Following on from my previous “Favourite Jazz Saxophonists – The Greats” post here’s part two as promised focusing on contemporary artists. Hopefully it will provide you with a useful introduction to some fantastic and inspiring musicians, all of whom are well worth checking out.
With this playlist I’ve tried to create a selection that covers a wide range of players and styles, and if you listen carefully you will hear that all of them have learnt from the Past Masters like the ones featured in my previous “Favourites” post.
The saxophone is so well known for the output of the many great jazz saxophonists, the fact that there is a huge wealth of classical repertoire written for it is often wrongly overlooked.
As Professor of Saxophone at the London College of Music, as well as being an alumni of the Royal College of Music, the Classical Saxophone is something that I hold very dear to my heart and actively aim to champion whenever possible.
For this article I therefore thought I would create a Spotify playlist featuring a number of my favourite classical saxophone works, covering a range of repertoire including core french, concerti, and contemporary classical. Celebrated composers such as Claude Debussy, Alexander Glasunov, Mark-Anthony Turnage, and Michael Nyman all feature.
As you’ll have probably seen from this website already I like the analogy that Jazz is a “Language”. We all know that when studying any language learning the written form will only get you part of the way there. You need to understand the inflections (articulation, swing), the way it flows and cadences (phrasing), as well as it’s structure (harmony, voice leading). See what I am getting at? We need to learn how to “speak” Jazz!
Luckily not only do we have great masters both past and present to learn the art of jazz improvisation from, but we live in a time where we practically have unlimited access to recordings and videos online. Bearing that in mind, there has probably never been a better time to learn jazz saxophone because of these available resources!
Are you looking to strengthen your jazz improvisation?
Building a “language” is invaluable if you want to become a convincing improviser, whatever the genre that you are interested in.
Bebop is undoubtedly the building blocks of jazz as we know it today and so at the bottom of this blog post is a pdf file for you to download and keep of 5 of my favourite jazz licks. They are by four of the greatest exponents of the idiom, namely Charlie Parker, Sonny Stitt, Sonny Rollins, and Clifford Brown (Yes, a trumpet player. It’s extremely useful to transcribe solos by the masters that didn’t just play your instrument!).
I’ve been meaning to set up this website for a while.
I started teaching the saxophone all the way back in 2002 when I was a student at the Royal College of Music. I took a Saturday morning job teaching at Wimbledon School of Performing Arts (or WiSPA as it was known) basically because I was a broke student and needed the money. Very quickly though I realised something….I love teaching.
There’s absolutely nothing like the buzz you get when a student is also so enthusiastic about the thing you hold so dear. Music.