Category Archives: News

Cambridge Sax Student is BBC Young Musician

We were all delighted to hear former Cambridge Saxophone student Rob Burton in the BBC Young Musician final on Sunday, 13th May 2018.

Rob now studies Classical Saxophone at the Royal Academy of Music in London, but studied with Dan Forshaw and Cambridge Saxophone from 2012 – 2015.  Rob won the Woodwind final and played with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra for the final (watch from about 48 minutes)  – sadly the BBC will remove this programme after 31 days,  we will hunt for another recording!

Watch via this link 

The A to Z of Bebop – 27 Essential Bebop Heads to Learn

Learning Bebop heads is a really great way to learn jazz vocabulary over ‘standards’ from the Great American Songbook.

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At least 85%, possibly as high as 95% of Bebop tunes are ‘heads’ written over songs from musicals and shows of the 1930’s and 40’s.  Musicians such as Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie did this to avoid paying royalties in the recording studio for the songs they were using in the clubs.  Popular songs such as ‘How High The Moon’ (which turned into Parker’s Ornithology) and ‘I got Rhythm’ (Anthropology) were transformed into instrumental songs, often pushing the technical demands of the player.

This playlist is meant to give you a starting off point.  There’s no doubt that if you want to get better at improvising, then learning these songs, (and I mean learning, that’s NO PRINTED MUSIC,) will give you a greater vocabulary to work with.

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.

2017 Student Christmas Project – We Three Kings

Here is our 2017 Cambridge Saxophone Student’s Christmas Project!

I’m so thrilled for those of you who have put the hard work in for this years project. I started it a good two weeks earlier this year, hoping that We Three Kings, which is a REAL challenge for many of us would motivate you into action and give you a target to aim for. ]

I have to say that each one of you exceeded my expectations – over twenty students in ten different time zones, in seven countries, AMAZING.

So sit back, enjoy and share with your friends and family this Christmas, you’ve worked hard for it and enjoy it.

We Three Kinds – Cambridge Saxophone from Dan Forshaw on Vimeo.