Hall of Fame

The Saxophone is pure class

Many argue that the tenor saxophone is the ultimate jazz instrument that is versatile and able to create a variety of moods. Surprising then, that it came from humble beginnings in Belgium in the 1840's when Adolphe Sax put a clarinet-like mouthpiece onto a metal body with a conical shape similar to an oboe and came up with an instrument louder than traditional woodwinds and suitable for military music. Even by the turn of the century its main use was in American vaudeville as a novelty instrument - emulating chicken calls and played with a slap-tongued technique. Its appearance in Jazz music changed all that, and by the 1940's it was central to the overall sound.


Each of us will have our own favourite player, but for me there is one who remains head and shoulders above the rest and therefore the first inductee into the HOF. John Coltrane is the reason why I fell in love with Jazz. He was a titanic force behind tenor and soprano saxophones during his four decades on this planet, and was relentless in his pursuit as musician. Constantly crafting his technique, he supposedly practiced sometimes ten to twelve hours a day, including after gigs or between sets. While there's some great material on his early Prestige recordings, his watershed album Giant Steps for Atlantic was monumental. His Impulse! records with his classic quartet of McCoy Tyner, Jimmy Garrison and Elvin Jones are some of finest discs he released, including A Love Supreme and Crescent. Coltrane influenced countless musicians and his presence is even heard in younger players today.

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