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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well I am new here so I hope this is the right place to post this.
I just had the pleasure to see the Kenny Garrett Quartet at Yoshi's Oakland, CA.
I was in the front row of tables with Kenny playing less than 10 feet in front of me.
I really enjoyed it and it was a concert that I believe I will remember for the rest of my life.

The concert brought a few questions to mind, which I would like your opinions.
Who in your opinion is the greatest living Alto Sax Jazz player? I guess I have to qualify that question. Who has the best chops right now? And who would it be if you could include an older player at the height of their musical ability. Living musicians only need apply.
 

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You just saw him.

Though Lee Konitz ain't bad either.

:)
 

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Why does music have to become like an athletic contest where there is one winner and everyone else loses? If the question were phrased differently such as, "Which living alto player do you enjoy listening to the most?" then I would be happy to answer the question.
 

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Why does music have to become like an athletic contest where there is one winner and everyone else loses? If the question were phrased differently such as, "Which living alto player do you enjoy listening to the most?" then I would be happy to answer the question.
Pansie. ;)
 

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Kenny Garrett
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Why does music have to become like an athletic contest where there is one winner and everyone else loses? If the question were phrased differently such as, "Which living alto player do you enjoy listening to the most?" then I would be happy to answer the question.
Fair enough.
Which living alto player do you enjoy listening to the most?
 

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Of the ones I've seen several times each and who are still alive I'd say
Lee Konitz
Lou Donaldson
Phil Woods
Gary Bartz
I've seen Kenny Garrett several times also and he is good but not in the league of those masters yet IMHO.
 

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Phil Woods, Andy Fusco, Uwe Steinmetz! equally good at their craft in their own way IMO.
 

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Charles McPherson, Dick Oatts, David Binney are three of my favorites - each of them a little different, can't pick just one. Chris Potter is also a treat to listen to on alto, on those occasions when he picks it up. Kenny Garrett is undoubtedly masterful as well, although I find I don't go back to his recordings over and over like I do with many other greats - he has a very distinct, aggressive sound (to my ears) which I seem to like in small doses.
 

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I *LOOOVE* Kenny Garrett! Triology BROKE my brain, and I've listened to it approximately one gazillion times, and expect to listen to it another gazillion...

However, regarding this thread: Dick Oatts is the Greatest Living Alto Sax Jazz Player. Standard Issue, Vol. 1: Buy it, then decide for yourself... Seriously.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks for all the great responses.
Definitely some people on your lists which I intend to check out.
Keep 'em coming.
 

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I don't love the term "Greatest", but some of my favorites are Lee Konitz, Phil Woods, Bob Mover,Charles McPherson and Kenny Garrett
 

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Not crazy about "greatest" either but please don't forget about Greg Osby. He really does it all. Tone, technique, creativity, compositions, great performer, great educator, and a great guy.
 

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I assume the OP means the person who plays alto exclusively. And sorry, excuse my ignorance but - who's Kenny Garrett? Never heard of the guy. Remember the phrase "Elvis Lives!" Bird lives.

Alive? Phil Woods, Paquito d'Rivera, Gary Foster.
 

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Ornette Coleman is the greatest living alto sax jazz player. It's really hard to dispute this, and it almost borders on fact. No other living alto saxman has received as many accolades or possesses his level of gravitas in jazz history--period. Donaldson and Konitz come close but not quite.

Plus many of the young lions mentioned in this thread would no doubt bow to this True Giant of their instrument in the jazz idiom, including Dick Oatts--who??? :twisted::bluewink:
 

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Why does music have to become like an athletic contest where there is one winner and everyone else loses? If the question were phrased differently such as, "Which living alto player do you enjoy listening to the most?" then I would be happy to answer the question.
+1 to this point. Music is not an athletic sport, but unfortunately, musicians are often competitive, just as are people from all walks of life nowadays. audiences also generally demand to know who's 'the best', as distinct from 'the rest'.

as to the question, I don' really enjoy listening to alto sax much, though I am developing a taste for it in the legit genre.

a bit shameful to say, but the alto player I listen to the most is probably Sanborn, but I guess many would say he's not a jazz player, and I wouldn't argue the point. but nowadays I'm not listening much to anything really. Kenny Garrett - great tone granted, and he has the consensus of many SOTWers that he is one of the best. But strangely, my one or two KG cds have not made me want to listen to them more than a couple of times. Rudresh Mahantappa (did I spell that correctly?), is also interesting in his melding of indian carnatic music with western jazz..

Yeah I liked Charlie Mariano and Paul Desmond, but I think they are no longer with us?
 

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I agree that it is a silly question but for a different reason. It is because, when Art Pepper died, they retired the expression "greatest alto player."
 

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Ornette Coleman is the greatest living alto sax jazz player. It's really hard to dispute this, and it almost borders on fact. No other living alto saxman has received as many accolades or possesses his level of gravitas in jazz history--period.
I want to disagree (respectfully!) here ... Ornette is one of the living jazz "greats" but I don't think it's primarily because of his alto playing, more because of his total musical philosophy. To me (and it's just my opinion) his work is so personal; I don't think of him as a musician with an astounding command of his instrument, the kind of guy whose solos get transcribed and quoted - more as a guy with something very special to say.
 
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