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Sax in Antartica

One of the most exciting things about Cambridge Saxophone is getting to know my students. At the moment I have Research Professors, Brain Surgeons, CEO’s, fellow Professional Musicians and even a South Pole Research Scientist!

Pictured is my student Ali practicing her sax in Antartica. As a Cambridge Saxophone student you are part of a group that has members on all seven continents!

You can read the Cambridge News Front Page article about Cambridge Saxophone students here.

At Cambridge Saxophone I have subscribers from Brazil, North America, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Ukraine, North Africa, India and China.  Cambridge is known throughout the world as a premier education brand, and that is what you find at Cambridge Saxophone.

If you want to find out more about Cambridge Saxophone, I would love to hear from you.  Simply click this link to drop me an email, give me a call on 01223 8360997 or start one of our courses today!

Four FREE Saxophone Lessons – Improve Your Saxophone Playing NOW!

Four FREE Saxophone Lessons – Improve Your Saxophone Playing NOW!

Taking lessons with a new teacher is always a big call.

How will they inspire you?

How will you get better?

Will you get on together?

Can they explain things clearly?

Because of my VERY strong track record (click here to watch what some of my current students think) I believe that here at Cambridge Saxophone I can do all the above, and more.

I’m the current saxophone teacher for Cambridge University; I also have students of all ages and abilities. I’m willing to teach anyone provided they have the desire to learn more, are happy to work and have a passion for music.

I want to offer you FOUR free saxophone lessons – no obligation, no catch, no spam. You’ll get an occasional update about new lessons but I will NEVER pass your email on to anyone else.

Simply get in touch and I’ll email the lessons out to you today.

If you have any further questions, please just contact me.

 

Chris Potter, Joshua Redman and Chris Cheek with Dan Forshaw of Cambridge Saxophone

Chris Potter, Joshua Redman and Chris Cheek with Dan Forshaw of Cambridge Saxophone

Masterclasses

Quite possibly the greatest gig ever for a saxophone player – four of the modern day greats all playing together.

I was delighted to hear Chris Potter, Joshua Redman, Mark Turner and Chris Cheek performing at the Wigmore Hall, London, as part of the Axis Saxophone Quartet. They all played tenor at some point (check out this video from their gig in Moscow playing ‘Tenor Madness’, just as they did in London), but then they also divided duties across the three other main saxophones. Chris Potter and Josh played soprano and alto (Potter is a beast on the alto, even though he doesn’t really play it much any more), Mark stayed mostly on tenor, whilst Chris Cheek kept the low end going on baritone.

Chris Potter told me his alto mouthpiece was an exact copy of Charlie Parker’s Brilhart and had been moulded from the original, now in the possession of Parker’s daughter.

I was thrilled to meet all of the guys backstage afterwards courtesy of Yanagisawa UK, who lent Chris Potter and Joshua a 991 alto and soprano (watch my reviews of these horns here).

Some of their words of wisdom that I wanted to pass on to you:

  • ‘Keep working on your sound as much as you can’ – Chris Potter
  • ‘What you do outside of your music has as much effect on your music as practice’ – Mark Turner
  • ‘Wow, is that the new iPhone?’ – Joshua Redman (seriously, we spent ten minutes chatting about my new phone before we got near any saxophone talk!)
  • ‘Don’t just play digital patterns in 4s, work on them in 3s, 5s and even 7s’ – Chris Potter

It was a great thrill to hear all these guys in one place, in a fully acoustic setting. I had a long chat with Josh about bringing the event to Cambridge at some point in 2015/16 – let’s hope we can.

 

Wynton Marsalis Chats to Cambridge Saxophone Students

On Saturday, 21st June I was delighted that Wynton Marsalis brought the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra to the Cambridge Corn Exchange. It was a particularly special date for me as it was exactly fifteen years ago to the day since I performed on the same stage with a Blues Brothers band.

I had been in touch with LCJO saxophone players Sherman Irby and Victor Goines to arrange a backstage meeting, but they both escaped to The Eagle for some fish’n’chips! I met up with them later on, but it was a real thrill to introduce some of my students – in particular 14-year-old Rob Burton, who, maybe one day, will be playing with LCJO – to … Wynton Marsalis.

Some of the great pearls of wisdom that Wynton shared with us are outlined below.

Don’t just learn the notes, learn why those notes were played.

Many of you may know that Wynton is quite a jazz conservative. His excellent book Moving to a Higher Ground is a must-read for any student of music, jazz fan or not. We’re going to read his book and have a Google hangout on it over the summer. But he surprised me a great deal by encouraging Rob (and all of us) to learn the music of Ornette Coleman:

The avant-garde is what youngsters should learn. They need to appreciate the freedom that is found in the music of Ornette Coleman.

I later met up with Sherman Irby, Victor Goines and other members of the saxophone section for a few beers. I’ll say more about this over the next few weeks, but these are some of the key points they wanted to share:

  • If you want to be a musician, be like a stockbroker. Spread your portfolio as widely as you can: be an arranger, clarinet player, teacher, composer – but work hard at all of them.
  • Vocabulary is everything – if you want to be a better musician, learn the vocabulary to express it.
  • Work hard on your sound. (Where have you heard that before?)
  • Spend time each day listening to music – really.

 

It was such a great thrill to have these guys in Cambridge. I’m in touch with a few interested parties about getting a Cambridge International Jazz Festival and I’d love to welcome Wynton and the Jazz at the Lincoln Center Orchestra back to this town.

Just before the guys came to Cambridge they recorded this in Harrogate

McCoy Tyner

It was with sadness that I heard of the passing on Friday, 6th March of the legendary pianist McCoy Tyner. I feel it an incredible privilege to have heard Mr Tyner at the Barbican back in November 2011 with Chris Potter and I’ve compiled a Vlog and playlists for you below.

Enjoy and share!

Jimmy Heath

It was with great sadness that we learnt of the passing of the great Jimmy Heath on Sunday, 19th January 2020. Jimmy was a personal friend and played alongside John Coltrane, Miles Davis and Dizzy Gillespie. He wrote over 100 jazz compositions and appeared on over 125 albums in his life.

If you’re on Spotify or another music service please use the ‘Song Shift‘ App (I will paste the Spotify playlist into this when I can get it working)!

Sax Advent Calendar 2019 #10 – Maceo Parker

Maceo Parker is an American funk and soul jazz saxophonist, best known for his work with James Brown in the 1960s, as well as Parliament-Funkadelic in the 1970s. Parker was a prominent soloist on many of Brown’s hit recordings, and a key part of his band, playing altotenor and baritone saxophones. Since the early 1990s, he has toured under his own name.

Parker and his brother Melvin joined James Brown in 1964; in his autobiography, Brown claims that he originally wanted Melvin as his drummer, but agreed to additionally take Maceo under his wing as part of the deal. In 1970, Parker, his brother Melvin, and a few of Brown’s band members left to establish the band Maceo & All the King’s Men, which toured for two years.

In January 1973, Parker rejoined with James Brown. He also charted a single “Parrty – Part I” (#71 pop singles) with Maceo & the Macks that year. In 1975, Parker and some of Brown’s band members, including Fred Wesley, left to join George Clinton’s band Parliament-Funkadelic. Parker once again re-joined James Brown from 1984 to 1988.

In the 1990s, Parker began a solo career. His first album of this period “Roots Revisited” spent 10 weeks at the top of the Billboard Contemporary Jazz Charts. To date he has released 11 solo albums since 1990. His band has been billed as “the greatest little funk orchestra on earth” and the “million-dollar support band”. Parker’s 1992 live album “Life on Planet Groove” is considered to be his seminal live album, marking his first collaboration with Dutch saxophonist Candy Dulfer.

In 1993, Parker made guest appearances on hip hop group De La Soul’s album Buhloone Mindstate. In the late 1990s, Parker began contributing semi-regularly to recordings by Prince and accompanying his band, The New Power Generation, on tour. He also played on the Jane’s Addiction track “My Cat’s Name Is Maceo” for their 1997 compilation album Kettle Whistle. In 1998, Parker performed as a guest on “What Would You Say” on a Dave Matthews Band concert, which also became one of their live albums, Live in Chicago 12.19.98.

In 2007, Parker performed as part of Prince’s band for Prince’s 21 nights at the O2 arena. Parker also played as part of Prince’s band for his 21-night stay at LA’s Forum in 2011.

Parker’s album Roots & Grooves with the WDR Big Band is a tribute to Ray Charles, whom Parker cites as one of his most important influences. The album won a Jammie for best Jazz Album in 2009. Parker followed this up with another collaboration with WDR Big Band in 2012 with the album Soul Classics.

In October 2011, Parker was inducted in the North Carolina Music Hall of Fame.

In July 2012, Parker was the recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award from Victoires Du Jazz in Paris. He continues touring, headlining many jazz festivals in Europe and doing as many as 290 concerts a year.

In May 2016, Parker received The North Carolina Heritage Award from his home state

Sax Advent Calendar #9 – Stanley Turrentine

Stanley William Turrentine (April 5, 1934 – September 12, 2000) was an American jazz tenor saxophonist. He began his career playing R&B for Earl Bostic and later soul jazz recording for the Blue Note label from 1960, touched on jazz fusion during a stint on CTI in the 1970s. He was described by critic Steve Huey as “renowned for his distinctively thick, rippling tone [and] earthy grounding in the blues.” Turrentine was married to organist Shirley Scott in the 1960s, with whom he frequently recorded, and was the younger brother of trumpeter Tommy Turrentine.

He began his prolific career with blues and rhythm and blues bands, and was at first greatly influenced by Illinois Jacquet. In the 1950s, he went on to play with the groups of Lowell Fulson and Earl Bostic. In Bostic’s group, he replaced John Coltrane in 1953 and also played in groups led by the pianist and composer Tadd Dameron.

Turrentine received his only formal musical training during his military stint in the mid-1950s. In 1959, he left the military and went straight into the band of the drummer Max Roach.

He married the organist Shirley Scott in 1960 and the two frequently played and recorded together. In the 1960s, he started working with organist Jimmy Smith, and made many soul jazz recordings both with Smith and as a leader.

Scott and Turrentine divorced in 1971. Turrentine turned to jazz fusion and signed for Creed Taylor’s CTI label. His first album for CTI, Sugar, recorded in 1970, proved one of his biggest successes and a seminal recording for the label. He worked with Freddie Hubbard, Milt Jackson, George Benson, Bob James, Richard Tee, Idris Muhammad, Ron Carter, Grant Green and Eric Gale, to name a few. He returned to soul jazz in the 1980s and into the 1990s.

Turrentine lived in Fort Washington, Maryland, from the early 1990s until his death.

He died of a stroke in New York City on September 12, 2000, and was buried in Pittsburgh’s Allegheny Cemetery.

Sax Advent Calendar 2019 #8 – James Carter

Carter was born in Detroit, Michigan, and learned to play under the tutelage of Donald Washington, becoming a member of his youth jazz ensemble Bird-Trane-Sco-NOW!! As a young man, Carter attended Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp, becoming the youngest faculty member at the camp. He first toured Europe (Scandinavia) with the International Jazz Band in 1985 at the age of 16.

On May 31, 1988, at the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA), Carter was a last-minute addition for guest artist Lester Bowie, which turned into an invitation to play with his new quintet (forerunner of his New York Organ Ensemble) in New York City that following November at the now defunct Carlos 1 jazz club. This was pivotal in Carter’s career, putting him in musical contact with the world, and he moved to New York two years later. He has been prominent as a performer and recording artist on the jazz scene since the late 1980s, playing saxophones, flute, and clarinets.

On his album Chasin’ the Gypsy (2000), he recorded with his cousin Regina Carter, a jazz violinist.

Carter has won Down Beat magazine’s Critics and Readers Choice award for baritone saxophone several years in a row. He has performed, toured and played on albums with Lester Bowie, Julius Hemphill, Frank Lowe & the Saxemble, Kathleen Battle, the World Saxophone Quartet, Cyrus Chestnut, Wynton Marsalis, Dee Dee Bridgewater and the Mingus Big Band.

Sax Advent Calendar 2019 #7 – Lee Konitz

Lee Konitz was born October 13, 1927. He has performed successfully in a wide range of jazz styles, including bebopcool jazz, and avant-garde jazz. Konitz’s association with the cool jazz movement of the 1940s and 1950s includes participation in Miles Davis‘s Birth of the Cool sessions and his work with pianist Lennie Tristano. He was notable during this era as one of relatively few alto saxophonists to retain a distinctive style when Charlie Parker exerted a massive influence.

Like other students of Tristano, Konitz was noted for improvising long, melodic lines with the rhythmic interest coming from odd accents, or odd note groupings suggestive of the imposition of one time signature over another. Other saxophonists were strongly influenced by Konitz, notably Paul Desmond and Art Pepper.

Check out the playlists and find out more about Lee Konitz here.