Category Archives: Advent Calendar

Dan’s Sax Advent Calendar #24 – John Coltrane

We’ve come to the final day of our Sax Advent Calendar, day 24 and it could be no other person but John Coltrane.

John Coltrane was born on 23rd September 1926 in Hamlet, North Carolina.  He grew up in Philadelphia and made his name alongside Miles Davis, before becoming a superstar in his own right.  Coltrane, like Charlie Parker has influenced every saxophonist who has come after them, be it in jazz or classical music.

As his career progressed, Coltrane and his music took on an increasingly spiritual dimension. Coltrane influenced innumerable musicians, and remains one of the most significant saxophonists in music history. He received many posthumous awards and recognitions, including canonization by the African Orthodox Church as Saint John William Coltrane and a special Pulitzer Prize in 2007.[2] His second wife was pianist Alice Coltrane and their son, Ravi Coltrane, is also a saxophonist.

 

Dan’s Sax Advent Calendar #23 – Charlie Parker

Charlie Parker is the most important saxophonist and musicians in jazz – he’s our Mozart and he is someone you need to listen to.

Parker was a highly influential jazz soloist and a leading figure in the development of bebopa form of jazz characterized by fast tempos, virtuosic technique and advanced harmonies. Parker was a blazingly fast virtuoso, and he introduced revolutionary harmonic ideas including rapid passing chords, new variants of altered chords, and chord substitutions.

Enjoy the Advent Vlog, a video from August celebrating Parker’s birthday and these two playlists – it’s nearly Christmas!

Dan’s Sax Advent Calendar #22 – Wayne Shorter

Wayne Shorter is one of the most unique saxophonists on our Advent List.

Born in Newark, New Jersey in 1933, Wayne Shorter first shot to prominence as a member of Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers, becoming the bands musical director in the later 1950’s.  When John Coltrane left Miles Davis’ band, it was Wayne Shorter that he recommended to Miles, but Miles couldn’t get Shorter to leave Art Blakey until 1964.  Wayne joined Miles’ ‘second quintet’ alongside Herbie Hancock on piano, Ron Carter on bass and Tony Williams on drums.

Wayne also made some significant recordings as a band leader on Blue Note records during this time, before leaving Miles to form the fusion group Weather Report in 1971.

Shorter remains one of the greatest composers and most important saxophonists as he continues to perform in his ninth decade.

Dan’s Sax Advent Calendar #21 – Sonny Rollins

Walter Theodore Rollins, ‘Sonny’ was born on the 7th September 1930 and is without doubt, the ‘Saxophone Colussus.’

Sonny grew up in Harlem, New York to parents of Caribbean heritage.  He started on the piano, then the alto saxophone, before moving onto the tenor in his teens.  His saxophone idol was Coleman Hawkins and he used to hang out near ‘Hawk’s’ home in order to meet the great man and pick up tips!

Have a watch of my 300th Vlog Episode and check out the special, Sonny Rollins Advent Playlists below.

Dan’s Advent Saxophone Calendar #20 – Joshua Redman vs Chris Potter.

We’ve two amazing contemporary saxophonists for Day 20 of our saxophone advent calendar, Joshua Redman & Chris Potter.

Joshua Redman was born in 1969 and is the son of free jazz saxophonist Dewey Redman and dancer librarian Renee Shedroff.  He grew up in California, graduating from Berkley High School in 1986. He graduated from Harvard and had a place at Yale Law School, which he deferred in order to enter the Theolonius Monk competition in 1991, which he won, (and never went to Law School!) Redman signed for Warner Bros records after the competition and his career has flourished since.

Chris Potter was born in 1971 in Chicago, but grew up in South Carolina. Very much a child prodigy, Potter was picking up gigs aged 14 and moved to New York aged 18, attending the Manhattan School of Music. Whilst studying in New York, Chris joined BeBop legend and former Charlie Parker trumpet player, Red Rodney.  He also played with Dave Holland, Kenny Werner, Joe Lovano and Paul Motion.  He’s probably one of the most copied saxophonists today and his YouTube videos often go viral amongst saxophone nerds!

Enjoy this joint playlist of two of our best contemporary saxophonists.

Dan’s Advent Saxophone Calendar #19 – Cannonball Adderley

Julian, ‘Cannonball’ Adderley moved the Alto Sax on after Charlie Parker, straddling Bop, Modal and Funk Jazz.

Originally from Tampa, Florida, Adderley moved to New York in 1955.[6][7] His nickname derived from “cannibal”, a title imposed on him by high school colleagues as a tribute to his voracious appetite.[8]

Cannonball moved to Tallahassee, when his parents obtained teaching positions at Florida A&M University.[9] Both Cannonball and brother Nat played with Ray Charles when Charles lived in Tallahassee during the early 1940s.[10] Adderley moved to Broward County, Florida, in 1948 after finishing his music studies at Florida A&M and became the band director at Dillard High School in Fort Lauderdale, a position which he held until 1950.[7] Cannonball was a local legend in Southeast Florida until he moved to New York City in 1955.

Cannonball played on the seminal Kind of Blue album and his forays into Funk with the Joey Zawinul piece, ‘Mercy, Mercy, Mercy’ opened his music up to a new generation of fans.