Choosing to remain in the shadows, and always searching for the perfect reed, saxophonist Pharoah Sanders is one of the unspoken giants of jazz. He is one of the few musicians to have had the honor, and virtuosity, of playing alongside musical legends Sun Ra, John and Alice Coltrane, Don Cherry, and Ornette Coleman. Together they transformed the landscape of jazz by rewriting the rules of harmony and rhythm. Continue reading “Pharoah | Fall”
Bastien Weeger on saxophone and Julien Stella on clarinets, together called NoSax NoClar, recorded at the church of Notre Dame de Bon Port in Nantes.
Ever since they met on a train platform one day during a strike, Julien Stella and Bastien Weeger have never stopped intertwining their voices and imaginations in search of beautiful escapes. Their deliciously traveling music has the genius to invent its own imaginary folklore in the course of the dialogue, the two blowers mixing timbre, rhythm and harmony in the same gesture of a never ostentatious virtuosity and an astonishing maturity.
This is a curiosity. I had hoped I might find the World Saxophone Quartet but instead I got the Salaya Saxophone Ensemble & the NAFA Saxophone Quintet. I have never seen such a choir of saxophones; three sopranos, eleven altos, five tenors, three baritones and one bass… I want to be in that number.
David Murray is for me the undisputed king of the saxophone, the living, breathing, embodiment of the music. I’ve seen him many times, in small groups, big bands, but most memorably playing solo. He is a force of nature, and every time it seems like his saxophone is connected directly to my heart.
Colin Stetson‘s breathtaking pump-it-up saxophone fuelled by apparently effortless circular breathing turning the instrument into an extension of the body like some kind of external hand-held bronchial tree summoning music in the shape of a transcendental endurance sport is quite a good warm-up act.
Ralph Carney, a saxophonist and jokingly self-described “man of a thousand instruments” heard on albums by Tom Waits, the Black Keys, St. Vincent, Elvis Costello, the B-52’s and Allen Ginsberg, died on December 16 in Portland, Oregon. He was 61. This video and the text below date from June 2015.
Ralph Carney is from Akron, Ohio and currently lives in San Francisco. He’s a multi-instrumentalist who was in the popular band Tin Huey in Akron in the ’70s, and since then has done everything from making curious solo recordings to collaborating with Tom Waits, Jolie Holland, Elvis Costello, the B-52s, and dozens of others. I myself am particularly fond of his work with Daved Hild and Mark Kramer in the 1980s alt-rock band Carney-Hild-Kramer.
And one week ago today, just two days after the horrible events in Charleston, SC, Mr. Carney posted a solo recording of multi-tracked saxophones to his bandcamp and Facebook. “Lament for Charleston” is a remarkable, strong work. I spoke with Carney on the phone today about how it came together, what the inspirations were, and future plans for the song.
Nubya Garcia is one of the leading figures in the recent resurge of jazz-influenced sounds in the UK. Born and raised in London, at 25, she is starting to make headway as a composer and saxophonist. Her signature style combines the use of live electronics with a traditional band format. Using a Korg Kaoss pad interface combined with a Boss vocal effects pedal, she manipulates the natural sound of her saxophone. She also creates custom patches through Ableton Live and Max MSP to add new dimensions to her performance and composition. Alongside her on keys is Joe Armon-Jones, a musician/composer/producer part of an exciting new wave of London-based talent.
I recently stumbled upon this video, if that’s what you call a static image with a soundtrack attached, and now I find it’s stuck on repeat, I can’t shake it. There’s no title for this piece and no telling where it’s from, except that it’s played by Gary Windo, one of my all time favourite saxophone heroes. I had heard him play with Carla Bley and Robert Wyatt and Chris McGregor’s Brotherhood of Breath, and circa 1974 he gave an earbending performance in a tiny lecture theatre at Maidstone College of Art. I was mesmerised and immediately afterwards went straight out and bought a saxophone of my own.
This recording was made at Grace Cathedral, San Francisco in 1971 by Paul Beaver & Bernie Krause with baritone saxophonist Gerry Mulligan. It was an exploration of the cathedral’s long reverb acoustics. Mulligan wanders through the space discovering constantly changing sound perspectives.
Bernie Krause is still recording but nowadays concentrating on capturing and archiving the sounds of the natural world and finding that wild sounds are increasingly silenced by the deafening noise of mankind.