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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey all, so after taking a year long hiatus, I'm back to the shed again. I've mostly kept my technique up by practicing EWI and my ears are still good (if not better) from taking up production and mix work. But to no surprise, my endurance is shot. So I'm back to basic breathing exercises and long tones, but I'd like to add a transcription in to the mix to help progress a bit quicker and help my tone/intonation out. Does anyone have any favourite alto/tenor solos or players when it comes to just focusing on tone?
 

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Depends on what kind of tone you want. Just pick your favorite player and transcribe their ballads. For me, playing ballads replaces long tones and is much more productive and satisfying.

One of my favorite artist to transcribe is Hank Mobley. Simple, logical, beautiful, melodic solos with great tone, phrasing and swing. Check out "Remember" to start with. It's not a ballad, but it's not terribly fast either. Everything on "Soul Station" is a masterclass in jazz saxophone.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Depends on what kind of tone you want. Just pick your favorite player and transcribe their ballads. For me, playing ballads replaces long tones and is much more productive and satisfying.

One of my favorite artist to transcribe is Hank Mobley. Simple, logical, beautiful, melodic solos with great tone, phrasing and swing. Check out "Remember" to start with. It's not a ballad, but it's not terribly fast either. Everything on "Soul Station" is a masterclass in jazz saxophone.
Ahh Hank Mobley, how could I forget him. Nice one, thanks!
 

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Ahh Hank Mobley, how could I forget him. Nice one, thanks!
Here's a little snippet I posted a while back from what I still "remember" from that solo.

Hank has a very clean, dark sound, gorgeous subtone, and swings hard, all of which I try to emulate when I play his stuff.

 

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Tenor tone: Stanley Turrentine (esp ‘60s), Gene Ammons, Rich Perry (esp trios).
 

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I play along to/steal lines from Dexter Gordon quite a bit. He has a really cool sense of rhythm and he usually builds his solos up from simple ideas, so the first few choruses are sometimes mellow enough that I can hang (with great effort). He can repeat the same note for a bar and express more by how he swings it than I've ever said in whole solo.

He also just does stuff that is so damn brazen I could never think of it, nor would I have the swagger to pull it off in my own playing. Trying to play a "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" quote and make it sound cool is a real exercise in feel.

But it's really fun to explore and get into the simplest stuff that he does and try to blow "fat" and get that giant, laid back sound that he had. I don't actually sound like him, but it's fun to try.

That guy was the coolest, man. The best part of playing along with him is just getting to listen to him play and trying to really ride that energy. It's such a vibe.
 

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Lots of great suggestions. I'll second Rich Perry—I'd not come across him until our bandleader had us play Bus to Belmopan (Steve Allee Trio) a few years back; Rich's solos on that are really interesting, with overtones/split tones and other things added to the mix. That led me to check out his solo work; great stuff.

We could ask what tone you're going for—so many different possibilities. I love Benny Golson (say, on Along Came Betty). Or for a totally different tone, Harold Land on Ode to Angela. Or Joe Henderson on Black Narcissus. Or Stan Getz, Brecker, Chris Potter…or on alto Desmond, Pepper, Cannnonball. Such a range to choose from.
 

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Good question! Saxophones are nearly like human voices in the range of sounds from player to player. Some of my favorites...

Mark Turner (particularly late '90s, early '00s)
Wayne Shorter (particularly 1965-70)
Kenny Garrett
John Coltrane (particularly early '60s)

...One guy who, for me, has maybe the best sound in the world on both alto and tenor is Keith Anderson, a phenomenal player in Dallas. He's done records and tours with Roy Hargrove, Marcus Miller, Bobby Sparks, Prince, and many more, but he's still not nearly well-enough-known in the saxophone world, IMO. His alto and tenor sound are exactly what I like to hear, every time. His alto sound on this track, for example...

 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I play along to/steal lines from Dexter Gordon quite a bit. He has a really cool sense of rhythm and he usually builds his solos up from simple ideas, so the first few choruses are sometimes mellow enough that I can hang (with great effort). He can repeat the same note for a bar and express more by how he swings it than I've ever said in whole solo.

He also just does stuff that is so damn brazen I could never think of it, nor would I have the swagger to pull it off in my own playing. Trying to play a "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" quote and make it sound cool is a real exercise in feel.

But it's really fun to explore and get into the simplest stuff that he does and try to blow "fat" and get that giant, laid back sound that he had. I don't actually sound like him, but it's fun to try.

That guy was the coolest, man. The best part of playing along with him is just getting to listen to him play and trying to really ride that energy. It's such a vibe.
Totally went through a huge Dex phase at one point. The guy could play a note and silence a room. May favourite album (besides Go) is actually the compilation album Ballads. Best recording of Body and Soul I've ever heard with extra points for riffing on the Trane changes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Good question! Saxophones are nearly like human voices in the range of sounds from player to player. Some of my favorites...

Mark Turner (particularly late '90s, early '00s)
Wayne Shorter (particularly 1965-70)
Kenny Garrett
John Coltrane (particularly early '60s)

...One guy who, for me, has maybe the best sound in the world on both alto and tenor is Keith Anderson, a phenomenal player in Dallas. He's done records and tours with Roy Hargrove, Marcus Miller, Bobby Sparks, Prince, and many more, but he's still not nearly well-enough-known in the saxophone world, IMO. His alto and tenor sound are exactly what I like to hear, every time. His alto sound on this track, for example...

Love Keith, I've been able to catch him a few times when I was living in Dallas. Also cheers, just realized you're a fellow UNT alum. Caught you with Snarky a few times, killer playing yourself! (y)
 

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I love Cannonball, Desmond, and Bird on alto. Tenor, Gene Ammons, Getz, and Trane. But I think the more important question to ask is, who do you like? Find a player's tone that speaks to you and follow that and keep in mind that players sound different on different albums depending upon where they were in their career, their equipment at the time, their approach, the recording situation etc
 
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