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Introduction To The Saxophone

By January 18, 2017saxophone articles

What Attracted You to the Saxophone?

I’ve been asked this question many times. Well, for me it was the sound of course. Next to the human voice, I think it’s one of the most expressive instrument and the one that closest resembles the human voice.

Like our voices the sax, or should I say the saxophonist is capable of producing an extreme range of sounds from sad, haunting dark tones to uplifting screams of laughter. I don’t think anyone played the tenor saxophone with a more beautiful tone and expression than Ben Webster. His sound is distinctive and the way he played those beautiful, low, breathy notes.

A Few Audio Examples

Listen to a few saxophone examples of very different sounds that a saxophone is capable of.

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Lush and Beautiful (Ben Webster)

“Makin’ Whoopie”
From the recording Soulville

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From the recording Rock & Roll Saxophonist

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excerpt of “Chompin’ At The Bit” from the recording “Rock & Roll Saxophonist”

You can’t get a better laugh out of another instrument. This is one of my favorite gimmicks.. hey, the kids love it. By the way, in the laughing example above “Chompin’ At The Bit” my sax is going through a wah-wah pedal, in case you’re wondering what that weird sound is.

Check Out:

History of the Saxophone Part 1


  • jak Swift says:

    So Johnny, they got you down as a cross Brian Setzer, Keith Richard huh ? Setzer is a great guy, a fabulous musician and since the cats has done a whole lot to keep R&R and rockabilly going. No real opinion on the Stones. Watching you back in the day, long hair is great and a short but fabulous solo !! I began as a jazz drummer at fifteen. I was making real progress until that fateful day. Ron, my tutor had a gig. It coincided with a lesson.
    As Ron’s packing his kit and I’m playing a few rudiments on another, the tenor man showed up. He’s warming up his horn and I’m entranced. Six weeks later, no kit but my first selmer 6 tenorsax…..three hundred pounds !!!!! Thirty years have passed. Ive played tenor and bari side by side since. I really dig the bari.
    I was obsessed by a Billie Holiday clip featuring Gerry Mulligan, so first chance I got I snapped up an Adolphe low Bb baritone. Music school followed. I needed that. Coming from a drum background, all these chords, harmony, expansions….man it was tough. Played bari for big band and took practical lessons from Phil Chapman. Phil was an East London R &R tenor man. An unlikely tutor for a ” jazz ” course, but chops to spare . That settled it……R & R TENORSAX !!!!!! At eighteen I’d found my vocation. I’ve enjoyed every minute, recorded, played festivals and given lessons if I’ve had to…LOL !! Last June I was mugged. It happens. For fifty bucks, a cellphone, and a deck of smokes, I traded my left arm. Its held together by pins, plates. I had to sell almost all I owned to keep a roof over my head. Selling my 10M really hurt. Its been the worst of years, but my new horn should be here by the end of the week. Thanks Johnny !!!!! At the darkest times I wondered whether to quit ? Couldn’t do it.
    This site has really helped. From Johnny at the top; right through; it reminds me in many ways of myself, then, right through to now. Thanks Johnny. Thanks everybody !!!!!!

  • sxpoet says:

    I take my hat off to you @Jak – that’s some fun career! respect!

  • saxjohnny saxjohnny says:

    wow jak, great story!
    I have always loved Mulligan as well and the Billy Holiday clips was one of the first things that I saw of him.

  • jak Swift says:

    My pleasure guys; thankyou

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