recommend some saxophone to inspire my nephew

So, the kid turns 14 this month, and has gotten into the sax. He’s cross country, so I’m not really sure his progress, but he says it’s good. I’m planning on an Ipod for his birthday, but I thought I’d load a sampler of sax pieces on it. A variety I hope, some fat horns playing back up, some blues, some early rock and roll from before anybody could play lead guitar, an improvised jazz solo where Og smiled on us and let there be recording (doesn’t have to be high fidelity, just high art), I’m just looking for stuff that makes you want to play, thanks.

OK, not a big fan of the sax but I had the pleasure to see a jazz guy named Francesco Cafiso play a couple of years ago and he is just jaw-droppingly good. He’s still only about 17 or 18 or something. He was 15 when we saw him. I haven’t heard any of his recordings but this guy was just mind-boggling live. Check him out.

He could play the Simpsons theme tune on his saxamaphone

I loves me some good sax. Here’s the song list from a mix CD I made a few years ago:

Sax and Stuff - 8/19/05

  1. Seguranca (Maxwell)
  2. Soldadi (Orchestra Baobab)
  3. Harvey’s Entrance (Either/Orchestra)
  4. Afro Blue (Momo Wandel Soumah)
  5. Spanish Steps (Van Morrison)
  6. Desafinado (Stan Getz)
  7. Tepe (Momo Wandel Soumah)
  8. Ga Ma La (Reinhard Flatischler)
  9. E Prcison Perdoar (Cesaria Evora, Caetano Veloso, Ryuichi Sakamoto)
  10. Nampalal Sa Dom (Afro-Salseros de Senegal)
  11. Soul Song (Either/Orchestra)
  12. Preciso Dizer Que Te Amo (Cazuza, Bebel Gilberto)

My son started playing this year and We’ve listened to Stan Getz,Van Morrison, Billy Joel, and Bruce Springsteen, also Tower of Power.

At my store I often play swing music and when my son’s there I’ll point out sax solos. I don’t know if he’d choose to listen to that on his own, but a mother can hope. . .

For style,grace and classy restraint,anything by Wayne Shorter,including the “Fugitive” soundtrack from '93.

For pure lyric delight and comic genius,anything by Charlie Parker,though “Parker’s Mood” is likely the most accessible,being a blues format.

Can’t second Charlie Parker enough. Especially the duets with Dizzie Gillispie. The only obvious choice left would be, of course, Coltrane. Coltrane, Coltrane, Coltrane.

Yakety Sax (aka the Benny Hill theme)?

You can’t beat King Curtis! He’s the one who came up with the stuttering style Boots Randolph mimics on “Yakety Sax” (the song’s name was a play on Curtis’s solo on “Yakety Yak” by the Coasters).

Listen to him on “The Best of King Curtis” here and on “Live at Fillmore West” here.

Okay - some basics:

  • Get **No Moe: The best of Louis Jordan ** - the king of Jump Blues (along with guitarist T-Bone Walker - so it is the birthplace of Brian Setzer and the swing revival of a decade ago. Rockin’ bluesy numbers but with a full swing orchestra and rockin’ sax. If he doesn’t love Saturday Night Fish Fry, I’ll eat my hat. I am pretty sure **Joe Jackson’s Beat Crazy ** has some solid jump blues sax on it as well…

  • **Early Little Richard ** - like King Curtis in terms of sax tone (sorry I don’t know Little Richard’s sax man) - try things like I Hear You Knockin’

  • James Brown - featuring Maceo Parker on sax. Poppa’s Got a Brand New Bag, anyone?

  • I strongly recommend Foreigner’s Urgent - **Junior Walker ** on one of the best lead break solos of all time.

  • My stealth pick: Ben Webster, CD = King of the Tenors. Along with Coleman Hawkins, he represents the transition from swing to be-bop, but his old-school delivery with the breathiest attack is just amazing.

There is a ton of other jazz - Rollins’ Saxophone Colossus, Ellington’s Live at Newport (featuring the 20-something measure lead sax break that had everyone going crazy), Take Five featuring Paul Desmond on soprano, Cannonball Adderley’s Something Else, and so so many others - but Webster influenced them all. Also try Gerry Mulligan meets Ben Webster (or something like that) - their version of Chelsea Bridge is amazing…and **Coltrane’s Blue Train ** is MUCH more accessible than Giant Steps, My Favorite Things, etc…go easy on Trane at first…

My $.02…

Oh - and the solo in Pink Floyd’s Money

And David Bowie’s Heroes.

Oh oh oh - **Save it For Later by English Beat ** (or any other great English Beat - like Mirror in the Bathroom or Twist and Crawl…the whole I Just Can’t Stop It CD is about perfect…

Share a cross section of music, so that no matter what music he likes, he can hear that sax can be part of it - well, maybe not death metal or opera…

Here’s a link to my old thread on The saxophone in pop/rock.

X-Ray Specs was an early punk band that used the sax to great effect (and inexplicably aren’t mentioned in the other thread). Check out “Germfree Adolescents”.

I don’t know if you would be interested in any songs about saxophones, but I do know of one sexy song glorifying a saxophone player and his instrument. I think you should put “The Saxophone Song” by Kate Bush on there.

With lines like…



How could he resist? This song isn’t on iTunes. If you don’t have Kate’s album The Kick Inside, message me and I’ll arrange for you to hear the song.

Some other greats have been mentioned so I’ll throw in Gerry Mulligan, baritone sax player.

Dave Brubeck Quartet - Time Out is just an outstanding Jazz Album that features Paul Desmond on Alto. Great stuff there.

George Thorogood - Bad to the Bone

Someone I can’t remember - Tequila

Charlie Parker (alto), Coltrane (tenor), and Gerry Mulligan (baritone) have been mentioned…all amazing.

I’ll add Art Pepper…really good. Mostly alto, but plays tenor on a few albums.

The Peter Gunn Theme, by Henry Mancini.


Not to be picky but … Coltrane started on tenor and switched to soprano sax in 1960 with a few recordings also made on alto.