Sax on the Web Forum banner
1 - 20 of 30 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
347 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
How do you get it? What am I not getting? I do longtones, I transcribe, I do overtones, I listen, but I still have a horrible jazz sound. I've been focusing on it hard for the past 3 months really trying to make progress, and I feel like I've moved nowhere... Any tips at all?

PS: I'm sure my setup isn't the culprit.

Philtone Meyer 6
La Voz Med/Java 2.5
YAS Custom Ex
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
923 Posts
How long have you been playing? How is your "non-jazz" tone? What type of "jazz" tone are you trying to achieve?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
363 Posts
I just did an interview w/Thelonious Monk Saxophone Competition winner Jon Irabagon (http://www.bestsaxophonewebsiteever.com/jon-irabagon - link will not work on tomorrow morning at 7am PST) and he said that the way he cultivated his tone was to take a recording of one of his saxophone heros and isolate a brief part of the recording where his idol played with the sound that epitomized what Jon loved best about that player. Jon then practiced playing that same passage over and over again, trying to imitate that sound exactly.

The next step was to take the sound from that small snippet of music and apply that to all of the other notes throughout the horn. )I need to try that at some point myself).

However, at your stage in the game, I'd focus on long tones, overtones, and imagining that you're playing center-stage at Carnegie Hall - even when you playing the most mundane exercises.

I hope that helps!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
511 Posts
Honestly, Im not sure there is a "jazz" sound, as far as tone goes. The jazz sound comes from phrasing, articulation and basically playing lines like a jazzer would. That comes from listening and imitating. As far as tone, you should just strive to get the fullest, nicest, prettiest tone you can. Matching overtones helps alot with this. Your brain has to be able to distinguish between a full robust tone and a thin weak tone. Once you get that you can customize your sound via mouthpiece, reed, embechure etc. Once I was able to produce a really nice legit tone the nice jazz tone was there too. I just put on a different mouthpiece and reed. Its a very hard thing. Keep trying. Try recording yourself and listen and analyze. Youll get there.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
193 Posts
It comes from listening non stop to any and all jazz musicians (especially jazz players) as well as having the embouchure. To get the tone, you need to rely on your lip and jaw muscles for full support without having the teeth anywhere near the lower region. That way the reed will vibrate/respond to its fullest without any interference. This is due to the cushion of your bottom lip supporting the reed and its vibration. Transcribe as much as you can. Start with some Miles Davis. He is notorious for playing simple lines that are beautiful. Get Aebersold play alongs and be sure to play some simple tunes with what you have learned and transcribed. Know your theory because that will come into play when you start transcribing. Just remember, we are all in this journey of playing some of the worlds greatest music and getting better as well as learning never stops. I've been at this for about 5 years and i still feel like ive just begun to truly be where i want to be or play how i want to sound. It just takes time and practice.
 

·
Moderator
Grafton + TH & C alto || Naked Lady 10M || TT soprano || Martin Comm III
Joined
·
30,102 Posts
How do you get it? What am I not getting? I do longtones, I transcribe, I do overtones, I listen, but I still have a horrible jazz sound. I've been focusing on it hard for the past 3 months really trying to make progress, and I feel like I've moved nowhere... Any tips at all?
You've had good answers. It can take a long long time and often you improve without realising it so try to not get despondent.

Also work on flexibility, vibrato note bending etc.

Posting some soundclips would be useful.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member/Forum Contributor 2009
Joined
·
7,921 Posts
How do you get it? What am I not getting? I do longtones, I transcribe, I do overtones, I listen, but I still have a horrible jazz sound. I've been focusing on it hard for the past 3 months really trying to make progress, and I feel like I've moved nowhere... Any tips at all?
What do you mean exactly with horrible jazz sound? Shrill, stuffy, out of tune?
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2014
Joined
·
2,355 Posts
my teacher had me learning solo's from Mobley, Rollins, Trane etc by heart, not just the notes, I copied the phrasing, articulation, timing and all the details. Helped quite a bit. In the end the sound you come up with ( the choices you make in the notes as well as the forementioned aspects) is yours. It is your own jazz sound. If it's in tune and in time you're okay.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
1,210 Posts
What do you mean exactly with horrible jazz sound? Shrill, stuffy, out of tune?
yup, more detail would be nice.

i am not playing a lot of jazz, but what about your tonguing? pay attention to it not being too hard. record yourself!!! tongue very softly when playing swing-8ths, the tongue barely interrupting the airstream.

anyhow, this is tapping in the dark until you provide more info.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
363 Posts
I would consider a "jazz sound" as a sound that's unique to YOU, as jazz music is all about self expression and all of the great sax players had a sound that was distinctive and instantly recognizable. Any more specific description of a great jazz sound would be too limiting, as you can take Stan Getz, who had a great jazz sound, next to Bob Berg, who also had great jazz sound, just extremely different from Stan's.

Just keep listening and practicing as best you can. You'll find that your sound won't change dramatically overnight, but when you look back a year later you'll be very pleasantly surprised at the growth.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,943 Posts
I just did an interview w/Thelonious Monk Saxophone Competition winner Jon Irabagon (http://www.bestsaxophonewebsiteever.com/jon-irabagon - link will not work on tomorrow morning at 7am PST) and he said that the way he cultivated his tone was to take a recording of one of his saxophone heros and isolate a brief part of the recording where his idol played with the sound that epitomized what Jon loved best about that player. Jon then practiced playing that same passage over and over again, trying to imitate that sound exactly.
Great interview & great advice! Thanks! I'm gonna start trawling this website regularly :)
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2013
Joined
·
631 Posts
I believe that the Jazz sound is referring to uses of musical phrases that are sounding like jazz from albums you have heard. it takes time to internalize the language and I always believe in playing together in groups and going for jam sessions (with a positive attitude).
I have been working on my stuff for over 28 years and I am still working on them, however, enjoying the journey as much as possible.
you may wish to heed Pete's advice and start to record your playing or practice so that we are able to advice with greater "accuracy".
don't give up. gonna turn the corner soon!
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
3,000 Posts
However, at your stage in the game, I'd focus on long tones, overtones, and imagining that you're playing center-stage at Carnegie Hall - even when you playing the most mundane exercises.
Yes, this is the key . . . at any stage of the game. Always listen to your tone, no matter what you're doing, and always work on shaping your tone to something that is pleasing to you. That's how it becomes your own voice, personal to you. And when you feel that way, you won't care what anyone else thinks about your tone. But chances are, everyone else will like it, too. Call it a "jazz" tone, or a "good" tone, but most importantly, call it your own ("my") tone.
 

·
SOTW Columnist, Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
23,677 Posts
Archsax, reading your OP, I'm not clear on whether you mean a "Jazz sound" or a "Jazz tone."

If you're speaking of tone quality, then "jazz" tone is pretty meaningless, as every jazz sax player has a pretty unique tone; a good tone in most cases, but it can vary greatly.

Jazz sound, to me, means the whole package, including articulation, phrasing, note choice, rhythm, etc.

You may need to clarify what you mean to get a more direct answer. But in any case both these concepts (tone and overall sound) take years to master, and at least a few years of steady practice to reach at least a competent level. So keep at it and have patience (easier said than done).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
363 Posts
Great interview & great advice! Thanks! I'm gonna start trawling this website regularly :)
Thanks for the kind words! I didn't mean to pimp my site so blatantly, but in this particular case I think that Jon had some great things to say directly related to the question at hand, so I'm glad that you got something out of it. :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
347 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Sorry, I had forgotten about my thread! Thanks for all the help so far; alot of it I already try my best at!

@pneumasax:
My legit sound is pretty good. I get compliments on it alot at honor bands to the point that it bothers me, because I don't hear it as being "amazing." It still needs work like any other player's.

@ismail:
I just don't like it... It feels thin instead of punchy and thick. It sounds like I'm a bad classical player, essentially.

@dorono:
Read, through, good stuff, and even better advice! As for overtones, I just get lost in what I need to do. I can play every tone from fundamental to the stratospheric with good accuracy, with the exception of the 4th (Bb3). What do I need to do here? I've tried exercises like mimicking the trumpets' lip slur exercises in my high school band and playing simple songs, any other tips?

@clowmack:
Every time I record myself I get extremely frustrated, because it always sounds so terrible. I'd like to blame it on my Flip camera, but it gets pretty decent sound quality. I suppose it's a "sufficient" tone, but it doesn't even begin to touch my idols like Cannonball or McLean. My teacher tells me about my articulations holding me back, but I don't always hear what I'm doing wrong when I improv.

@pete:
I could try sound clips, but I'm a bit embarassed... I'll get them up soon.

Thanks to everyone again for their help! I'm off to practice with some new ways of thinking :)
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
1,210 Posts
uhm. sounds like you are quite accomplished. given that, I'd say that only a sound sample of yours can help with getting help, unless you manage to describe _what exactly_ bothers you. then again, if you knew exactly what you didn't like about your sound it would be easier for you to change it... there is a lot of things to consider, and your phrasing, ideas, choice of notes, amount of air used, etc. etc. ...all are interrelated and influence the way you perceive your sound. that's why i think we could address all those innumerable factors ad nauseam but we might still miss the point until we hear your playing.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,008 Posts
Honestly, Im not sure there is a "jazz" sound, as far as tone goes. The jazz sound comes from phrasing, articulation and basically playing lines like a jazzer would.
can't really agree with that, with just one note you can see what kind of tone is that..maybe i've missed understood he was talking about the tone.
 
1 - 20 of 30 Posts
Top