The tenor saxophone playing style is as distinctive as the human voice, or so I have argued. Time to put that to the test, can you tell who the player is? The idea is to identify the player from his tone, voice, phrasing, vibrato, dissonances, pacing, all that musician stuff.
Of course there are the music period clues, swing, post-bop, avant garde, that goes with the territory, but to remove the clues that arise from the association between the player and the song title, I have chosen a passage of about a minute from less well known pieces. After all, the opening notes of Blue Train…umm…shot in the dark, Coltrane? Same goes for the association between the tenor and the other musicians in the ensemble. So, Miles Davis 2nd Great Quartet, Wayne…. Is that Monk in the background? Charlie R… No help there.
You have about 60 seconds of music featuring the tenor saxophone player at the point of improvisation, rather than the heads of the tune. I’ve tried to find a piece that is representative of their style of playing, not one where they are playing tribute to their influences. They are all ripped from original vinyl 50’s and 60’s a few at the start of the 70’s.
The twenty players listed below in strict alphabetical order are these. By a process of elimination, once you have got the easiest, the ones left are those remaining. That is all the help you are going to get. Think you know your Jazz? Prove it.
Ornette Coleman (on tenor)
Each sample is identified as Tenor Number #. No good peeking at the meta data for the rip, there is no answer there. If you want to post your answers, you can copy and paste the above list adding the number rip you think they are. If it’s all too difficult, that’s ok too, its just a bit of fun, test yourself. It’s not easy come middle of the fold. I’ll publish the correct answers in a couple of days (UPDATE: Dottorjazz has saved me the trouble. His is 100% correct answers in comments)
Off we go: Tenor 1
So that was easy eh?
Coming soon, try the LJC Hundred Greatest Modern Jazz Triangle Players Ever.
Or maybe the Hottest Hundred Harpists. Trombone might be interesting too, though probably the most telling is the trumpet – with so few controls, the trumpet depends on embouchure, the human factor, most closely allied with the human voice, problem is the artists are all too obvious. My vote is for trumpeters. Could be interesting. In reality it will probably be the top ten altos, half as much work for me. What do you think?