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What Kind of Saxophonist do You Want to Be?

What Kind of Saxophonist do You Want to Be?

  • I want to be able to play anything that's put in front of me and improvise

  • I want to read and play well enough to get jobs and recording gigs

  • I want to be able to read music easily enough to play along with recordings or at jams

  • I want to play what I hear in my head for pleasure and in public

  • "I just want to get to outer space, I don't care who gets there first."

  • It's complicated (comments are there for that)


Results are only viewable after voting.

Wade Cornell

Well-Known Member
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2,218
Hey Randy...like you I'm an old SOB, but unlike you I'm not taking on a new instrument. I'm at wherever I'm going with a sax and just trying to keep it together for a few more years. Ten year plan? Ha! If I can crank out a few more OK tracks I'll be happy.
 

randulo

Living the dream
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5,330
I suppose we can all be divided into two groups, possibly before and after retirement age, whatever that means. Priorities are hugely different, once you're free of the yoke of everyday life. There is uncertainty as to how much time is left where sufficient breath, uncramped fingers and enough memory to hold a tune or two, or the vision to read them if that's your thing, all of this is still working together. I'm in it for fun but maintain that I can reach people once I attain a certain level.
 

Wade Cornell

Well-Known Member
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2,218
Hey Randy. You've always been able to reach people and your current ability on sax is no exception. You've got your own thing with singing and playing that's unique and works well for you. I'm actually not retired, so don't fall into that camp...will probably die not retired. Never a problem having something to do...more of a problem finding time for music and avoiding the "music widow's wrath" Ha!
 

randulo

Living the dream
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5,330
I came across this photo on YouTube. I'm trying to remember where the soprano came from. I had a Shehnai, a double reed instrument from India, I think. (Photo below) You blow into it and randomly move your fingers fast, it sounds like avant-garde jazz, or a snake charmer, depending on what you're drinking, smoking or whatever. I know that we recorded it at the end of a tune, but I think they may (wisely) have replaced that with someone who could play.

Point is, I had the desire to play back then, 1972. I listened almost exclusively to jazz back then. Saxophone was my favorite instrument. I tried hard to imitate it on the guitar. But since taking up the instrument, jazz has not been my focus. I believe I have started too late to get anywhere near the skill level needed to play jazz. I do have a jazz attitude, though. My music is simple, yet has ample room to play over changes. It's enough of a struggle to play in tune, have the needed air stream and master the articulation that is so central to saxophone. I do love playing ballads, though. I think it's good exercise to play them for long notes, melodic concepts and time. Every good musician I've ever known has said playing slow is much harder than playing fast.

What kind of saxophone player do I want to be?

I want to be able to express myself, be connected to the instrument and project that connection to others. It's an uphill struggle. Some days I get that myself, that is, I'm surprised and delighted by what I hear, both live and recorded. Late at night I wonder if I am deluded.

Unclutter-1.jpg

shenai.jpeg
 

Jazzaferri

Well-Known Member
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2,679
I turned 70 this summer. Still do a few paid gigs and 3 charity ones a year for an org feeding homeless people.

Been down a number of musical roads and still am involved I n 2 music projects one of which when we finish the CD will likely go on the road but that would likely be my last r\tour.…...but mostly want to futz around the house enjoy my family and friends and play with the cat who is sleeping on my feet as I write this. Very useful as its quite cool here for this time of year. 30cm of snow forecast in the interior this weekend.
 

Jazzaferri

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2,679
@randulo given your definition I would have to guess I am not a good musician. I haven't got whatever it takes to talk quickly for any length of time and say anything useful, same goes for my playing. Though I can wiggle fingers quickly and pretend that its something. :D

Slow it down and things work for me anyway.
 

randulo

Living the dream
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5,330
@randulo given your definition I would have to guess I am not a good musician. I haven't got whatever it takes to talk quickly for any length of time and say anything useful, same goes for my playing. Though I can wiggle fingers quickly and pretend that its something. :D

Slow it down and things work for me anyway.
What definition? I'm not following?
 

Halfers

Finger Flapper
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2,275
I don't really think too much about the kind of saxophone player I want to be and I quite like it that way. I certainly don't want to be the type of saxophone player that can answer the questions 'go on then, play something!' That's akin, in my book to telling someone you're a stand up comedian and them saying 'go on, make me laugh then' :)

I was walking around the House yesterday, with the Sax slung around my neck. Played a few notes that bought to mind 'Walking On The Moon' There's ten minutes of working out the melody! Great stuff. I didn't bother checking to see if it was in the correct key. It usually isn't, so I'll probably check that at some point then transcribe it. There's a couple of tunes we play in the band that I don't know as well as I should, so I'll play them through the Stereo and get to know them a bit better. I don't bother with learning what the chords are, because I'd probably forget them anyway, so it's working out what I might want to play, work out the melody so I can pick up and maybe use some phrases here and there.

Then I'm onto something else...probably noodling some phrase that just comes out. Personally I love a lot of the stuff that just comes out without thinking about anything. Not even necessarily playing something that I hear in my head, just playing notes and getting feedback from them. I don't love it in the sense that I think I'm a great (even a good) musician or melody maker. I love it the sense that, rather than trying to reach 'outer space' I'm trying to connect to 'inner space'!

Playing with other people. That's a difference matter. I suck at that as I don't have enough experience, so playing in the band is more about repeating stuff I'm comfortable with. Maybe in time I'll get more comfortable with blending in with and improvising with the other guys. Hopefully there is time for that. Although I don't think you have to necessarily be of pensionable age to think about how much time might be left..
 

randulo

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5,330
Well, we're all gonna die sometime, and it can be any time. However, if you are working out, it makes sense to take into account the remaining resources to help figure out what to do next. When you have a probable 25-50 years ahead, it doesn't matter as much as 5 to 10.
 

Halfers

Finger Flapper
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2,275
Well, we're all gonna die sometime, and it can be any time. However, if you are working out, it makes sense to take into account the remaining resources to help figure out what to do next. When you have a probable 25-50 years ahead, it doesn't matter as much as 5 to 10.

But whether you've got 5 minutes or 50 Years left, all you can do is blow the next note ;) (I'm only kidding, I get where you're coming from)
 

Clivey

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,062
Music is my toybox and the instruments / gear ,the toys.
I often get off simply by busking tunes that make people smile and kids dance .
When I feel that I have a message to spread, I turn to the Song & words. and then the sax is simply one of the little band in my head.
 

Nick Wyver

noisy
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5,994
Point is, I had the desire to play back then, 1972. I listened almost exclusively to jazz back then. Saxophone was my favorite instrument.
1972 was when I bought my first sax (Buescher soprano) but jazz was on the periphery of my listening. Up to then it had mostly been what was called progressive rock (not quite the same as prog nowadays) and it was really Soft Machine and a few others that got me interested in playing sax. I guess my first desire was to do something in that vein. However, I could already read music (courtesy of violin lessons at a young age and school choir) and most of the teaching materials available then were geared towards classical playing so I ended up doing a lot of that too. I got round to doing grade 8 exam in 1983 mostly in order to give me a kick up the bum to do some proper practice. I'm 66 now and still gig about twice a week on average and in about 4 different bands. Bluesrocksoulfunk just about covers my current playing in public but the bands I've played in the past have been much more varied and my noodling around at home reflects that.

Since the early days (and possibly even then - I can't remember) I've only wanted to be a sax player. The instrument can be played in any style so why shouldn't I be able to play it in any style?

I've just become a grandfather and it's possible that this fact has led me to consider putting an album's worth of recordings together. If I actually get round to doing it there will be a wide range of musical genres on it. There might even be some jazz.
 

randulo

Living the dream
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5,330
@Nick Wyver Very cool history! Yes, sax can play a lot of music, it's all in the head of who's playing (or writing). Wow, you played violin (I also tried to learn that), also nice, but when you say you could already read, you still had to adapt the reading to the sax fingering, right? But you could hear the music you were reading in your head and the rhythm was there for you. That's a harder thing to lear than the notes, I think.

Do put down some music somewhere! The beauty of it is, today you don't need a record label or even a studio.
 

Caz

Member
Messages
272
as for someone who have owned a horn for 20 years, but only been really serious about putting in the time for about a year or two, i would like to be the guy who is hard working, and ever curious as to how i can learn something new.
 

Jazzaferri

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,679
@randulo "Every good musician I know has said that playing slow is much harder than playing fast" :p Not taking it at all seriously just poking fun at the fact that I am the complete opposite.
 

Stephen Howard

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,143
I'd like to be the second (I'll settle for third) Tubby Hayes.

Unfortunately I'm too lazy - and, as my old jazz teacher told me, my ear is too good. What he meant by that is I'm good enough to 'wing it' - but without putting the necessary work in on the theory side, I'll always be a 'safe' player.
I once asked a certain fine player if he'd give me some lessons...and his reply was "You don't need lessons...you know what you need to do"- and yeah, he was dead right.
But somewhere along the way you have to decide what it is you're going to do...and when all the good players are shedding scales, licks and changes - I'm stood at my workbench, thinking how I can make their horns play better, for longer.

But it's never too late - and if I can find the right band....where I'm the worst of the bunch and have to sweat to up my game (for a change), who knows what the future holds?
 

randulo

Living the dream
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5,330
@randulo "Every good musician I know has said that playing slow is much harder than playing fast" :p Not taking it at all seriously just poking fun at the fact that I am the complete opposite.
I knew you weren't acting up :) But I really didn't know what you were referring to because that's not a definition; Anyway, it's true that on one level, of course it is easier to play slow than fast! I think what they mean is that once you can play all that fast jazzy stuff (that I never will be able to play), it is harder to play slow than fast. When I listen to my fellow students at Artistworks, the main thing they have a problem with is time. I think it's harder to hear the time at slow tempos as well. The secret of slow tempos (ballads) is what Miles called "playing with the time". The easiest way to hear that concept is with Billie Holiday, who sang a lot of ballads. In passing, it's a good idea to play along with Billie and feel that concept.
 
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