. BORING!!! Saxophonist Robert Calvert from the Band "Catapilla" is a great player in my opinion but probably little known in jazz circles. Also Mel (one take) Collins sometimes of "Camel" particularly on "one of these days I'll get an early night" from the "Raindances" album. Also what about Dick Heckstall Smith of Colosseum and the list goes on.
 

AlistairD

Member
Messages
158
There is quite a common theme here and I have to say I agree with it. For example I prefer Ravi to John Coltrane (at the moment, it used to be the other way round!) and I'm not a great fan of Charlie Parker...

George Coleman and Joe Lovano are my current favourites as recorded artists, but live, it has to be Mornington Lockett.

Prior to starting to play sax, I was not into Jazz at all, but into Rock and in terms of great non-jazz saxophonists, Pink Floyd's Dick Parry and Supertramp's John Helliwell are up the top of my list...
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
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21,982
Location
Just north of Munich
You're playing the sax because the sound pulls at something inside you... In your case it's rock based. Learn/play what you want. It'll make you and others happy.

I think the jazz slant (double meaning intended) came about because the sax was the most expressive of the instruments used for jazz, and as jazz was the main means of exploring pushing musical boundaries in the earlier 20th century, inventive musicians migrted towards the sax. So the sax has become associated mostly with jazz. In the same way the electic guitar was used to drive the expeimentation in rock in most forms towards the end of the 20th century, in many ways at the sax's expense, but the sax still played a good part.

I lean more towards blues, r&b as well as rock. Some of the more avant garde almost tuneless blasts of notes really turn me off the sax. Same goes for most modern orchestral music.

Each to his own.
 

visionari1

Senior Member
Messages
1,606
Location
Out in the Countryside of Nelson NZ
I agree with most's opinion above especially Kev and the sound that pulls you, also the music that does the same, Copstolemywife,...I've never heard of any of your bunch of favourites.....enjoy what you can and still be open to enjoying others & more IMHO

Cheers & Ciao
Jimu:mrcool
 

half diminished

Senior Member
Messages
1,361
Location
Buckinghamshire
Personally I don't think it matters, there have been some classic rock/pop sounds with the sax from Sade, Dulfer, Samborn, Dire Straits, Sting, AWB, Madness - the list goes on and on.

As for not getting Coltrane or Parker and the like, I think it's a case of working up to them. Start with Dexter or Rollins. Once you begin to understand what is going on it's hard not to be blown away by the sheer artistry and skill. Have to agree though that some jazz can be hard going.
 

dooce

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,406
Location
Daventry
I grew up with a jazz-loving Dad and had Modern Jazz Quartet, Tubby Hayes, Ronnie Scott, Mike Westbrook and gawd knows who else as the background to my childhood. None of them did anything for me (or indeed my long-suffering Mum!) although I did go on to find Miles Davis, Dave Brubeck and Stan Getz for myself - and that's where my affinity with jazz still sits today. I can appreciate the artistry of the great sax-players, but the music does very little for me - just too self-indulgent. Give me Davey Payne, Snake Davis, Dick Heckstall-Smith or one their ilk any day - guys who can slip a 30-second sax solo into a piece of music that gets your hair standing on end.
 
OP
C
Messages
56
Location
Isle of Skye
kevgermany.

I couldn't agree more. I just love the bands and artists I have mentioned above because as you say it pulls the right strings as it were. It just seems that in most quotes and mentions of artistes the jazz genre seems prevalent. There are a heck of a lot of sax players mentioned here that I have never heard of but I will endeavour to listen to. I am not closed minded at all. As someone else said, My musical likes have changed immensely in the last few years and no doubt will continue to change with the advancement of old age. Who knows maybe I will like something later that I don't care for at present. I think some sax players like coltrane are just fine but it is the band format of solo after solo that grates so much.

__________________________________________
Gabriel.

"The sands of time are erroded by a river of constant change"
 

Ben Cain

Member
Messages
108
Location
Essex, UK
HI,
I also couldn't agree more. I have been learning the sax for 6 months now and with my teacher it is mainly classical music re written for tenor sax. Hvaing played piano and flute for 36 year which was all classical music and a great love of opera (even going to Verona to see opera in the Roman ampitheatre - my wife is long suffering) classical was the only music to lsten to.
My teacher has intriduced me to the likes of Basie, Dexter Gordan, Stan Getz and Ben Webster as a way into jazz. I have also discovered the melodic lines of Gershwin, Red Nichols and the big bands, as my teacher had his own band and played on bills with Ted Heath etc.
I have discoverd an exciting yet orally challenging world that I am beginning to greatly appreciate the artistry, musicality and love of the players.
Challenging yet ultimately worthwhile and where has my listening been all these years.
Just sit back, crack open a magnum of 1986 Chateau Margaux (my personal favourite bordeaux) and let the world of jazz open a new world.
Ben
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,982
Location
Just north of Munich
Some interesting points coming out here. I believe that life's too short to listen to music that you don't enjoy.... I've no intention of trying to appreciate Mahler or Stockhausen, for instance. Same with a lot of Sonny Rollins stuff. Bach, for all his brilliance in structure, is rather boring for me.

No my mind's not closed, it's wide open, and watching Leonard Bernstein take a youth orchestra through Stravinsky's Rites of Spring on TV a couple of years ago opened up what was previously completely inaccessibe. So I will change. Who knows, I may finally appreciate bebop and the later works of Coltrane one day, but I'm not optimistic.

But I don't believe anyone can play music well unless the music really sings to them internally. It's what makes great musicians. And makes popular musicians sell so well, even if technically what they perform is junk in a purist's eyes.... And the really skillful musicians can play junk music in such a way that it pulls the public, but without any emotional involvement on their own part.... Anyone remember Sugar Sugar by the Archies? Or Tie a Yellow Ribbon?

Yet as we progress, we need more understanding of the music, of it's structure and phrasing, and ultimately of the technical skill of the composer and performers. as we learn our instuments better we become more aware of thesefactors.

But... For me technical mastery is only half the story - and the less important half. Compare a recording of Beethoven's 5th Symphony conducted by Herbert von Karajan, with one conducted by Leonard Bernstein.... They'er incredibly different, despite the rigidity of the classic medium and orchestral performances. One has life and soul, the other sheer technical mastery, but little spirit, the music is missing.

Simple folk music, played on simple instruments, really moves many people.

One of the greatest pianists of the 20th century was Vladimir Horowitz - but he was also famous for the clangers he made during performances...

On the blues front, Robert Johnson was, for me, one of the greatest - not so much for his technical skills, but for the way he conveyed the emotion in his recordings.... And he's been an inspiration to many current greats...

I guess what I'm saying is that music is about heart to heart.... and the hearts must match. Like picking a partner... It's not about technical brilliance. If it was, we'd simply put the scores into a synthesiser. Or buy our spouses at Tescos (or Harods for the affluent).
 
OP
C
Messages
56
Location
Isle of Skye
kevgermany.

I think you are a bit of a philosopher. Your words speak many truths. I will listen to other sax players with an open mind. As I said earlier, there are many players to get through and it may take a while but I'm willing. My taste IS changing but I still like a lot of what I liked in the past. I am going to have to go through these posts, write the names down and start my quest for the music that pulls the heart strings. Cheers for your wisdom, kev.
 

fishpond

Member
Messages
143
Location
Havant, Hampshire
Just to add a small bit to this.
I have heard of snake davis before but never paid too much attention.
The name has cropped up in dooces post.
I have just listened to him on utube and ordered 1 of his Cd's--stunningly beautiful.
Jazz:- Most jazz I cannot listen to for very long as it gives me a headache and it doesn't seem to flow as I think music should.(or maybe I am missing something at the moment--time will tell)
But, each to their own.:)
 

Mikec

Member
Messages
201
Location
Buckinghamshire, UK
There's a lot of good sense in this thread, I'll only add that if you consider yourself a fan of any genre, it's not necessary to like absolutely everything in that field. I like jazz amongst other styles, bit I don't like Charlie Parker; I don't like ALL of Miles Davis's work even.
Someone once said "Challenge your preconceptions, or they will challenge you". I think that's good advice generally.
 
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