Month: December 2014

Silent Night Project

Oberndorf bei Salzburg, Austria, is not a place you often hear about in the news. However, this year its most famous carol, ‘Silent Night’, has been used to reference the Christmas truce of 1914 and even to help Sainsbury’s shift some groceries!

‘Silent Night’ was first performed on Christmas Eve 1818 and has been translated into 140 languages. It was originally written for choir and acoustic guitar as the church organ was not working.

I thought it would be a good piece for us to work on as a group. I’m thrilled that so many of you took up the offer to join in this project.

A Love Supreme by John Coltrane

Fifty years ago on Wednesday, 9th December 1964, John Coltrane took a trip from his home in Long Island NY to Hackensack, the home and studio of Rudy Van Gelder.

Along with McCoy Tyner on piano, Jimmy Garrison on bass and Elvin Jones on drums, there he recorded one of the most important musical suites in history. If you haven’t heard it yet, BUY IT TODAY!

Seriously, if you play the saxophone you should have this in your collection, even if you don’t ‘like’ jazz. This album influenced Hendrix, The Beatles, U2, every jazz musician of the last 40 years and even many classical players.

I’d also advise checking out Branford Marsalis’ version record live in Amsterdam for the 40th anniversary …


Also, watch this programme by the BBC, again from 2004.

As Coltrane biographer Lewis Porter says, ‘There are obsessive fans of Elvis Presley, but nobody has founded a CHURCH like they have for John Coltrane!’

The work has influenced me personally a great deal and I took my 3rd year thesis studying A Love Supreme at collegeand I’ve performed it a number of times, including here….

Joshua Redman, Ravi Coltrane, Ashley Kahn and others took part in a symposium reflecting on A Love Supreme, which you can listen to here.

So this week your ‘lesson’ is to either listen to this great album for the first time, or get deeper into what Coltrane was expressing through his music.

‘It is indeed A Love Supreme’

Silent Night – Christmas Project

It’s time for a Cambridge Saxophone ‘Christmas Project’. This year I want EVERYONE to get involved and so I’ve chosen something that everyone should feel comfortable contributing to.

What I would like you to do is the following:

  1. Watch the video lesson.
  2. Download the correct music for you (click here to access the folder on Dropbox, mail me if you don’t have access).
  3. Record yourself at the end of the week playing along to the recording, AT THE CORRECT SPEED!

The speed is really important – rather than ten videos of the same thing, I want to create one recording, with each of us playing a few bars each. That way those of you who are less comfortable can still contribute, and there is enough in this to pose a small challenge for more accomplished players.

If you’re not sure how to record the video on your iPhone or iPad click here. To record direct to YouTube from your webcam, click here.

One final thing: I got my dates mixed up – you have TWO WEEKS to complete this, but it would be nice to have it out BEFORE Saturday, 20th December!