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View Poll Results: Can you identify a saxophone player just by hearing them play without having hearing them play that

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  • Oh, I can tell after the first few notes

    12 34.29%
  • well, I need to hear the entire tune

    4 11.43%
  • Sometimes I can

    18 51.43%
  • Naw, I'm tone deaf, they all sound the same to me.

    1 2.86%
Results 1 to 8 of 8

Thread: Good listener or no

  1. #1

    Default Good listener or no

    Can you identify a saxophone player just by hearing them play without having hearing them play that tune before? How good is your tone recognition? I do it all the time on my local smooth jazz station...Richard Elliot has a different tone from Kirk Whalum, Nelson Rangell's is quite distinct from Everette harp, Koz or Kenny G. Warren Hill has a sound of his own...so does Mindy Abair. With the older players I cant do it that well...like Rollins from Coltrane....maybe you can...of course just about anyone can identify Parker...wouldn't you agree a sax player's tone is very much the same as someone's voice which is specific?

  2. #2

    Default

    With the exception of Eric Dolphy - it is hard to tell just the first few notes who it is. I think it is because everybody seems to be influence by somebody. Even in the smooth just words - even with all the Kenny G bashing - many smooth jazz people actually sound like him. Eric Dolphy I can tell anytime - almost nobody copies him and he has that unique sound from the very first 4 measures anytime.

  3. #3
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    Default

    For some reason I find it very easy to identify almost any sax player I know after just a few notes. In terms of those I recognize, I'm at the opposite end of the spectrum from Wailin'. I wouldn't know many of the smooth jazzers, but I can immediately recognize guys like Sonny Rollins, Dexter Gordon, Charlie Parker, Coltrane, Art Pepper, Gene Ammons, Pharoah Sanders, Stanley Turrentine, just to name a few. They all have very distinct voices on the sax. In fact, I think that is one thing that separates great players from mediocre ones---a distinct and personal tone quality and phrasing that is all their own.

  4. #4

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    I agree that you can figure most of these jazz greats because you actually know the tune or heard it over and over but I have mistaken Pharoah Sanders and Ravi Coltrane for John Coltrane -- many times - Sometimes George Freeman with Cannonball, Albert Ayler and Dave Murray - Zorn with Evan Parker , Branford with either Joshua Reman or Jan Garbarek --- but Dolphy - I have not confused him with anyone even from the first 2 notes.

    Desmond and Getz are unique too but copied though copied less. Other have a unique sound but they change from time to timel - Barbieri for example or play in various context - like Phil Woods. ( He sound differents in the Billy Joel record than on his own)

  5. #5
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    It's true that hearing someone play a tune you have already heard them play makes it pretty clear who is playing. But I'm going on those occasions when I've heard, say, Art Pepper, play a tune I've never heard him play before. After the first bar or two, sometimes after just one note, I just know it's Art Pepper. Same with the others I mentioned. It's true that Pharoah can sound a bit like Coltrane, but not enough to confuse the two, at least to me, and I can't imagine confusing anyone for Cannonball. But I have listened to all these guys a lot over the years.

    I'd add to list some of the distinctive jump blues/R&B guys like Red Prysock, King Curtis, and Jr. Walker. Pretty hard to confuse these players with anyone else, even though they have been copied a lot. So yes, I agree with Wailin' that everyone who has reached a certain level on the horn has their own sound.

  6. #6

    Default

    Thank you JL...good to know I'm not in an aural sphere all by myself. I forgot to also mention Boney James on that list...he's quite distinct from Elliot or Whalum...sometimes its not tone that helps my ears identify them...its their phrasing and articulation. Certain artists have certain intrinsic clichlike phrases that are indigenous to them and them alone.

  7. #7

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    Sanborn is the one sax player that I can guess right 99.9% of the time after the first few notes. Dave Koz is another one, but not because of his tone, but his lyrical style of playing. If you hear a Trill in a sax solo using a sop, then its a pretty safe bet its Kenny G.
    "...everyone needs a little more sax in their lives..."
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  8. #8

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