Category Archives: Advent Calendar

Dan’s Advent Saxophone Calendar #3 – Coleman Hawkins

Coleman Hawkins was born in Saint Joseph, Missouri in 1904 and rose to be one of the greatest Tenor Saxophonists.

It’s easier to list those who weren’t influenced by ‘Hawk’ on the Tenor than those that studied and copied Hawkins.  Sonny Rollins was a big fan of Hawkins, and even wrote this ‘fan mail’ to him back in the 1950’s. 

We spent a good deal of time in 2017 transcribing, (to varying degrees of success,) Hawk’s solo over All the Things You Are.  Here’s my Vlog episode and the playlists below. Please do share this material with people in your own networks.


Dan’s Advent Saxophone Calendar #2 – Paul Desmond

Paul Desmond was best known for his work with the Dave Brubeck Quartet, in particular his popular composition, ‘Take Five’.

Desmond was born Paul Emil Breitenfeld in San Francisco on November 25, 1924. His father was a pianist, organist, and composer, who accompanied silent films in movie theaters and arranged for music companies. During childhood he spent years living with relatives in New York City due to problems at home. Desmond began playing violin at an early age, though his father forbade him to play it.

At first Desmond and Brubeck did not get on following an earlier falling out at a gig.  Apparently Brubeck only let Desmond back into the band after he agreed to babysit for Brubeck! Their partnership led to one of the most successful groups in jazz and one of the most recognisable sounds on the Alto Saxophone, the sound, (in Desmond’s own words, ‘of a Dry Martini’)

Dan’s Advent Saxophone Calendar #1 – Mike Brecker

Michael Brecker, in my opinion is the greatest virtuoso on the tenor saxophone.  He took the baton from Coltrane and moved what was technically possible on the instrument to new heights.

In my new series of Vlogs for December 2017 I am opening a new saxophone player each day, (like an Advent Calendar, but not chocolate!) Today, on Friday, 1st December I talk about the phenomenal Michael Brecker, who recorded on over 700 albums!