The Saxophone!

What’s So Special About the Saxophone?

Charlie Parker famously said “Don’t play the horn, let it play you.” The very rare film footage that exists of him playing almost make you think that he is just relaxing while the horn plays the music. Of course for us mere mortals it’s rarely like that. To me, it feels very much like playing the saxophone is more like getting an unruly wild animal to obey you, hence “Taming The Saxophone.”

For any saxophonist, it’s often a love hate relationship. Some players get sentimentally attached to their horn, or can sometimes be caught fondling it lovingly. Some give people give their instrument a name. Many players will spend more time with their instrument than their families or friends, yet it can also be a source of profound frustration. My old teacher Red Price used to say, “don’t practise until you get it right – practise until you don’t get it wrong!”

The saxophone was not very common in the very early days of jazz of the 20s, but as soon as the 30s came around with new forms of dance music such as swing and jump jive along with the advent of what we now know as the big band, the iconic image of the instrument we love became synonymous with jazz, and managed to hold into the early years of rock and roll. The rise in popularity of the electric guitar, and the demise of the touring big band has meant that in the last 50 years there are fewer saxophones in popular music. However its days are far from over as it enjoys a resurgence in popularity.

This site is for all those people who love the saxophone (or wish they loved it). For those who want to understand its power as well its subtle nuances. You can set it free, but still be its master!

Pete Thomas


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