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soprano sax recommendations

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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.

No, I did mean tenor in your highlighted text. I like what Butcher does on the tenor, I like that he does eschew familiar reference points, whether generic or personal, to explore the range of the tenor and explore a wide variety of ideas. I like what EP does on tenor, but it is typically marked with a host of familiar reference points; one almost always knows what's coming. Enjoyable at that, but rarely startling, rarely the shock of the new.

As for soprano, I haven't heard Butcher match Parker yet, and when I've seen Butcher in concert, he has relied on the tenor. Maybe that's an anomaly, just wondering if in his England or Euro appearances, he has gone in significantly for the soprano recently, or stuck with the tenor.

I like the Parker/Leimgruber disc ("Twine" I think). In my view, Leimgruber scores more points, but Parker has the heavier blows (boxing analogy). I put Leimgruber right up there with Butcher and Parker.

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OK, got it. Last time I saw Butcher playing solo (in a XIII century church with a lot of reverb) he played both soprano and tenor in equal measure.

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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)

Wrong. It's now a Psi cd.

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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

That is a good one. Besides the great photo, it's also worth it for the one track where Parker plays solo tenor.

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I can't recall Wayne Shorter being mentioned yet, but he has quite a sound on soprano.

Budd Johnson is also somebody who I really enjoy on soprano.

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I mentioned Wayne Shorter in the very first post. I'm a big fan of his soprano work.

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There are times when I think I'm missing something when all these recommendations start coming in for certain players who play a bit on the "outside". Then I play one like this:

.. and I realize that I am not missing much.

I really don't get this at all and I'm now at an age where I'm beginning to realize that I probably never will. :)

Weirdly, I had a flashback at around the 6:50 mark. It sounds very similar to when our long-deceased golden retriever Abigail got caught in a barbed wire fence when we lived in Pennsylvania.

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On 12/20/2014 at 7:27 PM, JSngry said:

 

Meeting this criterion, and only this criterion - the cut "Mr. Smoke" from Pat Williams' Capitol album Threshold, the soloist is Tom Scott. It benefits greatly from an opening passage that may or may not be scored/predetermined/whatever, but whatever, the effect is to move the arrangement along out of an ensemble passage into the solo spot in a most definite way, and then carry that new energy through to the arrangement's conclusion, dropping it off as perfectly as it picked it up.. Other than that, Pat Williams was a master at whatever it was he was doing then (if you only remember watching TV from the 80s on, you can be forgiven for thinking of it as "TV music", just like 20s jazz is "cartoon music" - understandable association, but an after the fact conclusion, not an correct chronological truth), and Tom Scott, on this solo, is in the same zone, improvising.

 

I consider this a "great solo" because it serves the music at hand perfectly, and does so wholly from within. Whatever "weight" it may or may not have ultimately, that's another issue. But - if it's going to be the last solo of the last cut on an ambitious record (and "ambitious" means a lot of different things), then you'd want it to be a great solo, one that brings it all home triumphantly, and this one, in that sense, is.

 

On 12/22/2014 at 1:43 AM, sidewinder said:

Oliver Nelson's playing on soprano is very under-rated. Much of his best work on this instrument is on the Mosaic set.

Indeed. And alas, this is not on the Mosaic:

 

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Keith Jarrett... no, just kidding!

Sam Rivers

And another vote for Oliver Nelson. Love his Time Pieces album.

Big Lacy fan too.

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