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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)


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randulo

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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?
Never too late, yes, I believe that completely. I posted this because I am sincerely interested in the goals of anyone who is willing to talk about them. Mine are personal, certainly very different from anyone under 30, and many under 60. From then on, we may be similar :)
 

Jazzaferri

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2,679
Time ....you want to hear someone who is loose with time...have a deep listen to Bird. Never seems to lose the groove.

At teh end of my jazz degree I could play fast and harmonically correctly. Just never really had a good melodic feel at that speed. I call it wiggle fingers and blow mode. I hear lots of jazz players do this but for me a lot of it seems to be missing something....though in all honesty that could be me just not getting it either.

I love listening to Trane's early stuff but most of his later work just overwhelms me. Like being in a room with someone who talks quickly and never stops.
 

David Dorning

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....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. .....

Bob Reynolds talked at his Southampton workshop about practicing everything at 60bpm and being very self-critical about timing. I think that's where playing slowly gets both difficult and rewarding. The more time to hear each note the more critical the timing, but the more aware of timing you become, whether it's practicing at 60bpm or playing ballads.
 

randulo

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Yes, I didn't even mention the idea that maintaining a pure and stable note on a saxophone isn't the easiest part! At slow tempos, the notes are loooooooooonnnnng.
 

Pete Effamy

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2,596
Bob Reynolds talked at his Southampton workshop about practicing everything at 60bpm and being very self-critical about timing. I think that's where playing slowly gets both difficult and rewarding. The more time to hear each note the more critical the timing, but the more aware of timing you become, whether it's practicing at 60bpm or playing ballads.

Yes, 60bpm is hard enough. If you ask a room of people to clap at 120 bpm and try to sound like one person, hopefully they're not too bad. 60 ppm is much harder and 50 even more-so. Fast playing usually demands fast articulation too, but a really slow tempo can show up a poor attack like nothing else. Fast passage don't necessarily require much in the way of vibrato, and certainly not dynamics within a note, which you might decide to employ in a ballad. Most people can decipher what they are hearing at slow speeds (whether they understand it or not) but fast bebop for example will go over many listeners heads.
 

Jules

Formerly known as "nachoman"
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Interesting thread. What sort of Sax player do I want to be (or am I)- an old school R&B honker with arthouse pretentions. I'd never claim to be a good sax player but I am a very experienced one. While half of me wants to be Stanley Turrentine, Sam Butera, Ben Webster- your classic old school Texas tenor- the other half wants to be Jimi Hendrix, mid freakout -hence my love of James Carter, a guy who I'm sure 'gets' this perfectly and is on a vastly higher rung of the same ladder I find myself on... (or have put myself on)
 

Jules

Formerly known as "nachoman"
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Great answer, @Jules, thanks!
while my natural home has been in blues and rockabilly bands I do get a bit weird for a sone of them.. I'm currently working with a band whose guitarist is influenced by the old blues guys plus Marc Ribot & Robert Quine... he gets it perfectly (I'm assuming you're down with those two references considering your background?)
 

randulo

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while my natural home has been in blues and rockabilly bands I do get a bit weird for a sone of them.. I'm currently working with a band whose guitarist is influenced by the old blues guys plus Marc Ribot & Robert Quine... he gets it perfectly (I'm assuming you're down with those two references considering your background?)
Never heard of either. My favorite living guitarist who plays blues (but like I di, not purist) is Robben Ford. On a more traditional plane would be Dr. John, who I saw in person before I knew he even played guitar, or Robert Cray. There are so many classic greats like BB, Albert King, Albert Collins, Freddy King I used to listen to back in the day. There are several really great new blues-influenced players, but I don't follow that stuff at all.
 

Jules

Formerly known as "nachoman"
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4,699
Never heard of either. My favorite living guitarist who plays blues (but like I di, not purist) is Robben Ford. On a more traditional plane would be Dr. John, who I saw in person before I knew he even played guitar, or Robert Cray. There are so many classic greats like BB, Albert King, Albert Collins, Freddy King I used to listen to back in the day. There are several really great new blues-influenced players, but I don't follow that stuff at all.
Ah.. I thought you had some Tom Waits connection.... Ribot is the guy from Tom Waits' band in the 80s and 90s... .That Howling Wolf meets Ornette Coleman - a sort of clanky, disonant take on vintage blues. Quine was downtown New York jazz/punk/1950s pop.....a unique voice- played with Richard Hell and, subsequently, Lou Reed
 

randulo

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Ah.. I thought you had some Tom Waits connection.... Ribot is the guy from Tom Waits' band in the 80s and 90s... .That Howling Wolf meets Ornette Coleman - a sort of clanky, disonant take on vintage blues. Quine was downtown New York jazz/punk/1950s pop.....a unique voice- played with Richard Hell and, subsequently, Lou Reed
I knew a bass player that played with Waits for years, but I never knew him, and haven't listen to him much, though I think he's great.

Who are your (up to three) favorite sax players?
 

randulo

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Speaking of bass players, on the "networking and personality" side of working, I just remembered a guy I hired and fired after the first gig, which was an outdoor show. We were set to rehearse at a studio on my dime. He showed up on time, but then wanted to finish his sandwich, and took his time while the meter was running. This is something you don't do on someone else's dime. I couldn't dump him then and there because it was too late. Ironically, we travelled down two hours from Paris. It started raining once we were almost setup, they cancelled the concert because of potential electrocution. I never called him again.
 
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