Who are the Blues Sax Legends?

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    Default Who are the Blues Sax Legends?

    If I wanted to listen to the great blues sax players of the past - who would you reccomend. I need to pick up some new chops....

    Feel free to post your favorite recordings / videos etc....

    Thanks!

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    Default Re: Who are the Blues Sax Legends?

    A few of my favorites off the top of my head, just to get started:

    Red Prysock
    Sil Austin
    King Curtis
    Lee Allen
    Jr Walker
    Rusty Bryant
    "Sax" Gordon Beadle (still current)

    Jazz players who are (were) also great blues players (actually all the jazz greats would fit here, but these guys recorded a lot of blues)

    Illinois Jacquet
    Ernie Watts (still current)
    Gene Ammons
    Sonny Stitt
    Charlie Parker
    Jimmy Forrest

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    Distinguished SOTW member daigle65's Avatar
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    Default Re: Who are the Blues Sax Legends?

    "Blues Guitar" I get, but I never quite understood the definition of "Blues Sax".
    From JL's list I figure it means R&B and Soul.

    I'll add Fathead Newman, Pee Wee Ellis and Maceo Parker to the list.
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    Forum Contributor 2014 Pete Thomas's Avatar
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    Default Re: Who are the Blues Sax Legends?

    Quote Originally Posted by daigle65 View Post
    "Blues Guitar" I get, but I never quite understood the definition of "Blues Sax".
    From JL's list I figure it means R&B and Soul.
    And blues.

    Check out King Curtis with Champion Jack Dupree Live at Montreux, or Lee Allen with Lowell Fulson.

    That's blues saxophone.
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    Default Re: Who are the Blues Sax Legends?

    Quote Originally Posted by daigle65 View Post
    "Blues Guitar" I get, but I never quite understood the definition of "Blues Sax".
    From JL's list I figure it means R&B and Soul.
    No, not at all. Everyone on my list played the blues on a sax. Sure Jr Walker was more of an R&B/soul player, but a lot of that is also blues.

    Sax players (and trumpet players, pianists, bassists, etc) have been playing the blues for years, and still do. In fact many electric guitarists learned from those sax players. BB King, for one, cites Louis Jordan as one of his major influences, both vocally and instrumentally (on the sax).

    Oh yeah, Louis Jordan should get mentioned here. And also Eddie Cleanhead Vinson. If you don't think Eddie Vinson didn't play the blues, you need to get some new ears.

    Also, listen to Charlie Parker on "Funky Blues" or many other blues tunes that he played. That would be one definition of some very sophisticated blues sax, but still right down there in the gutter!

    Almost everything Red Prysock and Sil Austin played in their early years was straight ahead 12 bar blues.

    And all the jazz guys I listed played plenty of blues that would fit any definition of blues sax you can come up with.

    Here's one of my favorite clips of Louis Jordan playing the blues:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hRqGp-_FBl4

    There are LOTS more blues sax players, but I'll let others list them.

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    Default Re: Who are the Blues Sax Legends?

    I'll add Eddie Shaw and A.C. Reed
    “You can resolve to live your life with integrity. Let your credo be this: Let the lie come into the world, let it even triumph. But not through me.”

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    Default Re: Who are the Blues Sax Legends?

    Quote Originally Posted by Pete Thomas View Post
    And blues.

    Check out King Curtis with Champion Jack Dupree Live at Montreux
    Hey Fader, if you don't have it, definitely check out the CD Pete mentioned here. There used to be a clip of it on youtube, but I can't find it so they must have taken it down. Anyway, this is one of the quintessential recordings of blues with King Curtis on sax. Raw, basic, and the real deal. Sax Gordon claims he learned to play the blues sax from this recording.

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    Default Re: Who are the Blues Sax Legends?

    A lot of great players are already listed but don’t forget Maxwell Davis - The King Of The West Coast Blues and R&B Tenor Sax. “Maxwell’s Tenor Sax has graced more recordings than Lee Allen, Plas Johnson and King Curtis put together.”

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    Default Re: Who are the Blues Sax Legends?

    Bob Kenmotsu ? When I was learning to play, concentrating on R&B, the guy that tore me up the MOST, bar none, was Bob Kenmotsu. He recorded a live album with oldster blueswoman Ruth Brown, recorded at a club in London, and every solo he plays is a bell-ringer ... perfect in a Clifford Scott kind of way .. and absolutely compelling .... here's a sample I have on the computer ...

    www.berkeleyscience.com/jam/5-10-15hours.mp3

    This thing is killin ... he plays a few notes in this one, not so many in most of the solos on the disc, but every one is great. I copped lots of his phrases, and one of his solos note for note ... it fit in EVERYTHING !

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    Default Re: Who are the Blues Sax Legends?

    Al Ashby.

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    Default Re: Who are the Blues Sax Legends?

    Quote Originally Posted by DrWill View Post
    When I was learning to play, concentrating on R&B, the guy that tore me up the MOST, bar none, was Bob Kenmotsu. He recorded a live album with oldster blueswoman Ruth Brown, recorded at a club in London, and every solo he plays is a bell-ringer ... perfect in a Clifford Scott kind of way .. and absolutely compelling .... here's a sample I have on the computer ...

    www.berkeleyscience.com/jam/5-10-15hours.mp3
    Hey nice clip, DrWill. I've played that tune with a few female vocalists, but no one does it like Ruth Brown. And a great sax solo on there.

    Also, of course, now that you mention him, we should also add Clifford Scott (of 'Honky Tonk' fame) to the list.

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    Default Re: Who are the Blues Sax Legends?

    Quote Originally Posted by JL View Post
    ...Sax players..have been playing the blues for years...
    Yes, I'm well aware of that but most of the time it's jazz or R&B saxophonists playing a blues. I don't think Louis Jordan can be identified as a blues musician the same way Muddy Waters or Robert Johnson can.

    Quote Originally Posted by JL View Post
    If you don't think Eddie Vinson didn't play the blues, you need to get some new ears.
    My ears are just fine thanks...When did I say that Eddie Vinson couldn't play the blues? Oscar Peterson could also play the blues wonderfully but he's not categorized as a blues musician.
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    Default Re: Who are the Blues Sax Legends?

    yes, the Champion Dupree and King Curtis live at Montreux clip was taken off youtube some time ago, but not before I had ripped the audio track, pure inspiration!
    When I complained to a Polish colleague of mine he found this version on a Russian video sharing site:

    http://www.vbox7.com/play:cae3d6d5?r=google

    Killer playing from everyone involved, and the lyrics are hilarious "I just keep on drinking, drinking just like a fool..."

    The King plays a VI with high F# far as I can see. Doesn't seem to impinge on his altissimo though.
    It looks like the body is matte or dark, but that may be due to the local lighting and bad film quality.

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    Default Re: Who are the Blues Sax Legends?

    Here's one of my favorite clips of Louis Jordan playing the blues:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hRqGp-_FBl4
    I don't know, sounded to me like a novelty blues thing.

    I thought what was sitting on top of the piano was way more interesting.

    The first blues I heard was played on guitar so I've got a bit of a bias towards that and maybe the blues started on guitar, but blues on Sax can sound great as well, as the Sax is such a vocal like instrument and does well imitating or enhancing vocal blues.

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    Default Re: Who are the Blues Sax Legends?

    Great clip from Champion Jack and King Curtis - I've only just realised that I have that whole concert on CD and am listening to it again as I type.

    Sam "the Man" Taylor played some great blues too.

    Rhys

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    Default Re: Who are the Blues Sax Legends?

    Quote Originally Posted by saxpiece View Post
    and maybe the blues started on guitar,
    Many people would say it started with the voice. As such the saxophone is closer to early blues as it can emulate the voice better than an acoustic guitar can. Of course once electric guitar and various effects such as wah wah were invented, the guitar could finally moan, cry and wail like a voice. Until then the guitar (ie the acoustic guitar) was arguably more often than not the in a role as the instrument that accompanied a blues performance rather than being the voice or main instrument.
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    Default Re: Who are the Blues Sax Legends?

    Yes, quite right.

    I meant that the guitar was used pretty early on with the Blues or what became the Blues.

    The Slide guitar effects used in some guitar blues is pretty hard to emulate with the sax but the sax has the vocal like edge or it did until electric guitars happened.

    The Sax and guitar have a great blues history and I try to play the blues on both of them.
    The reason I picked up the sax at around 30 was because I wanted to play the Blues on it after playing the Blues on the guitar since I was 13 and I just wanted to play the Blues with the Sax to add another way (or perspective) to play the Blues.
    Playing Blues Harmonica would be yet another way to do some Blues things that other instruments can't really cover.

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    Default Re: Who are the Blues Sax Legends?

    I agree, I almost said above that slide was possibly an invention to help the guitar emulate the voice more, and obviously the harp can do that, plenty of wailing.

    I also started to try blues guitar when I was about 17, but I was a lousy singer and always struggled with the guitar. When I then found the saxophone it seemed to click with me immediately as it maybe substituted for the voice I didn't have. Plus my very early inspirations on saxophone were Lee Allen and Ornette Coleman, both very melodic players.
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    Default Re: Who are the Blues Sax Legends?

    I too shove lumps of plumbing....harps & saxophones... into my mouth because I cannot sing.

    On topic, another excellent blues saxophonist is "Detroit" Gary Wiggins. He has the distinct advantage of being still alive!
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    Default Re: Who are the Blues Sax Legends?

    If anyone is reading this thread and thinking "I want to get into playing that stuff" this book is a help:

    Dennis Taylor "Blues Saxophone"

    Sheet music is for tenor but put it up a 5th and of course it's fine for alto too. A lot of the players mentioned in this thread have solos transcribed in this.
    "The sound of tireless voices is the price we pay for the right to hear the music of our own opinions."

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