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soprano sax recommendations

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I have been checking more into Zoot Sims' work on soprano, and I have to say it's just wonderful stuff.

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I have a true soft spot for John Surman's solo records from the 80s, which feature a lot of soprano. I won't go so far as to call them a guilty pleasure since a) I don't believe in such a thing and b) I think the albums have reasonable musical value, but it's nonetheless an appreciation that I sense is not widely shared.

I have a true soft spot for John Surman's solo records from the 80s, which feature a lot of soprano. I won't go so far as to call them a guilty pleasure since a) I don't believe in such a thing and b) I think the albums have reasonable musical value, but it's nonetheless an appreciation that I sense is not widely shared.

I share your liking for them. My favourite (from the 90s, I think) is 'The Road to St. Ives'.

I suspect part of the issue is that Surman seemed to be (at one stage) deep inside the world of explosive free or near free improvisation. But there are other sides to his musical personality that come out in the solo/duo/choral/strings albums that don't seem to chime with what is considered 'edgy'.

Essential to understanding Surman, I think.

All I hear as personal statements, some with strong connections to his heritage - the aforementioned 'Road to St Ives' and 'Diary of Rev. Absalom Dawe'. I've always heard his more out there recordings (which i love) as the diversion if there is one and the solo/duo/choral/strings to be the thread that runs through

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MI0003108118.jpg?partner=allrovi.com

Quite possibly the greatest soprano sax album ever made.

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MI0003108118.jpg?partner=allrovi.com

Quite possibly the greatest soprano sax album ever made.

So why don't I own it? Something to remedy in 2015

Edited by mjazzg

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MI0003108118.jpg?partner=allrovi.com

Quite possibly the greatest soprano sax album ever made.

So why don't I own it? Something to remedt in 2015

It's been elusive at times. The LP can get a little pricey. I think I snapped up the CD some time ago from the Dusty Groove folks. Fully deserves a reissue. (maybe it's out there on DL??). It's positively jaw-dropping. Parker in supreme vigorous potent command of his soprano.

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MI0003108118.jpg?partner=allrovi.com

Quite possibly the greatest soprano sax album ever made.

So why don't I own it? Something to remedt in 2015

It's been elusive at times. The LP can get a little pricey. I think I snapped up the CD some time ago from the Dusty Groove folks. Fully deserves a reissue. (maybe it's out there on DL??). It's positively jaw-dropping. Parker in supreme vigorous potent command of his soprano.

Never heard monoceros but have "at the finger palace" here is Chadbourne's review

Review by Eugene Chadbourne

Figuring out which is the best Evan Parker solo recording is a quest that could either result in a highly enjoyable lifestyle or having commitment papers served. In either case this particular recording might turn out to be crucial, it presents Parker on one of his early trips to the United States playing before a small group of fans whose commitment to his style of improvising underscores the logical connection between "fan" and "fanatic." With Parker arriving on the west coast with a status somewhere between Gandhi and Crusader Rabbit, the atmosphere was ripe for a totally confident and impressive display of his innovative concepts and playing style. This is what exactly what Parker delivers here, in a venue that was basically somebody's livingroom, that somebody being pianist Greg Goodman, who also originally put the performance out on vinyl. At the Finger Palace acquired legendary status as the ultimate Evan Parker performance, and while research continues on that subject suffice to say there is enough evidence to rank the man as the ultimate soprano saxophone soloist.

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MI0003108118.jpg?partner=allrovi.com

Quite possibly the greatest soprano sax album ever made.

So why don't I own it? Something to remedt in 2015

It's been elusive at times. The LP can get a little pricey. I think I snapped up the CD some time ago from the Dusty Groove folks. Fully deserves a reissue. (maybe it's out there on DL??). It's positively jaw-dropping. Parker in supreme vigorous potent command of his soprano.

Never heard monoceros but have "at the finger palace" here is Chadbourne's review

Review by Eugene Chadbourne

Figuring out which is the best Evan Parker solo recording is a quest that could either result in a highly enjoyable lifestyle or having commitment papers served. In either case this particular recording might turn out to be crucial, it presents Parker on one of his early trips to the United States playing before a small group of fans whose commitment to his style of improvising underscores the logical connection between "fan" and "fanatic." With Parker arriving on the west coast with a status somewhere between Gandhi and Crusader Rabbit, the atmosphere was ripe for a totally confident and impressive display of his innovative concepts and playing style. This is what exactly what Parker delivers here, in a venue that was basically somebody's livingroom, that somebody being pianist Greg Goodman, who also originally put the performance out on vinyl. At the Finger Palace acquired legendary status as the ultimate Evan Parker performance, and while research continues on that subject suffice to say there is enough evidence to rank the man as the ultimate soprano saxophone soloist.

"Monoceros and "Finger Palace" were both recorded in 1978 (Monoceros in April, Finger Palace in November during a tour of Japan). I think Monoceros holds the edge, but they are both superb. I talked with EP once about "Finger Palace" (which is only out in a Japanese issue, and I think O/P), and EP said that the "Vaincu Va" album (which I have and which is easily available) was recorded shortly after that tour of Japan and recording of the "Finger Palace" album, and his chops were in great shape, so add that to the list of superb recordings/performances. Still, it's "Monoceros" for me.

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MI0003108118.jpg?partner=allrovi.com

Quite possibly the greatest soprano sax album ever made.

So why don't I own it? Something to remedy in 2015

Start saving! It's a tough one to find at a legitimate price.

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I still have my original Monoceros, a direct-cut/direct-to-disc lp. Good stuff. I much prefer Parker on soprano.

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I still have my original Monoceros, a direct-cut/direct-to-disc lp. Good stuff. I much prefer Parker on soprano.

I would agree with that last statement, both from recordings and live.

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With just rare exceptions, I don't care for the sound of the soprano sax in jazz from the bebop period on.

I am able to enjoy Zoot and Lucky Thompson on soprano, but much prefer to hear them on tenor.

For some reason I find the use of soprano sax in traditional jazz to be far more acceptable to my ears.

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I still have my original Monoceros, a direct-cut/direct-to-disc lp. Good stuff. I much prefer Parker on soprano.

I would agree with that last statement, both from recordings and live.

I may prefer to hear Evan on soprano in a live setting - it is such a full striking force of sound experienced in a typical setting that one would see him play live. Being a few feet away when he does what he does on that horn is a mind blowing experience.

Along with one other saxophonist, he is my favorite living tenor saxophonist - I think he comes across very strong on record on the tenor. So on record, since I hear the tenor range better, I prefer to hear his tenor playing on recordings. I especially like formats like trios with drums and bass or drums and piano. I like to hear him improvise at length on tenor -

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I still have my original Monoceros, a direct-cut/direct-to-disc lp. Good stuff. I much prefer Parker on soprano.

I would agree with that last statement, both from recordings and live.

I may prefer to hear Evan on soprano in a live setting - it is such a full striking force of sound experienced in a typical setting that one would see him play live. Being a few feet away when he does what he does on that horn is a mind blowing experience.

Along with one other saxophonist, he is my favorite living tenor saxophonist - I think he comes across very strong on record on the tenor. So on record, since I hear the tenor range better, I prefer to hear his tenor playing on recordings. I especially like formats like trios with drums and bass or drums and piano. I like to hear him improvise at length on tenor -

My comment giving the nod to EP's soprano playing is based on my perception that Parker is much more instinctive on soprano, has greater speed and alacrity, and can match up well with other instruments. Even though I love his tenor playing too, and rate it pretty damn high, it just strikes me that he is more deliberate on tenor, a battleship that needs some time to change course, to bring its full power into play. But one does get that power. I was actually thinking of "Monoceros" when I posted my comment; what he does there, those marvelous fireworks, is I think unparalleled on tenor. Of course, that was then, this is now. But I think the edge still holds.

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The Ayes Have it (1991 session), 50th Birthday Concert, At the Vortex and The Two Seasons (this one especially - although I stupidly lent out my 2 CD set) contain some passages on tenor recorded at his peak (1990's) that are as facile on that instrument as any tenor saxophone ever recorded.

There are sections on The Two Seasons where the younger guys drive Evan to awesome heights. Really his "free jazz power trio" record. Plus it is recorded in powerful up front sound. John Edwards and Mark Sanders also sound as good or better than on anything they have appeared on.

As undervalued a recording as exists in EP's catalogue

For me it is ultimately is the most undervalued and overlooked great recording that I know of, period.

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I don't think Ariel Shibolet has been mentioned.

He's got a solo cd recorded at the Berlin Total Music Meeting some years back.

An unreserved recommendation, if you like Evan Parker.

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In keeping with the OP's request I'd recommend the title track to the Consulelo-Jon Quintet's disc, Last Sunday Morning on Accurate. It features Billy Pierce with a great soprano solo.

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MI0003108118.jpg?partner=allrovi.com

Quite possibly the greatest soprano sax album ever made.

So why don't I own it? Something to remedt in 2015

It's been elusive at times. The LP can get a little pricey. I think I snapped up the CD some time ago from the Dusty Groove folks. Fully deserves a reissue. (maybe it's out there on DL??). It's positively jaw-dropping. Parker in supreme vigorous potent command of his soprano.

Never heard monoceros but have "at the finger palace" here is Chadbourne's review

Review by Eugene Chadbourne

Figuring out which is the best Evan Parker solo recording is a quest that could either result in a highly enjoyable lifestyle or having commitment papers served. In either case this particular recording might turn out to be crucial, it presents Parker on one of his early trips to the United States playing before a small group of fans whose commitment to his style of improvising underscores the logical connection between "fan" and "fanatic." With Parker arriving on the west coast with a status somewhere between Gandhi and Crusader Rabbit, the atmosphere was ripe for a totally confident and impressive display of his innovative concepts and playing style. This is what exactly what Parker delivers here, in a venue that was basically somebody's livingroom, that somebody being pianist Greg Goodman, who also originally put the performance out on vinyl. At the Finger Palace acquired legendary status as the ultimate Evan Parker performance, and while research continues on that subject suffice to say there is enough evidence to rank the man as the ultimate soprano saxophone soloist.

"Monoceros and "Finger Palace" were both recorded in 1978 (Monoceros in April, Finger Palace in November during a tour of Japan). I think Monoceros holds the edge, but they are both superb. I talked with EP once about "Finger Palace" (which is only out in a Japanese issue, and I think O/P), and EP said that the "Vaincu Va" album (which I have and which is easily available) was recorded shortly after that tour of Japan and recording of the "Finger Palace" album, and his chops were in great shape, so add that to the list of superb recordings/performances. Still, it's "Monoceros" for me.All three are great. Finger Palace was actually recorded in Berkeley and came out on a Beak Doctor LP. Don't think it ever saw a CD release. The Vancouver concert is from a couple of days later.

Edited by B. Clugston

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"Monoceros and "Finger Palace" were both recorded in 1978 (Monoceros in April, Finger Palace in November during a tour of Japan). I think Monoceros holds the edge, but they are both superb. I talked with EP once about "Finger Palace" (which is only out in a Japanese issue, and I think O/P), and EP said that the "Vaincu Va" album (which I have and which is easily available) was recorded shortly after that tour of Japan and recording of the "Finger Palace" album, and his chops were in great shape, so add that to the list of superb recordings/performances. Still, it's "Monoceros" for me.

All three are great. Finger Palace was actually recorded in Berkeley and came out on a Beak Doctor LP. Don't think it ever saw a CD release. The Vancouver concert is from a couple of days later.

There is an Evan Paker solo album recorded during his 1982 tour of Japan. It's called "Zanzou" and was released on the Jazz & Now label. The back cover's got a great picture of Evan playing his soprano with two terrorized Japanese children covering their ears.

R-150-2894498-1352305731-7851.jpeg

Edited by corto maltese

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John Butcher is great on soprano. I particularly like him in solo setting, for example on early record "Thirteen Friendly Numbers" or on a later one "Invisible Ear".

And Urs Leimgruber. He is fantastic solo (there are a few CDs out there, I have heard only "Blue Log", which I can highly recommend), and in ldp trio with Barre Phillips and Jacques Demierre.

I am not a fan of Evan Parker's soprano. I think he was interesting around Monoceros time, but then became sort of a circular breathing machine playing the same stuff ad nauseam. I like Parker's tenor playing more.

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The best soprano sax solo I ever saw live was played by Nick Brignola at Ryles' Jazz Club in Cambridge, MA. He brought the roof down with that solo. I believe it was during his visit with Cecil Payne so I was surprised that he even brought his soprano and even more surprised that he played it. I figured I was in for a battle of baritones. I was very happy that I was wrong. :)

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Ornette Coleman had a great response to an Evan Parker soprano sax record: "He sounds like the saxophone is playing him."

Disk 2 of Steve Lacy: Cycles 1976-80 includes some beautiful sounds of his soprano sax echoing in a church in France.

As often as I've enjoyed Evan Parker's soprano playing, no other album has exceeded the impact of the first one I heard: Saxophone Solos (Emanem, I believe)

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John Butcher is great on soprano. I particularly like him in solo setting, for example on early record "Thirteen Friendly Numbers" or on a later one "Invisible Ear".

And Urs Leimgruber. He is fantastic solo (there are a few CDs out there, I have heard only "Blue Log", which I can highly recommend), and in ldp trio with Barre Phillips and Jacques Demierre.

I am not a fan of Evan Parker's soprano. I think he was interesting around Monoceros time, but then became sort of a circular breathing machine playing the same stuff ad nauseam. I like Parker's tenor playing more.

Love both of those guys, but the few times I've seen Butcher live, he favored the tenor sax. I wonder if that is generally true now? I think Butcher is often a match for Evan Parker when it comes to tenor. One can still discern some Parkerisms in Butcher's playing, but for the most part, it is quite individual and strongly inventive.

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John Butcher is great on soprano. I particularly like him in solo setting, for example on early record "Thirteen Friendly Numbers" or on a later one "Invisible Ear".

And Urs Leimgruber. He is fantastic solo (there are a few CDs out there, I have heard only "Blue Log", which I can highly recommend), and in ldp trio with Barre Phillips and Jacques Demierre.

I am not a fan of Evan Parker's soprano. I think he was interesting around Monoceros time, but then became sort of a circular breathing machine playing the same stuff ad nauseam. I like Parker's tenor playing more.

Love both of those guys, but the few times I've seen Butcher live, he favored the tenor sax. I wonder if that is generally true now? I think Butcher is often a match for Evan Parker when it comes to tenor. One can still discern some Parkerisms in Butcher's playing, but for the most part, it is quite individual and strongly inventive.

You mean soprano, right? Parker's tenor plying is quite jazzy, Butcher has eschewed all jazz references from his playing (whether on soprano or tenor) by now, although I did see him do a mock free-jazz blow-hard on tenor once - but this was just a few seconds. I don't hear much similarity. On soprano Butcher's vocabulary is much broader than Parker's IMO.

There is a recent Parker / Leimgruber duo, will check it out.

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Have to say based on the second set last night that Malaby's soprano playing - at least for one night only - was at a very high level. Very diverse in his approach based on the compositions.

First time any Open Loose compositions featured Malaby on soprano. The disc is coming out in March on Intakt.

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