Archive for tenor saxophone

Sax and the Single Man

Posted in Biographical, Covid-19, Music with tags , on March 16, 2020 by telescoper

I heard on Friday that my upstairs neighbours were going away for a few days for the St Patrick’s Day break, so I took the opportunity afforded by this solitude to take this baby out of its box and have a bit of practice.

I don’t have my usual tenor sax with me in Maynooth: it’s in safe (?) keeping elsewhere (that’s a long story). Here it is, pictured a few years ago in my house in Cardiff:


The soprano sax may be a much smaller and lighter instrument than the tenor but it is more of a handful to play in tune. I always thought this was my own incompetence but it seems to be agreed by proper musicians.

My usual practice is to warm up with scales and other exercises then play along a bit with some backing tracks made for the purpose with just a rhythm section. Playing simple riffs on the chords is a good way to settle in, then you can start to improvise properly.

I wouldn’t say my attempts to revive my long neglected musicianship have been very successful so far – not least because they were never very good in the first place – but it’s a nice diversion.

I suspect that many people will be looking for things to do to stop them getting bored over the next few weeks and months.

Hang My Tears Out To Dry

Posted in Jazz with tags , , on June 11, 2013 by telescoper

Ever since Coleman Hawkins recorded his famous version of Body and Soul in 1939, the yardstick by which tenor saxophonists have come to be measured is by their playing on ballads. By that standard, and indeed by any other, Dexter Gordon must be right up there with all the greats. This is his lovely version of the Jule Styne/Sammy Cahn composition I Guess I’ll Hang My Tears Out To Dry, from the album Go, which is an object lesson in not trying too hard when you’ve got a great tune to work on.

Me and my horn….

Posted in Biographical, Music with tags , , on January 6, 2013 by telescoper

How will I amuse myself when I’ve got no TV or internet connection?

Here’s the answer…


..although I’m not sure the neighbours are going to be very happy about it!