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Monday, August 23, 2010


For some reason, I’ve been late to the party on saxophones. I had a good, saxophone-playing friend in college who was so frustrated by what he termed “the musical limitations” of his instrument that I developed an ‘over it’ attitude towards an instrument I was barely familiar with. Ah the folly of youth! In the years since those heady, saxophone-prejudiced days, and as I’ve been slowly adding sax to my listening diet, I’ve come to a realization: I like the saxophone!

This week will be heavily sax-infused. There’s a lot of wonderful new music out there featuring saxophones, much of it commissioned by sax heroes the Prism Quartet. We’ll get hip to sax solos, sax quartets, and sax concertos. Yay saxophone!

Have you ever eschewed an instrument or style of music you were not too familiar with, only to find out you loved it? Come clean in the comments!

Hosted by:

Nadia Sirota

Comments [9]

Monica Shriver from Phoenix, AZ

Yay saxophone! (Although, I have to admit that after meeting you last weekend I was very much "yay viola!"). :)

The PRISM quartet is one of my favorite groups. Ironically, they were in Phoenix while I was in NYC.

Enjoy your saxophone listening. If your curious, there is a North American Saxophone Alliance Facebook page.

Nov. 01 2010 12:53 PM

@Tiffany from Long Island, if you're excited about learning more piano rep, don't forget to tune in to Hammered! weekdays right before Nadia's show, at 11 a.m. and p.m. Non-stop New Music for keyboard, with some Rachmaninoff and Bach in the mix:

Aug. 24 2010 06:17 PM
Chris Pelzer from Berlin, Germany

A friend of mine posted a link to Deep Shrott, a Bass Saxophone Quartet, here doing a cover of an old Fleetwood Mac song. What a great sound.

Aug. 24 2010 06:02 AM

NADIA! So glad you're back!

All primed for new shows here, and the sax week is great for summer. Probably this is the folly of MY Southern youth, but I associate the instrument with Gershwin-esque Charlestonian memories of jazz on long, hot nights. Post-Spoleto blues under Spanish moss.

Nadia, you is our woman now.
- Porgy

Aug. 23 2010 01:35 PM

Could you guys find a copy of Sonny Rollins' "Concerto for Tenor Saxophone"? It is a glorious piece of music. All I have found is the performance in Japan in the DVD "Saxophone Colossus", and this performance is incomplete and interrupted by comments.

Aug. 23 2010 01:32 PM
Tiffany from Long Island

I too have recently discovered saxophone ensembles - the digital music station on our cable service has a great "Classical Crossover" program Sunday evenings and I've enjoyed neat arrangements of all sorts of tunes by saxophone and bassoon ensembles.

But one conversion I've relished is piano music. I used to pooh-pooh piano literature for ages. Just never got into it. And then I was broken in by Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue" and warmed up to piano selections. But what really did it was the second movement of Ravel's piano concerto in G minor. That and the Rachmaninoff second - I nearly swoon listening to those!

Aug. 23 2010 12:40 PM
gary gach from below the eggplant

am thinking about the question ... ( i remember when i 1st heard eric dolphy on bass clarinet & wondered "what is that!?" ... now there's squonk : new music bass clarinet quartet ... ) ....meanwhile, wondering if (besides obvious possibilities like rova sax 1/4tet) coltrane might figure in this week's sax fest ... given his influence (along w/ gamelan) on minimalists ( his "sheets of sound" an outgrowth of his studies of slonimsky, say ) ... there's also some pretty neat ragas on saxophone (as by prasant radhakrishnan ) ... yrs, body & soul ...

Aug. 23 2010 11:55 AM

best q2 week evar?

Aug. 23 2010 03:55 AM
Vance Maverick

I'm with you on saxophone being a guilty pleasure -- as long as we're speaking of classical music. If it's Anthony Braxton (or Maceo Parker) picking up the horn, the pleasure is unshadowed. But its use in music of the classical tradition is generally a timid echo of its pungent ring in popular or jaz music.

Will you be playing the Webern quartet with the saxophone?

Good piece, but its use of the instrument's tone is very neutral. (I will resist using the word "white" in this context.) Bolero is another curious example.

Aug. 23 2010 01:06 AM

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