How Saxophones Go with Jazz

How Saxophones Go with Jazz

On March 24th of 2014, ‘The New York Times’ published an article about popular Blue Note jazz albums by some of the biggest jazz musicians in American music history. Interestingly enough, the list of albums include saxophone legends like Dexter Gordon, John Coltrane, Ornette Coleman, Sonny Rollins and many others. As a tribute to the melodious compositions that jazz saxophonists inspire, and in their influence on music culture, a major record label will release a series of re-mastered vinyl recordings until October of 2015. This is a unique opportunity for jazz lovers and musicians to collect these albums that are a part of America’s rich musical treasures.

The NY Times article mentioned above will definitely bring back the nostalgic moments of the bygone era. American jazz always holds a special place for versatility. This is despite the concern of many jazz lovers that this classic music form may fade away due to the emergence of rock, pop, hip-hop and fusion culture. Some even considered jazz as the black sheep of music genres. Even though jazz was a familiar fixture in the concert halls, on the radio, on records and in the Hollywood blockbusters, such impressions of playing the second fiddle to other music forms remain. Keeping aside such personal opinions, we can move on to understand how jazz still evolved through creative interpretation or improvisation. In such a context, the saxophone has played an influential role.

The journey of the saxophone began with Adolphe Sax, who was a Belgian instrument inventor. He created the saxophone in 1842 by attaching a clarinet mouthpiece to a brass instrument. The saxophone was first used in military bands in the 1800s. However, it took some more time before other musicians sincerely considered it. Later, some talented maestros like Sidney Bechet, Frankie Trumbauer, Coleman Hawkins and others lifted jazz with their improvisation skills. These saxophonists infused their introspective style, knowledge of harmony, and quirky melodic style that made the saxophone unique. All of these experiments had triggered a remarkable musical expedition on the path of evolution.

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