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Jazz Saxophone

Saxophone Inventor - Adolphe Sax 1814 – 1894

Display of early Saxophones

The Belgian-born maker, Adolphe Sax (1814-1894), invented the saxophone about 1840 and was granted a fifteen-year patent in 1846, four years after having moved to Paris.

The saxophone was exhibited to the world for the first time at the 1841 Brussels exhibition.

The saxophone is a relatively young instrument.  Antoine-Joseph Sax, who later took the name Adolphe, was born in Dinant, Belgium. His father, Charles Sax, was a musical instrument maker and created wind and brass instruments to pianos and guitars.


Saxophone Technique
Playing technique for the saxophone is subjective based upon the intended style (classical, jazz, rock, funk, etc.) and the player's idealized sound. The design of the saxophone allows for incredibly varied tone-production, and the "ideal" saxophone sound and keys to its production are are subjects of heated debate. However, there is a basic underlying structure to most technique. The first figure below shows a set of basic fingerings for the saxophone. The fingerings for a saxophone do not change from one instrument to another. Here, notes on a treble staff correspond to fingerings below. Fingerings typically appear with the left and right hand side-by-side. Growling is a technique used whereby the saxophonist sings or hums while playing. This causes a modulation of the sound, and results in a gruffness or coarseness of the sound. A glissando or sliding technique can also be used. Here the saxophonist bends the note using the embouchure and at the same time slides up or down to another fingered note. This technique is also used on the clarinet and is sometimes heard in big band music (ie. Benny Goodman's "Sing Sing Sing") and orchestral scores (the most famous example being the opening solo clarinet line in George Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue"). A glissando can also be made controlling the air stream, sliding between the harmonics. Especially in the higher register a pure glissando from second octave A upwards is easier than lower notes. Another technique used for producing a different sound is known as "overtones" and involves fingering one note but sounding another note which is an overtone of the fingered note. For example if low Bb is fingered, a Bb one octave above may be sounded by manipulating the throat cavity. The Bb one octave higher is the first overtone of the low Bb. The next three overtones of the low Bb are F, Bb, and D. Harmonics are also used to gain access to the altissimo register.

Embouchure In the typical embouchure, the mouthpiece is generally not taken more than half-way into the player's mouth. The bottom lip is generally curled in slightly (though some players choose to turn the lip outward) and the mouthpiece is rested upon it, held firm with light pressure from the upper teeth resting on the mouthpiece (sometimes padded with a thin strip of rubber known as a "bite-pad"). The upper lip closes to create an air-tight seal, and the corners of the mouth are kept firm and pulled up towards the nose as the head is tilted down to straighten the neck and thus the air-current. Imperative to a full and quick-speaking sound is the position of the throat. The throat should feel open, almost stretching wide, like when you take a good yawn or when blowing hot air on your hands. This openness should remain constant throughout the register of the saxophone, especially the low register (D down to Bb [A if available]). The exception to the rule comes at 3rd octave E and up into altissimo, where the throat should change to an "eeee" position to maximize the fullness of sound.

All too often the saxophone is portrayed as a 'cool' or 'sexy' instrument, easy to play and which looks 'good'. With the mid 30's upwards age group this tries to re-kindle past memories, with children this just looks a good instrument to play.

The youngest age for a person to play a saxophone is generally 11 years old. This is due to the hands being large enough to reach the keys and also to take the weight of the saxophone. The most common beginner saxophone is the Alto.

Earl Bostic
Tulsan saxophonist Earl Bostic started performing with Fate Marable on New Orleans riverboats, turning professional at 18 when he joined Terrence Holder's band. His first recording was with Lionel Hampton in 1942. He formed his own band in 1945, and turned to R&B in the late 1940s. As a musician and band leader he was a perfectionist. Earl's biggest hits were "Temptation," "Sleep," "You Go to My Head" "Where or When" "Cherokee." and his signiture tune "Flamingo". He was influenced by the great Sidney Bechet and in turn John Coltrane was influenced by Earl Bostic. Earl was an unmatchable jammer, saxist Sweet Papa Lou Donaldson recalled seeing Charlie Parker get burned by Earl during one such jam session. He was able to control the horn from low B flat up into the altissimo range years before other saxophonists dared to try. He was able to play melodies in the altissimo range with perfect execution. He could play wonderfully in any key at any tempo over any changes. Art Blakey remarked that "Nobody knew more about the saxophone than Bostic, and that includes Bird. Working with Bostic was like attending a university of the saxophone." Earls' recording career was varied, it includes jump blues, big band jazz, early rock and roll, commercial sides, and soul/jazz organ quintets. He died on stage while playing with his band.

Snake Davis
Chris 'Snake' Davis's ideas on breath control, the power of the imagination and vocal chords and other bits and pieces.

Even at your tender ages you've probably already noticed that progress seems very inconsistent. Sometimes we come on in leaps and bounds for weeks and sometimes we seem to hit a plateau where we tread water with no noticeable improvement for a while.  I've done a bit of leaping this year and its been in the breathing department. Here's what happened;

I took up Shakuhachi, and I've been teaching a bit more, noticing other peoples shortcomings in the diaphragm area, and all this led me to the realisation that I had previously been pathetically half-hearted in my attention to that area. The day I started writing this was the day I bought a didjeridoo (as the Eurythmics tour hit Australia). I was worried that once I started working on a 4th embouchure (flute,sax, Shakuhachi..) my other instruments might suffer, but in fact the new exercise my lungs were getting actually strengthened my sound on the other horns! Unless you think your breathing is already faultless, check the breathing exercises below and incorporate some of them into your practice routines.

1. Low breath.
Practice this in front of a mirror. Breathe quickly through your nose filling your lungs as though water is pouring into you. The diaphragm pushes down and your stomach expands forward and sideways.  There should be little movement in the chest and none at all in the shoulders.  Hold your hands on either side of your stomach and try to push them outwards. Release the air in a thin stream in bursts(crotchets with crotchet rests between them). This is the way we should be breathing for most of our playing. Only rarely when faced with particularly long phrases is it necessary to fill the higher parts, chest cavity etc.
2. Same as above but lying on your back, feet on the floor and knees bent. This position helps you to feel the diaphragm working, specially if you put some heavy books on your tummy while you do it!
3. The power blow
This is a macho exercise I got from a brass tutor many years ago;- Hold a sheet of paper against a smooth wall or window. Stand with your face about nine inches away. Take a good breath and blast the paper with a thin fast strong jet of air. See how long before the paper drops! Try increasing the distance. Time yourself. Have contests with your colleagues!
Imagination/vocal chords
Here is an exercise I've included in my practice during the last few years that I highly recommend to you.  It goes like this;
1. Play a slow scale somewhere in the middle range of your horn.1 octave, up and down, paying attention to sound quality and intonation.
2. Put the horn down and sing the same scale, same tempo.
3. With the horn again sing and play at the same time! (this is easy on flute, not so easy on other instruments, try your best.)
4. Play the scale again, singing in your mind / imagination only. Notice the involvement of your vocal chords. All those little muscles will kick in and help your tone and intonation. Adapt this exercise to suit yourself. Try octaves, different patterns etc.
Some further Snakish practicing ideas;
: Its all too easy to end up playing only in the low to medium dynamic range. This may be due to the proximity of neighbours or family or in my case because of practicing in hotel rooms, or just to our shy English natures. Whatever the reason, I urge you to, as often as you can, get into a situation where you can really crescendo, blast, let your horn ring and sing out! I'm totally spoilt now,I've got a music room at home where I can play out as loud as I want, but when I lived with my parents I used to play into an open wardrobe full of soft heavy clothes, keeping the curtains closed and hanging coats or blankets on the door!
Environment: Vary your practice place from time to time if you possibly can. Avoid playing too much in flattering echoey rooms (like bathrooms and kitchens). The blanketed dampened situation I mentioned above really makes you work to get a good sound. Practicing outside is fantastic. You hear your real sound with no acoustical colouring.
Time management: Little and often. Don't make excuses to yourself and your teachers. Take your horn on holiday and outings and sit and practice in the car, even if just for a few minutes.
Long note practice: Do it! Its not boring! While you're playing long notes think about breath control, dynamics, intonation and sound quality.
Get the most from your college/teachers: It doesn't all come on a plate! I had a sax teacher at Leeds College who was a wonderful player, lovely man, but not at all a natural in the class room. He often came to lessons unprepared, with no agenda, and we'd chat about life and knock off early! Now I regret that I didn't come prepared. I could have learnt so much more. Like I said to you at the Pied Piper workshops, ASK QUESTIONS!
Keyboard Skills
: If you haven't started already, get some! Even if you have no intention of ever turning professional, some ability on piano/keyboards is invaluable. It'll widen your ears, giving you better harmonic understanding, and be invaluable for arranging and composing.

Saxophonists Sites

Greg Abate jazz saxophonist, flautist, composer continues as an International Jazz/Recording Artist with some 60 days a year touring the UK. In the mid 70’s after finishing a four year program at Berklee College Of Music, Greg played lead alto for the Ray Charles Orchestra for 2 years.  In 1978 Greg formed his group Channel One which was a favourite in the New England area and from there had the opportunity to play tenor sax with the revived Artie Shaw Orchestra under leadership of Dick Johnson from 1986 to ’87.Following this experience Greg ventured out as post hard bop soloist playing Jazz Festivals, Jazz Societies and Jazz Clubs throughout the U.S. Canada and abroad, including most of Europe, UK, and Moscow and Georgia Russia.  Greg recorded his first CD Live At Birdland NYC in 1991 on the Candid Jazz Label with the trio of James Williams, Rufus Reid and Kenny Washington. To this date Greg has recorded over 12 other recordings and was nominated for a Grammy for his 2004 recording EVOLUTION in four categories . Greg is also an adjunct professor of Jazz Studies at Rhode Island College and is also a very active jazz clinician with co. sponsorship from the Conn -Selmer Instrument Co., conducting workshops and master classes through the US and abroad.  Greg's Agent

Joe Lovano

Trish Elphinstone has been playing the saxophone for about fourteen years now. She started playing the sax because she liked the sound and it was a useful way to relieve examination stress! She joined the Oxford Polytechnic (now Brookes University) big band, mostly played "air sax", and became the band driver as a means to avoid being kicked out.  After being a hard rockin' chick for a while, she went on to play in an African King Crimson/Gong 'experimental' jazz-flavoured hip-hop band. Being in these bands gave room for improvisation and she wanted to know more. 
She attended a beginners' jazz course at Ruskin College, Oxford. At the end, she and some colleagues from the course formed a small jazz band and ended up gigging. She found out about summer jazz workshops, including the Jamie Abersold and Glamorgan courses. Dissatisfied with waiting for the summer, she enrolled and completed the City Lit course, and unexpectedly is now happily doing a jazz degree at Middlesex. Catch her at the Half Moon Pub Oxford

Butch Thomas Website  Sax Appeal - Derek Nash

Former Berklee College student Scotland's John Burgess has toured extensively throughout Europe, Scandinavia and the Middle East, performing with many of the UK's finest jazz players. He has made several recordings as a sideman and in 1989 was the winner of the prestigious N.F.M.S. Concert Artist Award
During a lengthy sojourn in San Francisco, Burgess immersed himself in the highly competitive Bay Area scene and he has appeared at jazz clubs all along the West Coast of America. 
In addition to contemporary jazz, Burgess has performed recitals of both baroque and 19th century French saxophone music and his tenor saxophone has been featured in several highly regarded blues and jump-jive groups.
Alongside the excellent John Burgess Quartet which features another Berklee alumni Assaf Sawani on drums and the explosive talent of Liam Noble on piano, John Burgess is also available with the hugely talented and widely renowned Henry Franklin Trio. The members of the L.A. based group have performed either collectively or individually with Sonny Rollins, Pharaoh Sanders, Zoot Sims, Dexter Gordon and Freddie Hubbard.
Burgess has appeared on several notable recent recordings including "COMPARED TO WHAT" with the Harry Beckett Quintet, "DIAMONDS IN THE NIGHT" by the highly acclaimed folk duo Andy Shanks & Jim Russell and "PENDULUM" by London's ground-breaking drum'n'bass/jazz outfit "Blowpipe". 
John is touring the UK in March & Sept 2007 - Concert Jazz will be in the frame.

Paul Towndrow  Alto and Soprano Saxophonist, Composer, Educator, As well as being a graduate of The National Jazz Institute of Scotland and The University of Strathclyde, Paul studied for a year at the world famous Berklee College of Music in Boston; USA having won an international scholarship and went on to study with saxophone icons, George Garzone and Joe Lovano. He currently leads his own group, The Paul Towndrow Quartet, is a member of The Scottish National Jazz Orchestra and has also performed with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra. In 2002 he won The Peter Whittingham Jazz Award and secured Jazz Services touring grants for UK tours with The Paul Towndrow Quartet in 2003, 2004 and 2006. In July 2003 he reached the last four at The World Saxophone Competition at Montreux Jazz Festival and won the Public Prize (most audience votes). He reached the final stages again in 2004 at the London Jazz Festival. On both occasions he was the only representative of the UK to reach the finals. Paul was also selected to perform at The Cheltenham International Jazz Festival in 2006. Paul recently toured with sensational US group The Bad Plus, playing the music of Ornette Coleman. In 2004 he performed as part of a collaborative project with some of Norways top players including drummer, Thomas Strønen and pianist Haavard Wilk, culminating in performances at both Edinburgh and Oslo Jazz Festivals.  He is a tutor and clinician with Dumfries Youth Jazz Group. He has conducted masterclasses and workshops at The Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, Napier University, Fife Youth Jazz Orchestra, Dumfries Youth Jazz Orchestra and Dumfries Junior Jazz.

Tim Garland

Matt WatesAlto-saxophonist Matt Wates
The Matt Wates sextet is currently one of the 'hottest' small groups in British jazz, winning Best Small Group in the British Jazz Awards in 2001 (Matt himself won the Rising Star Award in 1997), and the group is a fixture at many jazz festivals around the country. Having won a scholarship to the Berklee School of Music in Boston in the late 1980s, he played with Duncan Lamont, Humphrey Lyttelton, Don Weller, Itchy Fingers and Paz before leading his own groups. His current sextet was formed in 1998, and its personnel has remained fairly consistent. It now consists of Canadian tenor saxophonist Steve Kaldestad (who was taught by Lee Konitz), the redoubtable Martin Shaw on trumpet, pianist Leon Greening, bassist Malcolm Creese (who owns the recording label Audio-B and who leads the group Acoustic Triangle), and the outstanding drummer Steve Brown. He first came to prominence in 1997 as winner of the BT Jazz “Rising Star Award” and is known to jazz audiences as the leader of and composer for the West-coast style ‘cool jazz’ sextet that bears his name, which has just recorded its 7th CD, Ghost Dance.


CRUMLY Pat 7cPat Crumly - Saxophones and Flute.
The very experienced Oxford (UK) -born saxophonist Pat Crumly’s career has included work with a broad range of artists in both the jazz and blues/rock field, and along the way he has led his own groups from Quartet to Sextet to Big Band. His passionate saxophone and lyrical flute have been featured with Jimmy Witherspoon, Zoot Money, Eric Burdon, Alan Price, Chris Farlowe, Georgie Fame, Roger Chapman, Lulu, Maggie Bell, Salena Jones, Tam White, Duffy Jackson, Joe Newman, etc. and he has worked alongside many British jazz players including Ronnie Scott and John Dankworth. Pat has recorded several albums for Spotlite Records and has a current release on the 33 label, ‘Weaver of Dreams’ (33JAZZ086), with his new Quartet. Pat co-led the Ronnie Scott Legacy Band for more than five years after Ronnie’s demise, touring the UK several times, playing a series of sell-out concerts in New Zealand and recording a tribute album, ‘Excuse Me Do I Know You’ (Jazzhouse), now reissued on the Jazzizit label as ‘Ronnie Remembered’ (JITCD0535).

Patrick John Crumly, saxophonist and bandleader: born Oxford 9 February 1942; twice married (two sons); died Tropea, Italy 29 September 2008.

Bobby Wellins Bobby's recording career started in 1956 when he joined the legendary Buddy Featherstonhaugh's piano-less quintet the line-up of which featured Kenny Wheeler on trumpet. Bobby was by now playing tenor saxophone, the instrument to which he has devoted himself to the present day. In the early 1960's Bobby was recruited by Tony Crombie for his latest band, in the ranks of which Bobby began a long association with the great British pianist Stan Tracey. Along with Bobby and Stan, drummer Laurie Morgan was a member of a loose co-operative of musicians and poets, including Michael Horowitz, who presented jazz and poetry concerts under the title of New Departures. In a bedsit with Laurie Morgan and using an old tape recorder, Bobby began work on his famous Culloden Moor Suite which culminated in its performance by the New Departures Quartet and a 14 piece orchestra. That quartet recorded analbum of the same name in 1964. This was followed in 1965 by the Stan Tracey Quartet's recording of an suite of pieces inspired by Dylan Thomas' Under Milk Wood. In a 1998 poll by Jazz UK magazine, readers chose this record as their all-time favourite British jazz album. It is testament to the musical creativity of Bobby and Stan and the strength of the latter's compositions that despite the thousands of records made in the intervening 33 years, this record was chosen.  

Duncan Lamont  Born in Greenock, Scotland. Played trumpet with Kenny Graham's Afro Cubists changed to tenor sax became a jazz studio player. Played with almost everyone in show business. He has worked (often as a featured soloist) with Henry Mancini, Robert Farnon, Benny Goodman, Gil Evans, Bill Holman, Nelson Riddle, Peggy Lee, Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Bing Crosby, Count Basie, Fred Astaire, Benny Carter, Mel Torme, Paul McCartney�the list is endless.
Orchestral Suites - The Young Person's Guide to the Jazz Orchestra, The Carnival of the Animals, Soho Suite (commissioned for The Soho Festival), Sherlock Holmes Suite commissioned for the festival of London with Sir Spike Milligan, Cinderella, Carmen, Buddy Rich Suite and many others. His most recent being Porgy and Bess with an all-star orchestra. Duncan has arranged and conducted for the B.B.C. for many years and has recorded as a soloist and an arranger with the Metropole Orchestra. His suite Beautiful Ireland for the Ulster Youth Jazz Orchestra was performed at the Londonderry Jazz Festival.

PeteR King
Although he now concentrates on his work as a solo artist and with his regular Quartet, Peter has worked and with such legends as Bud Powell, Elvin Jones, Max Roach, Milt Jackson, Lalo Schifrin, Frank Foster's ‘new' Count Basie Band and the Ray Charles Orchestra. He has also recorded with Hampton Hawes, Al Haig, Philly Joe Jones, Zoot Sims, Al Cohn, and many others, including Red Rodney, who said this of Peter.. “He's got that natural growl in his playing –yet he's soft and beautiful when he wants to be.” Peter has also worked with many great singers, such as Ernestine Anderson, Joe Williams, Anita O'Day, and made albums with Jon Hendricks and Jimmy Witherspoon. He has also accompanied artists as diverse as Tony Bennett, Marlene Dietrich, James Brown and Lauren Bacall. King is also known for his recorded work with the pop group, 'Everything but the Girl' and as featured soloist and Musical Director of the Charlie Watts Quintet. Peter can also be seen in films such as ‘Blue Ice' starring Michael Caine and the new hit movie, ‘The Talented Mr. Ripley', staring Mat Damon and directed by the Oscar winning Anthony Minghella. Peter also can also be heard playing on Mike Figgis' film ‘Time Code' particularly over the opening titles. A prolific composer and arranger, his most ambitious work to date is probably "Janus", a BBC commission, featuring his own Quartet and the "Lyric String Quartet". He has many albums to his name, including ‘Tamburello' (which won the Best CD of the Year prize at the ‘BT British Jazz Awards'. The latest CD's, “Lush Life” and ‘Footprints', are now available on the same Miles Music label. Peter's latest project is a full length two act Opera, ‘Zyklon'. He received much encouragement and support in this from Sir Peter Hall and Julian Barry, who has written the libretto. (A shortened version is to be performed at the City University of New York on 13 Dec 2004).

In the Autumn of 2001 Peter went on the road again with the new Charlie Watts Tentette, for which he wrote several arrangements. As well as playing two weeks at Ronnie Scott's, the band played at the Blue Note in Tokyo and New York. In October 2002 Peter visited Russia for an extensive and highly successful solo tour. This was followed by a return trip in Aug 2003 when his Quartet played at the Moscow Summer Festival, where Peter was presented with a special LifeTime Achievement award.

Peter  has composed a full length two act opera, "Zyklon", with the  libretto by Julian Barry. A short workshop version was performed at the City University of New York on 13 Dec 2004 and received a standing ovation.

Peter is currently working on his autobiography, which is projected for publication sometime in 2007 and also a new Jazz Mass, to be premiered at Newcastle Cathedral.

Gene Lees
"I hear both Trane and Bird in his playing, but he is better than either of them."
Elvin Jones
 ”A wonderful musician, Peter King, of course, is a master of his instrument. People are aware of that here in America as well as in England”
Lalo Schifrin
"Peter King is one of the best musicians in the world." . . . who travels very comfortably in the language of jazz and at the same time, classical music. . . . . . . . . “I feel very lucky to have met and to have worked with (him)”.
. . . . . .”Congratulations (on your opera) ‘Zyklon’.  “I was very impressed with your avant-garde writing techniques, and at the same time, your sense of drama”.
George Coleman
“ ...a great musician”
Nat Adderley
-“..World’s great Altoist, My man!”

“plays with...searing authority” Guardian;

Peter King plays Charlie Parker's Grafton Sax at Christies

Mornington Lockett
Mornington Lockett studied at Dartington College Of Arts in Devon before moving to London to attend the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. As a member of the Ronnie Scott Sextet, Mornington worked extensively in Britain and abroad. He has recorded albums with Ronnie Scott, guitarist Jim Mullen, drummer Martin Drew, pianist Stan Tracey, and jazz singers Sarah Jane Morris, Claire Martin, and Ian Shaw.  In 1995 he performed at the Barbican with Cuban trumpet supremo Arturo Sandoval. Mornington has also toured internationally with Oscar Peterson's long time sidemen, drummer  Martin Drew and bassist  Niels Henning Ørsted Pedersen, and toured Europe in the summer of 2004 with the legendary hammond organist Jimmy Smith.

Mornington has worked in a number of different combinations with Stan and Clark Tracey, including the memorable 'Continental Drift' Band formed to celebrate Stan's 75th birthday, and the 'Ellingtonia' sextet. Other Stan Tracey collaborations include the 'Under Milk Wood Suite', and Big Band concerts celebrating the centenary of the birth of Duke Ellington and Ellington's


Alan Barnes
Alan is one of Britain’s most renowned and well-loved saxophonists. He has played in bands with a wide range of jazz styles including The Pasadena Roof Orchestra, Humphrey Littleton, The Charlie Watts Tentet and the Pizza Express Modern Jazz Sextet. He has toured the USA and Europe with the Bryan Ferry Band and appeared on sessions with Selina Jones, Bjork and Van Morrison. He co-leads his own bands with Dave Newton and Bruce Adams.  Alan is a fellow of Leeds College of Music where he was Artist in Residence in 2004. He is an experienced teacher, having taught on the Leeds & Middlesex Jazz Courses and on different summer schools.


Anatoliy Vyacheslavov 

Frank  Griffith  Biography - born in Eugene, Oregon in 1959,
Frank lived in New York City from 1980-1995.  While there he worked with Ron Carter, Jon Hendricks and Jack McDuff and played lead alto with the Glenn Miller Orchestra for a nationwide tour in 1984. He has also worked with the orchestras of Toshiko Akiyoshi, Mel Lewis, Buddy Rich and Mel Torme. He has recorded with guitarist/singer John Pizzarelli on his CD’s “All Of Me” and “Naturally” and produced and arranged  for guitarist Dave Stryker’s CD “Nomad”.

As a composer/arranger Frank has contributed music to the Ron Carter Nonet, the Lionel Hampton Orchestra, the Jon Hendricks Explosion, the Blue Wisp Big Band and the Brooklyn Philharmonic Orchestra.  Frank received his Masters Degree from Manhattan School of Music, and a BFA from City College of New York, where he also taught from 1985-1995.  Moving to London in 1996, Frank has arranged for Mark Nightingale, Tony Coe, Norma Winstone and Joe Temperley. He also plays and writes for the Pete Cater Big Band, whose CDs, “Playing With Fire” (1997 Jazzizit) “Upswing” (2000 Vocalion) and “The Right Time” (2006 Vocalion) feature many of his compositions and arrangements. His band, The Frank Griffith Nonet performs frequently in the London area including annually at the Ealing Jazz Festival since 2000. Their first appearance there resulted in the “Frank Griffith Nonet ‘Live’Ealing Jazz Festival 2000” CD on HEPJAZZ. Their cd “The Coventry Suite” was released in 2004 on 33 Records.  His debut CD “The Suspect” featuring Tom Harrell on HEPJAZZ in 1999 is also currently available internationally. His clarinet and arrangements for baritone saxophonist Joe Temperley were featured on Joe's 2001 CD "Easy To Remember" also on HEPJAZZ.  Frank has received commissions from the Ealing and Coventry Jazz Festivals, the Cardinal Vaughan Memorial School Big Band, the Oakham School Big Band  and the Midlands Youth Jazz Orchestra. 
Currently Frank is a lecturer in music at Brunel University, and teaches annually at the Jamey Aebersold Summer Jazz Workshops. He is a member of the Jazz Services Education Panel and has two compositions published in the Associated Boards Jazz Works ensemble series. He is also a consultant for the Associated Boards Jazz Clarinet Syllabus and has composed two pieces for their Jazz Saxophone Syllabus. He is currently writing a jazz saxophone tutor book for Schott Publications. A longstanding member of the International Association of Jazz Educators, Frank serves on their Resource Team and advises on Post Secondary Education.
Frank’s work chronicling  the music and career of Sir John Dankworth was published in his article  Jazz in British New Wave Cinema- an interview with Sir John Dankworth in the December 2006 issue of The Journal Of British Cinema and Television. He also appears on the John Dankworth Big Band featuring Cleo Laine 2007 CD “The Blues Ain’t”. 

Art Themen (b. 1939) is a Saxophonist (and orthopaedic surgeon).
Themen was born on 26 November 1939 in Manchester. In 1958 he began his medical studies at the University of Cambridge, going on in 1961 to complete his studies at St Mary's Hospital Medical School in London, qualifying in 1964. He specialised in orthopaedic medicine, eventually becoming a consultant.  Themen started playing jazz with the Cambridge University Jazz Group, and then in London playing with blues musicians Jack Bruce and Alexis Korner. In 1965 he played with the Peter Stuyvesant Jazz Orchestra in Zürich, going on to play with such English luminaries as Michael Garrick and Graham Collier's Music.  In 1974 he entered on what was to be one of his central musical relationships when he started playing with Stan Tracey. He has played with all of Tracey's groups, touring with him all over the world as well as around the UK. He has also played and toured with musicians such as Nat Adderley, Ian Carr, George Coleman, and Al Haig.  His style originally owed much to the influence of Dexter Gordon and Sonny Rollins, but later influences included such disparate saxophonists as Coleman Hawkins, Evan Parker, and the “sheets of sound” John Coltrane.


Ben Castle - tenor and soprano saxophones, bass clarinet
Ben started his playing early achieving distinction on clarinet at the age of thirteen . Encouraged by his father , the musician and entertainer Roy Castle , Ben was soon playing in many bands and after leaving school he studied at the Guildhall School of Music . Now Ben's freelance playing covers a very broad spectrum from orchestras , big bands , pop and rock groups to the jazz scene . He has performed and recorded with many people including Stan Tracey , Alan Barnes , Don Weller , Matt Wates , Clark Tracey , Mark Nightingale , Humphrey Lyttleton , Laurence Cottle , Bobby Worth , Michael Garrick plus Echoes of Ellington and the BBC Big Band . Ben leads and writes for his own group and 2000 saw the release of their first recording " Four From The Madding Crowd " . He was voted rising star in the British Jazz Awards 2001, and was nominated for a BBC jazz award. He has lead his quartet at Ronnie Scotts and you can catch up on Ben's schedule at his web-site.

Ben Castle is one of Britain's most respected tenor players who has played, written or arranged for Carleen Anderson, Jamie Cullum, Sting, Marillion, Kula Shaker, Stan Tracey, Lalo Schifrin, Moloko, Culture Club, Andy Williams, Quincy Jones, Jools Holland & Kyle Eastwood. 'The Heckler' from his own album 'Blah Street' won the International Song Writing Competition, judged by Pat Metheny.

Ben Waghorn As a musician Ben has been involved in some varied things over the years - but highlights include working alongside musicians such as Keith Tippett, John Etheridge, Steve Waterman, Damon Brown, Andy Sheppard, Sirius B, Alan Barnes, Andy Hague, Jim Blomfield, Jeff Spencer, Jerry Crozier Cole, Morningstar, Invisible pair of Hands and Hammond Organist John Paul Gard. I have also played and/or recorded with bands Portishead, Goldfrapp and Ilya. I recently worked for composer Richard G Mitchell playing clarinet on the soundtrack for the film 'A Good Woman'.

His Quartet plays Jazz Venues and Festivals all over the country. Currently it features pianist Jim Blomfield, bassist Riaan Vosloo and drummer Andy Hague. Ben plays saxes, bass clarinet and flute, and the material that we play is a mixture of original tunes and standards.

Peter Cook
Alto Saxophone, Clarinet
Active on the London jazz scene since 1992, Peter plays saxophone in a variety of ensembles including his own Peter Cook Septet. He completed the post-graduate course in jazz studies at Guildhall School of Music & Drama in 1994 and obtained an LGSM in jazz studies. Since then he has performed at many jazz festivals in the UK, mainland Europe and Scandinavia as a member of Ray Gelato’s Giants and Blue Harlem. A respected composer and arranger, Peter has written for The Guildhall Jazz Band, Ray Gelato Giants, his own Septet, Blue Harlem, Seymour's Jump, and for vocalists Louise Cookman and Joan Viskant. From 1995 he lectured in performance at Brunel University until his appointment as Head of Jazz at the London College of Music and Media at Thames Valley University in 2003. He is Saxophone Tutor at Wellington College, Crowthorne, Berkshire. Peter joined the faculty of the Jamey Aebersold Jazz Summer School in 2004.


Rod Mason is a Midland lad who moved North to study the Saxophone at the now Huddersfield University. He started playing the saxophone aged 12 during his 2nd year at secondary school. Whilst at school he became involved with the local Big Band and discovered the joys of swing and jazz. He played in many local youth jazz orchestras as well as playing with the M.U. Big Band. Upon moving to Huddersfield he began playing with many Northern bands and also started to form his own small groups. One of the big turning points for Rod was one Friday night watching The Old Grey Whistle Test, when he first discovered the Billy Cobham band which at that time included the Brecker brothers and John Abercrombie). This was to change his musical outlook on life. Whilst at college he gained his degree in Music studying all the great classical composers but also did talks for the college on jazz music and for his final assignment wrote about jazz music.  At University he formed with others the Northern Jazz Orchestra which played throughout the North at festivals and other venues, Rod was the M.D. for 2 years. He also had a small band playing has original compositions. 

Brass Jaw
Featuring :-
Paul Towndrow - Alto
Martin Kershaw - Alto
Brian Molley - Tenor
Allon Beauvoisin - Baritone

The Brass Jaw Saxophone Quartet are a young group, part of the vibrant Scottish jazz scene.

This critically acclaimed group brings together the talents of some of the most creative saxophonists in the UK, embracing a vast variety of styles within their own compositions and arrangements, taking the format in a new direction, distinct from that of their predecessors, The 29th Street Saxophone Quartet from USA and the UK's Itchy Fingers.  After their hugely successful National tour of the United Kingdom in 2005 which also saw them perform live on BBC Radio Scotland, Brass Jaw released their début album “BURN” in June 2006.  “They riff and hustle with the groovy pep of James Brown's horn section or lay out lush voicings that sound more like an orchestra than a quartet. They mix solo features of considerable virtuosity with keen ensemble understanding and they slip into The Police's Walking on the Moon and Spanish-Cuban fantasies with the same ease and aplomb as they do jazz standards.

Above all, they communicate a feeling of enjoyment alongside the passion, a good time that travels freely from stage to audience.”
Rob Adams The Herald

"Altogether, an accomplished and ambitious ensemble who aren't afraid to enjoy themselves."
James Griffiths The Guardian


Ian Ellis is a London based saxophonist active in contemporary jazz as well as rock, pop and funk. The Ian Ellis Quartet plays a mixture of Ellis originals and re-invented standards and has performed at venues across the UK. Apart from his own projects Ellis has played, toured, recorded with Ruby Turner, Arturo Sandoval and Guy Barker and is a busy freelance session musician and teacher. Steve Rose studied Performing Arts at Middlesex University and now plays double bass, piano and keyboards. He’s worked with jazz and pop stars such as Jacqui Dankworth, Iain Ballamy, Mark Mondesir, and Paul Weller. He has worked extensively in international theatre and contemporary dance, composing and performing music for leading companies including the London Contemporary Dance Theatre, Amici, the David Glass Ensemble and Candoco. Recently he was musical director at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, working with members of the orchestra and young people with autism. He also works as a film and TV composer.

Paul Booth Tenor Saxophonist Paul Booth is very much a rising star at the age of 27, but his career to date is, if anything, more remarkable. Paul has been playing from the age of ten and started to play extensively on the North East jazz scene at the age of l3. The Royal Academy of Music accepted Paul at the age of 15 onto their four-year degree course in jazz from which Paul graduated with honours. Winner of “The Most Promising Jazz Player of the Year Under 21”, judged by John Dankworth and Chris Barber in the televised “Young Jazz Player of the Year” competition when only 16. The following year he was voted “The Best Modern Jazz Player” in the same competition judged by Kenny Ball and Ronnie Scott, who likened his mature impact to that of the young Tubby Hayes decades earlier.

Chris Biscoe   Born 1947 Barnet, Hertfordshire, UK, Started on alto sax in 1963, Added tenor sax in 1965, soprano in 1967, baritone in 1973,Started on flute around 1973, Started alto clarinet in 1975, Self-taught on all these instruments
Studied English at Sussex University 1965-1968 and played with various contemporaries including percussionist Roger Turner, First recording with pianist/singerBen Sidran 1969/70.  Worked as computer programmer 1969-73 then turned to music full-time.
Between 1971 and 1979 played, recorded and broadcast with Pete Hurt, Tommy Chase, Pete Saberton, Barry Guy, Dave Holdsworth, Pete Jacobsen, Redbrass. 1979 joined Mike Westbrook with whom he has toured throughout Europe and played at international festivals in Australia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Canada and the USA. and made many records. 1979-1995 Chris Biscoe Quartet featuring Peter Jacobsen - expanded to Quintet in 1980, Sextet in 1986, reformed as Quartet 1987.

Stan Sulzmann is without question one of the most highly respected musicians in the UK today, admired by musicians and audiences for his instantly recognisable sound, and boundless creative imagination, and is a source of inspiration to many of Britain's emerging young musicians. Sulzmann’s career stretches back to the 60’s, when as part of a uniquely talented crop of British musicians, he played with Graham Collier, John Taylor, Kenny Wheeler, Gordon Beck, as well as leading many groups of his own. Since that time Stan has been at the forefront of European contemporary jazz, and his talents have been sought by a host of discerning musicians, including Gil Evans, Mike Gibbs, Kenny Clarke/Francy Boland and Michael Brecker. Constantly in demand as a guest soloist, he has appeared with bands across Europe, including the Hilversum Radio Orchestra, NDR Big Band (alongside Chet Baker), Hanover Radio Symphony Orchestra and the New York Composers Orchestra. Further intimate and refreshingly innovative musical partnerships have developed with acclaimed British pianist Nikki Iles, American keyboard player Marc Copland and the trio Ordesa - a drumless, bassless combination with Kenny Wheeler and John Parricellli.‘possibly the strongest new band in the country’ Independent August 2002   An accomplished and distinguished composer, Stan's writing talents are internationally recognised, and have most recently found expression in writing for Ordesa, and the Stan Sulzmann Big Band. His music has been described in glowing terms 'ravishing, delicious, powerful and direct…

meticulously written, sometimes echoing the imaginative and much missed orchestra of Michael Gibbs' The Guardian
'Sulzmann - the classy composer'. John Fordham

Tommaso Starace was born in Milan in 1975 from an Italian father and Australian mother. He started playing the alto saxophone at the age of 18. In 1994 he took part in a weekly jazz seminar organised by Berklee College of Music, taking place in Perugia as part of the ‘Umbria Jazz Festival’ and in that same year he was accepted at the Birmingham Conservatoire where he graduated with a BMus first class honours degree. During those 4 years of college he studied with saxophonists Andrew Tweed, Chris Gumbley and Nigel Wood both classical and jazz repertoire. In the summer of 1996 he took part in the Jamey Aebersold Summer Camp in Kentuky and had the chance of performing and studying with saxophonist Don Braden and Jazz Educators David Baker.  Between the years 1999/2000 he completed the Postgraduate Jazz course at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, London. While attending the course he studied with ex-Jazz Messengers saxophonist Jean Toussaint, and saxophonists Stan Sulzman and Martin Hathaway; he performed in small combos and big bands with Billy Cobham, David Liebman, Kenny Wheeler and Norma Winstone. He also took part in several master classes some of which with renown jazz musicians such as saxophonist Tim Garland and bass virtuoso John Patitucci.
Across the years, since successfully completing his Postgraduate course, Tommaso has gained a considerable reputation in the Uk jazz scene appearing at many jazz clubs and Festivals in the country as a sideman and leader. Some of the venues include : The ‘Vortex’ Jazz Club, The 100 Club, ‘Pizza on the Park’, Royal Festival Hall Foyer, Boxford Fleece Jazz Club, Plymouth Jazz Club, Bonington Theatre, Jazz in the Streets Festival ( concert in Trafalgar Square), Bexley Heath Jazz Club, National Theatre, Jazz at The Green Man, Derenham Jazz Club, Quay arts Centre,
Milestone Jazz Club, Matt and Phreds Jazz Club, Gumbles Jazz Club, National Portrait Gallery, Capital Gardens Jazz Festival, Chelsea Festival, Windsor Festival.  He has performed with some of the most respected uk jazz musicians including: Jim Mullen, Roger Beaujolais, Phil Lee, Liam Noble, Jonathan Gee, Dave Cliff, Tim Richards, Roland Perrin, Andy Hamill, Steve Brown, Mike Gorman, Colin Oxley.

Ed Jones began playing saxophone at the age of 15. In 1984 he graduated from Middlesex University with a degree in music, and for a while served an apprenticeship as a street musician. After giging for a few years on the London scene he formed his first group "Ed Jones Quartet" in 1987, recording "The Homecoming" (Acid Jazz, 1989). In 1991 he formed a new quartet featuring pianist Jonathan Gee,and drummer Brian Abrahams This band recorded "Pipers Tales" (ASC, 1995). Since 1995 his main ongoing 'solo' project has been a quintet with which he has recorded ''Out Here" (ASC, 1997), and "Seven Moments" (ASC 2002).  He has made musical connections in many countries particularly in Japan where he runs two projects; EJQ (a jazz quartet), and Quasimodo, an electric project featuring the legendary Paul Jackson on bass.
In Scandinavia he has been collaborating for many years with Finnish trumpeter/composer Mika Myllari on a number of projects including the 10 piece ensemble BURN, and the evolving studio project SILK.
His experience as a sideman reflects his diverse interests. Over the past decade he has performed with U.S jazz musicians George Benson, Dianne Reeves, Charles Earland, Horace Silver, Jimmy Witherspoon, Clifford Jarvis and Dr Lonnie Smith and Melba Joyce. In the UK he has appeared with Dick Heckstall-Smith, John Stevens, District Six, Evan Parker, Jason Rebello, Claire Martin, Don Weller, Gary Crosby, Byron Wallen,Tim Richard's Great Spirit, Antonio Forcione, Damon Brown Quintet, Vibraphonic, Monk Liberation Front, Accension Jazz Orchestra, Stekpanna and On the Corner.
As a session musician he has worked with Chaka Khan, D'angelo, Herbie Hancock (Headhunters),Omar, Aswad, Tina Turner, Alison Moyet, Philip Bailey, Bootsy Collins, Mori Kante, Maysa, Terry Callier, and long standing connections to jazz crossover projects such as US3 (1992-) and Incognito (1995-) both with whom he has been a regular band member.
He has also written numerous compositions for film and television, dance and theatre.

Simon Allen studied saxophone at the Royal Academy, after beginning his career with the National Youth Jazz Orchestra and the Pendulum Jazz Orchestra, performing alongside the likes of Jazz Stars Art Themen, Gerard Presencer and Peter King.

 He has worked with Colin Towns’ Mask Orchestra, for the Birmingham Royal Ballet, the Matthew Herbert Big Band and the BBC Big Band, touring around Germany, China, Belgium and Poland.

Simon has appeared at major UK venues and festivals and worked with an astonishing array of top musicians including Kenny Wheeler, Iain Ballamy, Django Bates, John Paracelli, Steve Waterman, Alan Barnes, Don Weller, Ben Castle and Tina May.

Kelvin Christiane

Kelvin is a freelance saxophonist, flautist, clarinettist, percussionist and composer who has been leading music ensembles for the past fifteen years.

A graduate from the Leeds College of Music he has played and works with artists such as Bernard ‘Pretty’ Purdie - the world’s most recorded drummer (Aretha, James Brown, Steely Dan etc.). Pucho & the Latin Soul Bros. (New York percussionist). Blue Mercedes, Jim Mullen, Pete King, Gilad Atzmon, Roland Perrin's Blue Planet Orchestra.......

Performed at the Montauban Jazz Festival, France 2002 with Russian pianist Daniel Kramer.


Vasilis Xenopoulos is a highly-rated rising star in the world of jazz. Born in Athens, Greece and studied in Berklee, Boston MA, Vasilis music travels from East to West. He plays tenor sax, and has been in London now for close on four years. His band repertoire comprises mainly originals from Vasislis and pianist Will Bartlett in a mostly contemporary vein with funk and latin grooves much in evidence. With his irrepressible enthusiasm and engaging personality Vasilis has built a reputation for really fun gigs.

After his graduation in 2001, he moved permanently to West London. He is a member of the Sound of 17 Big Band, and Eddie Harvey's quintet with many appearances around London. Vasilis formed his trio in 2002, which has now been upgraded to a quartet


Rob Hughes - Rob is one of the shining lights of this  new generation of hip, exciting players in London and beyond. Rob studied music and composition at Goldsmith's College. With a new album out, 'Butterfly', Rob has been revealing his sax/flute blowing talents with some top players such as Marc Parnell, Tim Lapthorn, Jim Mullen etc  as he struts his stuff at clubs around the country.  It remains fairly unusual for sax players to sound great on flute or vice versa. Rob manages to make it work on both horns. We think you will enjoy the combination of his compelling, energetic blowing on sax with his lyrical, beautiful sound on flute.







Russell van den Berg was born in Hatfield in October 1975. Due to his Dutch family’s rich musical history and prominent influence, he was always surrounded in Jazz music from the very beginning. He took up music (starting on clarinet) at the age of fifteen and then went on to music college at the age of seventeen. Russell is a graduate of “Leeds College of Music” and attained his post Graduate at “The Guildhall School of Music & Drama” in London. During this period of his education, in 1993 for three consecutive years he won the Daily Telegraph "Young Jazz" Awards” for composition and in band leading.

After graduating from Leeds at the age of 20, he moved down to London and whilst still studying for his post graduate diploma, at the age of 21, he won the “1997 BBC Radio 2” Big Band Soloist Award. Since graduating from there, he has been leading his own quartets and quintets, performing his own compositions in and around London, which have been highly praised by the likes of Kenny Wheeler and Ian Carr (see references). In 1999 he won another national competition and was awarded the “J.O.E.Y. Commission” (sponsored by the Arts Council/National Lotery/33 Records and Jazz Services) and for this, at the age of 23, was commented upon as being "the cream of under 30 year olds in British Jazz today".








Andy Panayi  is an exceptionally gifted jazz musician, skilled in performance, composition and arranging. He plays all the flutes and all the saxophones and currently leads his own groups, both jazz and classical. He also writes commissioned works and preparing manuscripts for his arranging -composing -transcribing business ALP Music™
Andy has performed and recorded with many singers such as; Shirley Bassey, Jessye Norman, Paul McCartney, Salena Jones, Elvis Costello, Georgie Fame, Peter Skellen, Zoot Money, Irene Reed, Elaine Delmar, Helen Shapiro, Madeline Bell & Patty Austin to name a few.  He's also worked alongside or supported Abdulla Ibrahim (Dollar Brand), Freddie Hubbard, Louie Bellson Octet & Big Band, Ed Thigpen, Jiggs Whigham, Billy Cobham, Indo-Jazz Fusions run by Johnny Mayer, Vale of Glamorgan Contemporary Music Festival, LSSO, The Moscow City Ballet, Ronnie Scott & his Side-men, Scott Hamilton, Ken Peplowski, Pepper Adams, Kenny Baker, Ted Heath/ Don Lusher Big Band, BBC Radio Big Band, Bert Kaemphert Orchestra, Stan Tracey Big Band -Septet - Octet, John Dankworth & Cleo Laine, The John & Alec Dankworth Generation Big Band, Humphrey Lyttelton and many more.
Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM) Andy is currently working as a consultant for the ABRSM, specialising in developing the Jazz syllabus for future examinations.
Awards - he Marty Paich Arranging Award, The John Dankworth Soloist Award, The Worshipful Company of Musicians Jazz Medal, British Jazz Awards Jazz Flute.


I knew Adrian Rollini like an older brother. I never knew an association with the Mafia, although I met some of his gangster friends when I was with the trio in Providence R.I.  When Adrian died in Tavernier Florida, his brother Arthur and sister Vera mentioned something about a fact that he was murdered by the Mafia because he had a romantic tryst with one of the Mafia members girlfriends.  Art and Vera put detectives on the case for a few years, but nothing other than rumours turned up. One report said that he was found on a lonely road in Florida bleeding to death with one of his legs partially severed. There was mention of a glass bottle doing the damage.  The part of liver damage is more than likely true as Adrian drank scotch excessively. When he "went on the wagon" his drink of choice was sauterne and soda.  He was a great guy, a remarkable musician and an honour to work with. - Fred Sharp

Allegro - Oxford (for a burst of Joe Lovano)
The Saxophone Specialists and a whole lot more!
Roger Baycock is The Sax Summit Supremo.
Sax Museum and Sage of Sax History

Alto Sax Key Chart Pdf
Saxophone Instruction on Line
Learn The Saxophone  Nick Beeston

Tenor Sax Transcriptions

Sax Shed

Saxophone Facts

Sax on the Web

Sax Lesson

Contrabass saxophone in Eb

It's the biggest woodwind instrument there is. It plays a full octave below the baritone saxophone or bass clarinet; it's lowest note is the Db at the bottom of the piano keyboard, but its power and presence of sound is indescribable. There were about thirty of the instruments built over the last 80 years, but many of them are missing (how do you lose a seven-foot tall saxophone!?!), and only about six of them are in active use.

The legendary clarinettist turned soprano saxophone virtuoso Sidney Bechet, came to England with the Southern Syncopated Orchestra in 1919 reportedly on the considerable weekly wage of $60.  Bechet helped put the SSO and Jazz on the musical map.  He is seen as one of the twin pillars along with Louis Armstrong of Modern Jazz. 

In fact Bechet only turned to the soprano Saxophone after seeing the strange straight instrument in a shop in Wardour Street, Soho.  After asking for a double octave key to be added he began to dazzle audiences with the extra power this new instrument gave him.

The first serious jazz review in Europe was written by the conductor of the L’Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, Ernest Ansermet.   It talked about the virtuoso performance on clarinet of Bechet.  He said that the SSO played arrangements that were, “Extremely difficult, they are equally admirable for their richness of invention, force of accent, and daring in novelty and the unexpected.”  Ansermet even likened their musical artistry to that of a Bach Concerto.

Although some jazz aficionados are familiar with the feats of the orchestra largely through the subsequent work of Sidney Bechet, no recordings of the group have ever been discovered.  It is unlikely they ever recorded.  This is how their musical legacy was largely lost.


Local Tuition - Tim Wilson. an experienced player and teaches saxophone and flute (all levels). I also teach jazz improvisation. Tel: 01993 704441

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Last modified: 18/02/2012