Having control over the full range of the notes of your saxophone is important.
Not comfortably knowing all of the major scales, for example, will very much limit your saxophone playing.
But having good rhythm and knowing only one major scale is better than having bad rhythm and knowing all the scales.
BB King sounded pretty damn good with the limited number of keys he could play early on. And eventually he focused on that dimension of his playing too.
However, if you’re offbeat, it’s extremely noticeable. Things just won’t feel right, won’t line up right. It won’t groove.
It’s much easier to play around if you play a note that sounds a little off. You can just go up or down a half step. And you might come up with some colorful sounds.
Having bad rhythm doesn’t make your saxophone solo sound ‘colorful’, it makes it sound bad.
So definitely learn your scales, but also learn how to apply them using the other dimensions of music.
Art with color, but no form or any sort of structure can look cool, but for me, it’s lacking a lot.
And learning scales alone isn’t very much fun. You should also learn music at the same time and learn how to apply the scales to the music, especially with improvisation.
Which do you think is more important, having good rhythm or good note choices?