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· Distinguished SOTW Member
6,817 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey folks,

this actually kept me up last night, so I hope it's an interesting topic and not just some strange projection of my own.

If you've been following the recent thread--started by Master.America--on the "mouthpiece trick," you may be wondering, like I am, just how deep the animosity between the legit and the jazz schools on key issues like intonation, tone production, etc. really is.

I have no training in either school, although I have a sense that there's a kind of historic division between jazz and classical. I do, however, have a good ear for the kind of spleen major "academic" rifts tend to produce. And, when I see (sorry fellas, no offense intended at all) John and Grumps go at it over this issue, I'm pretty sure I recognize something from my own field.

So how deep is it? What are the key issues? Who are the names to conjure with? What are the fighting words? It would seem that "proper" tone production technique is a key battlefield, but what does it mean to experts and other people "in the know" when, for example, somebody says Dave Liebman, or Santy Runyon, or, indeed, when an innocent naif mentions Rascher?


ps. If I'm way off base, feel free to kick my **s: I'm used to it;)

· Banned
5,297 Posts
There are some gifted players who are great performers and teachers in both styles of playing. One of these is Dr. Ray Smith who teaches at BYU. He studied classical saxophone with Eugene Rousseau, but is also a tremendous jazz player.

Give a listen to track 2 in this link:

This is also Ray at this link:

Most of my ideas about mouthpiece pitch and concepts of sound, I learned from Dr. Smith in lessons and by listening to him perform. Both jazz and classical playing have different attributes that can be learned and taught. One is not right and the other wrong, they are simply different approaches to produce an entirely different concept of sound. I think the animosity arises when a player in one style has no experience or understanding of the other.


· Premium Member
3,319 Posts
At the risk of double-posting, I did place a post on the referenced thread, and here it is. As for animosity, since I and many of my colleagues teach both classical saxophone studio and jazz in ensemble, combo, and improv class settings, we would have to engage in some pretty serious self-loathing for that to be the case. Quite the contrary, I embrace both genres whole-heartedly, and am very interested in the differences, both obvious and subtle, in tonal production, articulation, etc., between the two. I work to prepare my students for success in all areas, and I've found that to be true of most of my colleagues. It's all about flexibility--both conceptual and instrumental.

· Future Music Educator
1,088 Posts
I agree with DSP...even though at the moment I'm a more classically oriented sax player, I would expect it to be my job and duty as a future music/saxophone educator to be able to either teach both genres fluently to the level of student that I am able to teach, or to at that point refer a student to someone who is more qualified than I to teach them the material they are looking for. My professor was one of Hemke's students, the bias is going to be more towards a classical base. However, in many of our master-classes to date in the studio, we have sight read and sight transposed a lot of jazz stuff. The point? It's critical to be familiar with both areas of saxophone pedagogy, to have an appreciation for both and as a future educator to be able to teach both. There shouldn't be a bias towards one or the other when teaching a student saxophone (unless the student wants a bias, and even then who knows).

· Registered
90 Posts
jazz and legit share much of the same teachings,regarding basics,liebs studied with allard,a classical teacher, and so did many other sax players in the north east.the classical teachers have a more focused agenda,certain tone,certain interpretation,plain certain,jazz teachers,i can say ie. lee konitz would enjoy what the student developed on his own,within a wide boundary,jazz builds in a certain freedom that sets up a school of its own,i love the sound classical sax players of course i can learn from this.i love the sound of other studied players,whatever bag,i think the divide,classical jazz is a lot less then it was in the 50s,jazz and classical are intersecting in a lot of the music being played in europe under the jazz title.improvisation is nothing new to classical music.
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