Hope all is well with you. Really enjoying the emails you are sending out. It’s really helping me out a sax player.
Thanks alot I really appreciate your help to make me better
Some of my favorites are Sonny Rollins, Dexter Gordan, and John Coltrane man can those guys can play …
I’m doing alot of work on listening to there articulation and the way they speak on the sax so ta say ..
Time is always the judge and jury for learning something .. so I’m sure ill be tootin around here soon 😛
thanks for the interesting mails you’ve sent I’m learning alot and hearing alot of things i didnt know were out there ..
I have to tell you this Getz/Coltrane combo video is AWESOME! Thank you for sharing.
You got a great selection of jazz favorites!
I also really like King Curtis, Eddie Shaw, Lee Allen, Lester Young and Illinois Jacquet.
Check ’em out! They’re great!
Thanks for all the help!
Fantastic stuff, Neal! This material is just amazing! And really inspirational, too.
Thank you for sending me this video! I loved it! All four of these guys are monster players! Incredible! Christian McBride is one of my favorite bass players! He’s unbelievable(and plus he has a great first name too lol). Joshua Redman is fabulous! What a great tone. I’m blown away by all four of these guys.
I want to thank you too for all the information you gave me about
players, i always loved the saxophone but i don’t know so many
players. Right now i like only a few bands with sax players but (they
aren’t as good as some you recommended me), the advantage is that i can go to see them in here.
Thanks very much. Your advice is very good and I’ll try to pass it off to any of the sax players I meet at clinics. Thanks again for all you do and keep em’ comin’
Neal, I am really glad I found your weblink. Keep up the great work!!
I’ve always loved the saxophone. My wife has heard me say it many times, so last Christmas she went to the local music store and rented an alto sax for me to see if I would like it. I absolutely love it, even though I’m a 54 y/o 6th grader in music competency. I take private lessons and the instructor is great. That’s the basic history in a nut shell. I do have a question for you. I’ve always loved the tenor sax. My wife rented an alto simply because that is the sax of choice for beginners. I’m going to buy my own tenor sax. What are some of the brands you would recommend and is it a big deal going from an alto to a tenor?
I’m having a great time reading your e-mails and find them very informative. Learning and applying some of the lessons and techniques has been slow going because of my work schedule, its always changing..week to week. But I am determined to become not only a good sax player, but also to be a intelligent musician; I must learn to speak the language. If I am listening to a jazz artist in order to practice or learn a new song, some of my favorite artists are Kirk whalum, Kenny G, Grover Washington and Gato Barbieri to name a few. My altime favorites and jazz masters are Duke Ellington, Stanley Turrentine, Louis Armstrong, Dexter Gordon, Stan Getz and John Coltrane.
KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK NEAL, LOOKING FORWARD TO MORE LESSON. Who knows, I just might actually learn to play….Thanks a lot
Excellent! I watched the Reed Adjustment one, that being one of my favorite topics from the time I was a kid and played clarinet, and will watch the others later today after work.
That one was really good, though, and I’m sure the others will be good also. I have a CD from an old issue of Saxophone Magazine with Jerry giving a lesson, I will look for the CD and see what it’s about.
I remember these exercises! : ) Reminds me of taking saxophone lessons, I had to play exercises out of this book each week. Good stuff!!
this is joshuas dad. lots of funnies lots of serious musicians out there. i think it ts great. you taking the time to share with josh he is a tallented young man.(unbiased opinnion, taking the publics opinion of him,he is a monster at home. but, i love him no matter what)
Hi Neal, I Have found your site interesting to say the least. I have no degrees, and Ive never served on a musical Jury..
If a person wants to be a tenorman ( not a sax player). There is a body of worj you must master and it is not giantr steps..
What it is is Stardust, body and soul, lush life, speedball (lee morgan), confirmation, Con alma,, for the record Ive got steps coverd
.I wonder if the responed with all the credentials knows Poor Butterfly. or monks ask me now and evedence. Forthwith
here is a lis of players with no degrees , Coltrane, Rollins, Stitt, Hawkins, Lester young, Colman Hawkins, Moody. etc etc
If you need to know about the saxaphone, listen transcribe and most Important get in a band even if Its
just a rehearsel group
I have been playing for six years now. I love it so much. My thing that sets me away from others is that I can play by ear and my ability to solo with any songs. My next assignment is to play Take 5 by Paul Desmond
Sweet backing and soloing, this is great!
I remember James Carters crazy tenorsolos from the Quartet videos. I’ve listened to
it a lot of times since you sent me the video.
Thank you for all the good stuff, that you are sending me. Thumbs up on stumble!
-Joe Henderson Interview
Thanks for the video, Gato happens to one of my favorites……..I saw him perform in Boston at skullers about 15 years ago.
THANKS Eddie B
You have turned me on to alot of the old school jazz which I now like, Stanley T, Horace S
Etc. I do tend to like Ballards and funk along with duets and female vocals, I also like newer artists like Norman Brown and Paul Taylor.Thanks for sending you favorites, I listened to them all.
Can you share any sheet music that you may have ??? I also have an album of Nancy Wilson, ” All in Love is Fair” from 1974 that I need to convert to CD, I cant find anyone that will do this for a reasonable price without shipping across county.
Thanks eddie b
Thanks for the info………i will start to use it tomorrow………i know im getting a little better as my landlord says i sound better.
Thanks Eddie B
What else than excellent, can i say? I love both of them! Impressive playing by Redman.
Cool, I’ve got a bit of Coltrane and Sonny Rollins, but just a few Dexter Gordon (Go and maybe one or two more). What do you like by him?
Thanks for the clip Neal and thanks so much for turning me on to Stanley T, who is now on of my favorites. You have certainly helped mre broaden by horizon with respect to the old school artists who i never really listened to or appeciated before. My……. times have changed.
Regards for the holiday season.
Wow! I am really getting into Joshua Redman! Thats is just sick saxophone playing!
I like the way he quotes St. Thomas.
I would really like to hear what it sounds like as ive learned music threw my ears .. For some odd reason i have a hard time translating what i see on paper and online but when i hear it i understand it alot easier ..
I really appreciate all your hard work and effort you go threw to help others advance .. hopefully good things come to you as you’ve given good things to many people ..
Thanks! Guess we better get used to Mr. Alex Han….looks like he is going to be around the next 50 years.
My “old beginner” perspective of the saxophone:
After studying music decades ago, I went off to adventuring and making a living in various places in the world.
A couple of months ago I pulled out a clarinet I’d purchased in Germany in 1975 and hadn’t played for the past twenty-five years and discovered it was still fun and I could still get decent tones out of it. Obviously the clarinet needed a reconditioning so I put in the the shop and, having always liked the multfarious sounds of different saxophones, rented out an alto sax. Way back in high school I had a talent that allowed me to pick up instruments very quickly – obviously not expertly, but passably – so when someone got sick for a performance I got to learn the instrument (from clarinet to coronet/trumpet, to baritone, to tuba, to bells…). It is pleasant to discover that it still comes easy and within a month and I have gone through a couple of “learner” methods for the sax – obviously, a long, long way from being really proficient, but I am having a real good time along the way.
My German father-in-law, who is now ninety-eight (yes, 98), and has been an avid classical amateaur musician, with professional knowlege and abilities, all his life explained to me last Xmas that he now can hear better than ever before. He is, of course, referring to a core understanding of what is in a particular piece of music, not to the physical accurateness of his 98 yr old hearing. It took me years to understand what wisdom is within this old man. When he conducts (with a full score) in his living room, some obscure Mozart recording, he is truly “within” the music and being there whether as a performer or a listener is as good as it can be. The same can be said for him and my youngest daughter (who is a medical doctor and an excellent musician) during the holidays sight reading recorder duets for a non stop hour plus…
I’m not sure as to how far I will go with my new learning gig, but I do know “being within” the wonderful sounds of the sax is already possible on occasion and for a 62 year old just starting out…that’s enough.
Thank you for your Newsletter,
Good to hear from you. That’s quite a story!
I had a bit of trouble finding a saxophone when I was in Germany on my first trip, one that I could rent for a short period of time anyway. Did you live there for a while?
Glad that you and your family are enjoying music.
Let me know if I can help you with anything.
Lived in Europe for over thirty five years. The Europeans were way ahead in recognizing Jazz as a true, innovative and unique form of art… is sort of odd that perhaps the most uniquely American art form had to cross an ocean to be regularly thought of as being what it is (thank God, we are improving…).
I do not know for sure, but do believe that it isn’t as easy to rent instruments in Germany compared to the USA.
Thanks again for your newsletter,
Hi Neal. I play tenor myself in a lot of the blues clubs in the boston area.right now i am playing an older king super 20 with a hard rubber vandorn t99 mouthpice with lavorz medium soft reeds. My favorite players were Stan Gets,Gerry Mulligan,Paul Desmond,Sonny Rollins.Sonny Stit,Houston Person.thanks for the music you have sent me.
So far my favorite Dexter Gordon tune of the moment is the song ( It will have to do)Until the real thing from the swinging affair album .. ill try to upload it to this email so you can check it out .. its just gotta great feel to it he makes that sax sing .. Darn that Dream is a good one too off of daddy plays the horn .. both very well articulated i think … i also liked three o clock in the morning off Go .. im really new to playing but getting great sounds so far 🙂
if you get the chance you should check the first two i mentioned out … nice and relaxing ..
I love this video! Miles Davis is unbelievable! He’s just incredible! John Coltrane is fantastic, too! I love this era of Jazz, I think it’s one of the very highest points of Jazz and of American music in general.
Great to hear from you and thank you so much for sharing this video with me! These guys are all incredible and I am really amazed at Cannonball Adderley. He’s just fantastic! I’ve heard of him before but never actually heard his playing or at least knew that he was the man on the sax.
One doesn’t have to go far in the music world to find arrogance, conceit and egomania. I don’t think there’s anything wrong at all with belief in one’s self and a sureness about one’s abilities especially in light of all the time one puts into the development of his art, and musicians as well as most creative people in general have some level of egos. However, the “multi-degreed” professor obviously seems very full of herself and is no stranger to blowing her own horn. People like her no matter how good a player or how impressive their credentials completely turn me off.
Thank you for this clip, Gato Barbieri is fantastic! What a beautiful tone he has and he plays both aggressively and subtlety. I will check out “Calle 54”. I have a video store near me that has a large selection of hard to find and vintage titles so this movie could very well be there. I like latin music and love latin jazz in particular.
I luv Gato, he’s quite the player.
I live in Nicaragua, Central America. I make my living playing Gigs…weddings, parties, bars, malls, etc…you name it ! ( still trying to get into the divorce & funeral markets)
My repertoire contains covers from the 30`s to the 80`s, from Ellington to Pink Floyd. I perform over my own tracks…alone with myself ( Tenor, flute & vocals). I have a great time, meet a lot of people…get drunk..and I get paid for it !!!
I`ve been an auto-didactic, self taught, saxophonist and I tell you it has been blood, sweat & tears in the past…. Oh man, I did so many stupid things for so long. It is learning the hard way ! Now thanks to the internet I can happily bang my head against the wall everytime I discover what a dumb ass I have been.
So it is great to be in touch with like minds. I have lots of questions…
That was excellent. He’s a good model because of his sound and the fact that he’s straightforward. I’m liking him more and more as I progress.
Actually, your CDs are fairly much what I would have chosen, except I also like Paul Desmond solo (as on your Brubeck album) and Ben Webster quite a bit. I didn’t know Sosa, so that was interesting.
I like a good deal of other music as well, as some of that informs my playing, some of it doesn’t. I play flute also, and I like Indian Bansuri music, which seems very much an art of improvisation, although I doubt if I could ever learn the Bansuri. Maybe someday.
While I like Paul Desmond quite a bit, playing softly like he did and like the later Prez did is not a goal of mine :>)
This is really excellent and very helpful. I have lotsa thoughts bounced off that page, but one thing of immediate interest, at least to me, is that I had a voice teacher once who also said to think in intervals. Indeed, we drilled intervals for several weeks.
Thanks again, this is great.
I have the Klose book, have had it for a while, it’s excellent.
Using them more effectively is a good idea; offhand, I’d have to think. There should be some way of merging “how to practice” ideas with Klose’s substantive exercises and make a synthesis that’s easy to follow and helpful (that is, “here’s how you do it within your practice routine, and here is what you practice”) Let me think about this.
Doing ok, been buried in the day job, but plan to hit the sax today.
This is excellent though, and helps crysallize my working on this very important idea,
and a video sometime would be great.
The Circle of Fifths has been helpful to me before, and hopefully one day it will be completely fluid for me.
Definetly incredible! Wow, Dizzy has developed some huge cheeks over time. I didn’t even knew Frank Foster before, but i will certainly search for more, he is great! Thank you very much.
He also did a good job in a concert on the Akai wind controller. The piece he did on that could have gone on for six hours itself :>)
Will take a look in a bit, thanks !
My absolute favorite piece from Julian. I am working on this song on both saxes, and it goes quiet good.
I am considering, that i should transcribe his fantastic solo. I never transcribed a good piece before, so that should be some good training.
In the play-a-long book, there is only the theme, and then a improvisation piece. I like improvising, and i do it quiet a lot, but it could be
funny to transcribe a solo from Cannonball. Further on, i’ve just been playing a pentatonic scale or a blues scale and so on when i solo in bands.
Therefore I am trying to get started with a bit of piano to know the chords and stuff, and that goes fairly good so far.
I read some of the other interviews too. Thats very good, informative and inspiring reading.
Neal, thanks for the daily exercise sheet. I’ve started using it already. As a beginning saxophone player at the age of 54, ( yep that’s right 54!), I can use all the help and tips available. Thanks again, Dave
To say it with a short and good expression, you can always be better.
I guess this counts for everything we do. You can always study, practice,
study, practice and so on, but you will never reach a level, where you get
stuck, that could only be because of lacking motivation! As i wrote earlier on,
you can always be better, although the progression can seem slower when
you have played for a long time. I remember how fast i got better when i
just started playing the sax. Big progression takes more by now, as i
have been playing for (only) three years. I dont think those people
from Yahoo are enlightened, at all, it’s just easier to pretend or be cool
when you are not face-to-face, i guees.
The masters are masters until someone else beats them, and so the race
continues in my eyes.
I believe that there is no other saxophonist that has taken Technique & Dynamics, control and power as far as Michael Brecker has. His place is among the very,very GREAT.
Thanks for the video !
Nice and special sound. Theres a lot of edge on the sound, but still it’s warm and soulful.
Thank you for another great video. I will try to find Calle 54 in the nearest future.
That’s a cool video. I think that salsa music is really interesting and inventive i am trying to start a group and i drawing ideas from all differents styles and variations of jazz and it’s counter parts. thanks for sending me this.
That was simply amazing! It’s funny to hear the difference in the tones of the masters. Getz has a dark, almost subtone kind of sound, while Coltrane is free, clear and a bit brigther. I love that piece, added to my favorites straight away. A extraordinary good mix of two kinds of tenorsax. It would have been great, if those to recorded a cd together, in my humble opinion.
It’s easy for myself to be intimidated and awed by players better than I am. I’ve only within the last year taken up learning the saxophone. I can put some notes together but don’t really call it playing yet. I would like to know how to use it to put a voice to my feelings/moods. I am making progress. My instructor is literally 1/2 my age. She pulls no punches, challenges me and sees my frustration and progress. I felt I had reached a plateau in my lessons. Would I never progress past Tisket a Tasket? or the C scale? What magic did Stan Getz, Ben Webster and Gene Ammons possess? My instructor told my wife after being asked point blank “Should I support this? is He any good?” ( I was away from them for perhaps 4 minutes) She replied “YES! Of course you should support him! Every week he is doing better, more confidence, reading is improving, tone is great. etc…etc…” I asked what they were gossiping about when I returned. Later when I was told, I was on the 10th cloud. That one bit her saying what she really thought of me, away from my ears boosted me over the top. Yes, I can recognize my improvement, I am improving. I will improve more. They didn’t have a magic, they acquired the magic through practice. They started where I am. When my wife says hmmm you sound good I recognized that, or yes you can practice in the house while I have a migraine and am trying to sleep..That is another kind of magic as well.
Michael Segell’s book, The Devil’s Horn is about the saxophone and it’s developement as well as him learning to play. I know I’m not alone
Neal, The Devils Horn was a pretty good read. The first chapter had me cracking up. If it wasn’t the poisoning it was the explosions, or the concussions. It’s an eye opener, well researched I think. I’ve seen Effortless Mastery around the web, I may get it. Living is like growing to me, if you stop learning you stop nourishing yourself, stop nourishing then you stop growing , once that happens…well you die. Zen and the Guitar is one I read, and Peaceful Warrior (also a movie with Nick Nolte–based on the author’s true life quest for truth and betterment). It seems I’m hearing more lately about my limits being only those placed on me by me. Wish I knew that when I was younger, I’d be retired and living off the fat of the land now even if I am just 38. There is an author out there maybe you’ve heard of him Bill Moody? He is a drummer out in Vegas and has written 6 books based on a reluctant “detective” sort who is a jazz piano player by trade. These books are along the lines of jazz history-some center around Chet Baker, Clifford Brown, Wardell Gray, but they are also semi detective/murder mystery. The “Hero” Evan Horne is human and makes mistakes. It’s a series in terms of E.H. is through out, and refers back to previous adventures in the current book or adventure. I read them some what out of order at first and they stood on their own, but in order is nice too.
Friday I’m thinking of getting a Conn 10M New Wonder, silver plated from the 20’s, if it feels and sounds right. It’s in the lower reg. I may side for a King or a The Martin, if it doesn’t pan out. I’m tired of renting and feeling like a mope. I’m ready to up grade, I have some decent mouth pieces Selmer Soloist C* vint, Selmer S80, a generic blank vintage which sounds good, two Brilhart Specials one vint, and a big ol’ fat Vandoren jumbo 95 I think it was. I prefer the rubber teeth guards cos one of my front teeth has had some work done recently.
Here’s a question, (although I know 1/2 the answer and that being the right horn is the one you can play the best–feel, sound, affordability, pleasing to your eye) Are the P.Mauriat horns not that bad? I tried PF Flier it sounded & played for me as well as a Selmer MK6, a Buffet, a Conn, and my rental and the scurg of all horns a Buescher Elkhart. Of course the MK6 was choice went I dove low, and felt great in my hands. But the PF Flier and the others did as well. Personally I like the vintage aspect because it is vintage. Should I get off that kick? and think more openly? Should I avoid at all costs any make/model? Or is it entirely too early to want to up grade? Ah look it’s late. Glad you think the D.H. book is good. Look into Bill Moody some titles are Bird Lives, Looking for Chet Baker, have a good one..Christian Bond
Duh I’m dumb, I went and clicked on their names and saw the Hackensack video. Brilliantly shot and a pure sample of each style.
I got the 1923 silver plated Conn 10M new wonder. it projects ands feels like a pacing Valkyrie ready to fight. I think I heard her whisper to me play a bit tonight. I couldn’t —-Lady J. (my wife) has a migraine. She said I could have but i just keyed everything and sight read. I like the ease of going from Bb to the high D, have to get usd to the upper reg key, very little pressure needed and very little movement. Now to see how we get along. Have a good one, Chris
Thank you very much, Neal. That was very useful reading.
Greetings from Denmark
Neal, Ben Webster, and Gene Ammons are up there pretty high on my list. Cannonball, Getz, Illinois Jacquet, David FH Newman, Chet Baker, and Monk with Trane. I listen for who does a version of a particular tune.. Like Getz with Blood Count, or Functional from Monk and Trane. Ben Webster has some good ballads-Tenderly, My Biggest Mistake, La Rosita. Skylark from Newman. I have difficulty hearing some of the more exploratory work. Maybe more so a few years ago until I learned about the protest music back story. Once I could conceptualize it in a social context I got more of it. Sadly enough I don’t listen to many new artists who play– male or female. However, I listen to female vocalists Barber, Krahl, Madeline. Maybe I’m stuck in a time warp but I dig the straight ahead jazz and Ballads, some Bebop/Swing. I can watch the video Jazz on a summer’s day-the Newport jazz festival 1959 I think it was, over and over.
Since I’m learning the sax, I’m starting to be able to hear it as well as see it move across the score and actually grasp how the triplet, and grace notes are played. It’s like a thousand beads of different colours being poured randomly into a funnel (all the information/teaching, discoveries and Aha’s) , Every now and then they stream out the bottom in an actual pleasing array of notes, timing and tone (the rare 3-5 measures i get through before I realize I’m playing what I know and my eyes are lost. I’m not reading the music but I’m playing it.)
Madeleine Peyroux was her name, there’s something in her voice (almost any female’s voice really) when they sing jazz it just cut right through me. I’ll keep an ear to the x-m radio for Alex Han. After my trip to Rome in Oct, I’ll order the Effortless Mastery book. I’ll probably have to wait a few paydays in order to let my money settle and see where I’m at. I know I frustrate my teacher but we also laugh so it’s a good thing. I’ve been learning for 5 maybe 6 months. I’m off to practice now, gotta strengthen my chops. Have a good night. Chris
These are some very nice exercises! I always play long tones (the chromatic ones – two at the time, and just regular – one at the time), these ones, and then scales, before i start playing tunes and stuff.
It gives you a good feeling of your finger technique. My sax teacher says, that these are especially useful when switching from the low octave to the high octave. It’s good practice to try to roll from C (medi) to D (medi), back and forward, until you get as smooth a sound, as if you were rolling from E (medi) to F (medi). Further more, it gives you a good felling of the notes relation to each other, and it is a good suplement for scale exercises. Some times i use a metronome, so that i can play the exercises at the same tempo all the way around, and get a good flow when practicing. This helps me with rhytms too. Of course, i would pick a laid back/medium tempo, you can always speed up the pace if you find it necessary. That may be my best advice for making these more effective. I don’t know if it’s useful.
It’s a hasty time at the moment, so i didn’t even manage to respond to the lesson movies that you send to me. These were very good. I especially improved after watching the articulation lessons.
Funny thing. I just got the sheet for Take Five this week for tenor, so i am going to learn the tune for tenor, then transcribe it into alto, and play it on the alto too.
Paul Desmond is one of the most unique alto saxes ever. As you say, he has a extremely delicate and soothing sound, almost like a Getz on alto. Further more, i am going to Aarhus this weekend to buy some jazz cd’s, and i wrote down tons of jazz names to look for. I got a tip of some jazz jam at a place, where i might be going in the near future, there should be some quality jazz players there. I think, that i will just learn and listen a couple of times, and then jump into it. Everyone can join, they say.
just got back from the “eternal city” (Rome, Italy) and found these from you, I guess it’s true as far back as Mr. Jelly Roll himself said you can’t have jazz with out the added spice of the latin sound, the Phat Band was pretty good
! Oh, I have laughed with this ! ! Very Funny…and real. Most of my shirts are as those described ! Uppss…
Is Coltrane a fire-breathing dragon or what? Thanks so much for the clip!
Neal, you are right Stanley is petty hot, especially on the song midnight and you. he’s like the barry white of sax playing.
Regards eddie b
Yes, the result certainly surprised me. I made a comment on the site, that you linked to. Got a bit long, but so i was sure to tell all the things that i wanted to tell. Especially Johnny Hodges, which i write a bit about at the end, i think is very underrated. He should be given more credit.
Have a nice weekend,
thanks for the great music
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