Saxophone Forum

by fossil
(5 posts)
6 years ago

Musical Styles

I am a dead set newcomer to the instrument, how to play it and the music it generates although I did spend my whole childhood listening to my father play and practice his alto.
While I admire the sounds made by the great sax players of the past, I simply want to be able to sit down and play a melody of a favourite song for my own amusement. No embellishments, tricks, no big band or orchestra stuff.
For example, I want to be able to pull out the sheet music for Let It Be and play the melody to myself.
Does that sound reasonable?
Are there artists out there that fall into that sort of category that I could listen to?
cheers and thanks for your help.

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  1. by Saxquest
    (404 posts)

    6 years ago

    Re: Musical Styles

    I love just sitting down and playing a melody. Its a skill that seems to be lacking in many players today. It seems now that players are taught by running scales up and down changes and memorizing patterns. This is all good for technique, but the sign of a truly great improviser is how he can fold the melody into his improvisation. Sadly, many players seem to jump off a cliff after the head and forget all about the melody until its time to take the tune out again. That's in part because they never really learned the tune in the first place.

    I'm not sure exactly what you mean by playing a melody with no embellishment. If you mean, just play the melody as written with no interpretation or personal styling, then, no I don't think many great players are out there doing that. One of the greatest joys in improvisation is to interpret a melody. Interpreting a melody is as much about your sound and your sense of time as it is your note choice. Notes, sound and time all have equal weight when it comes to melody.

    One of the all time greatest saxophone players who understood melody was Johnny Hodges. Check out his version of Isfahan on Ellington's Far East Suite or Prelude to a Kiss on Ellington's Indigos record. His interpretation of melody was always dripping with pure emotion. You could take the entire band away and just listen to him and it would be heavenly. Another of my favorite jazz players who seemed to be able to wrap bebop lines in melody was Dexter Gordon. He's one of the most melodic bebop players of all time. Frank Morgan was another one of my favorites.

    As for players today, check out Bob Reynolds. He can do anything with the saxophone and melody is one of those things he does really well. Victor Goines, Sherman Irby, Greg Osby are all great examples of players doing it really well today too.



         Mark Overton

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    1. by fossil
      (5 posts)

      6 years ago

      Re: Musical Styles

      Thanks for the reply Mark. I have much to learn and look forward to the experience. You've given me a start.

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    2. by Kattamaki
      (15 posts)

      5 years ago

      Re: Musical Styles

      Hi Mark,
      I think the fellow just wants to be able to play a melody like when we learned as kids to play recorder or even tonette (if they are still around). I don't know if the fellow can read music, but there are tons of good tune books out there in every style and genre, even like folksongs from other cultures etc. Just for the pure joy of it. Maybe he will answer this post.
      Take care, Kattamaki 

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