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Monday, April 13, 2020

The Saxophone

Saxophone instrument, woodwind instrument

One of the musical instruments that musicians have made popular because of their front-line use is the saxophone. Jazz musician always love to perform with the sax, as it is fondly called, and their usage of it has made so many people around the world want to play the saxophone. Musicians like Jonny Hodges, Charlie Parker, Cannonball Adderley, Coleman Hawkins and John Coltrane, regarded as the most famous and influential saxophonist of all time, who changed the direction of jazz with his approach to improvisation and jazz harmony, have made the sax popular. Other influential musicians who made the playing of the saxophone famous include Stan Getz, Paul Desmond, King Curtis, Sam Butera, Michael Brecker, the most influential saxophonist after John Coltrane, Plas Johnson, David Sanborn and Kenny G, the biggest selling instrumentalist with more than 75 million album sold world wide.

The saxophone, a woodwind instrument, is one of the most distinct, like earlier stated, popular woodwind instruments. It comes in about 14 types but the most popular ones are the altor, soprano, baritone and tenor. The alto saxophone is usually recommended for those who want to start their journey to become saxophonist. It is the most popular and common sax. Jazz musicians used it influentially to direct and it contributed to the development of jazz music. Most of the influential musicians mentioned above used the alto saxophone in their music, making huge contributions to the popularity of the alto saxophone.

The tenor saxophone gained prominence in the military band, as the Belgium and France military, who it was originally made for, took full advantage of it. It is still been used in classical music and also form part of the quartet of the soprano, alto, baritone. Its ability to form harmony with the soprano sax is epic, although it is still used in playing solo. It was Coleman Hawkins’s pioneering genius that made the tenor saxophone to become a highly effective melody instrument in its own right, instead of the traditional harmony instrument it was used for. Some artiste have continued to used the tenor in their songs. They include Kirk Whulam, Richard Elliot, Steve Cole and Jessy J. 

When you think about the soprano saxophone today, you think about Kenny G, the former sideman of Barry White, who is one of the best selling artiste with over 75 million albums sold world wide. The soprano saxophone was also made popular in Afrobeat by the legendary Nigerian afrobeat king, Fela Anikulapo Kuti. It is a solo instrument that was made popular in classical compositions, but it is not as popular in jazz like the tenor and alto saxophone. It is the lead instrument in the saxophone quartet. Other notable soprano saxophonist include Charlie Mariano, Joshua Redman, Jay Beckenstien, Grover Washington Jr and Ronnie Laws.

The baritone saxophone is a standard member of the sax quartet. Although it has also been used for solo performances, especially in Jazz. Gerry Mulligan, Cecil Payne, Pepper Adams achieved fame, Serge Chaloff  have achieved fame as baritone saxophone soloists, with the later being the first. Fela Kuti always features at least two baritone saxophonist in his band.

The sax, invented by Adolphe Sax, is an instrument that various contemporary music artiste are employing, irrespective of the genre. It is an instrument young people want to play. Who wouldn’t love to actually play the sax?


  1. It sounds like honey dripping from the comb and is very pleasant for your ears. Thank you for sharing this beautiful journey of it being discovered. Keep writing.

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