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I’ve been starting to play sax with some guitarists, and one group to start this week, but these are just friendly jams.

After being asked to suggest some songs, I did. Some of my suggestions were songs that didn’t have sax parts on the original or best known recordings. I was met with resistance on these, for that reason.

It seems as if they are only interested in trying to recreate someone else’s sound and/or arrangements.

I get that for many cover bands, they want to sound just like the record. But for just jamming with friends at home? Why do folks feel limited to only sounding like the original? I can understand the value of learning how a song is done by a great artist, as many art forms are best learned first through imitation and re-creation of what came before. But I just don’t get why some folk feel there is a need to always be so limited, especially in a setting which is just supposed to be for fun.

I mean, what’s so wrong about creating a sax parts for songs you want to play, regardless of the absence of sax in the originals? Why do many folks bristle at this?

And by the way, please recommend some good Elvis Costello tunes with sax parts . . . .
 

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My View attachment 217352 . Having fun at a jam session is one thing. Some cool things can happen "by accident". You have to be careful adding instruments where they weren't intended. It can have the effect of putting ketchup on ice cream.
 

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My View attachment 217352 . Having fun at a jam session is one thing. Some cool things can happen "by accident". You have to be careful adding instruments where they weren't intended.
Yeah, like what’s up with playing classical music on a saxophone? :twisted:

And what the heck was Eric Clapton thinking when he picked up an acoustic guitar? “Layla” was meant to be played loud and crunchy.

Don’t get me started on orchestras playing marching music or pop tunes...

I’m holding a lot of resentment.
 

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Yeah, like what’s up with playing classical music on a saxophone? :twisted:

And what the heck was Eric Clapton thinking when he picked up an acoustic guitar? “Layla” was meant to be played loud and crunchy.

Don’t get me started on orchestras playing marching music or pop tunes...

I’m holding a lot of resentment.
Everyone has their likes and dislikes. Again, It can have the effect of putting ketchup on ice cream or we can all bow to your sarcastic opinions.
 

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In my experience there are people who just naturally insist on performing a song exactly the way the recording has it and there are people who treat a recording as source material for something that might be quite different. This runs all the way from a few folks sitting around in the living room with beers and guitars, clear through the whole world of bands.

I have been told when singing a song in the living room with guitars and beers, that a particular melody ought to go up there rather than down the way I sang it, because so and so sang that exact melodic pattern (never mind that so and so learned that traditional song by ear himself and that I have heard numerous different ways for that phrase to go). I have also played in rock and roll cover bands that took pride in NOT duplicating the record, because why would someone come out to hear us if they could just play the record?

Think about it. If you are talking about popular songs, none of them started out with sax parts, because pretty much all of them started out with someone playing the piano or guitar and singing to figure out the song. So the true Ur-version of almost all popular songs would be one singer, one piano or guitar. By the time it gets to the recording studio there have been thousands of changes for a host of reasons.

Now, twenty or fifty years later, you want to add a sax part? Go for it. Some tunes with some instrumentations, just WILL NOT sound good with a sax part. So try it and if it doesn't sound good, don't do it again. Some tunes that you haven't heard a recording with a sax, will sound great. Try it and if it sounds good, keep doing it.

I am always amazed at the way people will cling rigidly to one recording made on two or three days (at most) decades ago, as the one true and only way you can perform a song. To do so, in my opinion, is a gross misunderstand of how most actual artists actually work.

Don't forget that one of the crustiest musicians ever, Bill Monroe, told Elvis he LOVED the way Elvis completely changed round his "Blue Moon of Kentucky". Elvis was really worried Monroe would just chew him out, but it went the other way.
 

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Well...its a jam session.

A lot of great dishes were created by folks who are willing to put ketchup on ice cream.

The trick is to make it work and to know when it does not.

Im with G.
They clearly lack vision...or maybe they just dont know how to share the stage.
 

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And what the heck was Eric Clapton thinking when he picked up an acoustic guitar?
Vice versa with Dylan.

There will always be narrow minded people I suspect. :(
 

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find a new group. Sax can go with anything/everything when approached tastefully (whatever that means). I sit in with lots of non-jazz bands and jam sessions and as long as you are not overplaying I find that it usually works out pretty well. And worrying about how the tune was "intended" to be played is silly, IMHO. Should have had a sax in it from the beginning :)
 

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Yep, sure is narrow-minded to point out that not everything works out well musically all the time. Everyone gets a trophy today, right?
 

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I played with a group who have limited repertoire but is surprisingly open to saxing-up their play list. The lead guitarist wont even mind me taking up some of his lead parts.
If they are too rigid about it, time to look for another band. Lifes too short not to have fun, and its just friendly jams.
 

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Yes, indeed. I have played with a bass player who can only learn songs by playing the recording over and over and copying it / figuring it out. Many times through each song.

So the original / radio play version is the only possible version that can be played, AND the exact song length is also required.

Me: Hey, how about we record US at rehearsal, without the bass, and we can play it any way we want. Then you learn THAT version.

Him: NO. I can't do that.

I do a version of the Spiderman theme in 7/4 time. Taught it to the keyboard player. You should have seen that bass player when we played through it.

Some folks are either intimidated or awestruck by "actual musicians', and dare not be creative themselves. Or they just can't.

A continuing battle with many pop and rock players, although some are great. Blues and jazz types seem to be more flexible.
 

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Yep, sure is narrow-minded to point out that not everything works out well musically all the time. Everyone gets a trophy today, right?

You sure sound like you are waving the banner for narrowmindedness. Good for you.
You are the only one looking for a trophy too. You get all of them today!
 

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You sure sound like you are waving the banner for narrowmindedness. Good for you.
You are the only one looking for a trophy too. You get all of them today!
Nice insult. I can do that too. You really have to a special kind of stupid to think that all combinations of instrumentation are appropriate all the time. That was my one and only point. Your turn.
 

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I’ve been starting to play sax with some guitarists, and one group to start this week, but these are just friendly jams.

It seems as if they are only interested in trying to recreate someone else’s sound and/or arrangements.

I get that for many cover bands, they want to sound just like the record. I mean, what’s so wrong about creating a sax parts for songs you want to play, regardless of the absence of sax in the originals? Why do many folks bristle at this?

And by the way, please recommend some good Elvis Costello tunes with sax parts . . . .
Just point them to the Clapton / Crow Sanborn version of Little Wing. But, oh sorry I forgot, the original by SRV did not have any sax part in it - How many frigging times I have heard that, even ignoring the fact that it is a Hendrix song.

And then maybe get into Elton John and show them what Joe Cocker - Deric Dyer turned it into https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wDEQumKlwZ0 (actually my favorite rock sax rendition, very simple but dead on)
 

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When I was a kid, working in a grocery store, they used to play Muzak. Remember that? I recall the day a Jimi Hendrix tune done in 1980 Muzak fashion came over the speakers. Didn't work. But hey, let's give it a trophy anyway!!! yaaaaaaaaaaaayyyyy!!!!

View attachment 217356

Now, I have heard songs on the radio over the years that would have benefited from a good horn section. It simply depends on a case by case basis.
 

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I play in two different cover bands. One is similar to what you describe- "play the Brown Sugar solo just like Bobby Keys did on the record". (Which is what Mick Jagger told him to do when they played it live.) As other have pointed out sometimes just letting loose in a jam is how the magic happens, just as when Brown Sugar was first recorded, and of course on "Can't You Hear Me Knocking'" as examples. The other band has me playing in all sort of songs that never had any sax in them to in their original form- Tennessee Whiskey, Movin' On Up, Roadhouse Blues, etc.. Just a different mojo with each band. I sure enjoy the one that lets us do our own thing and be free to make mistakes and see if something cool happens without so much constraint, but I also learn and am getting some great experience with the excellent musicians in the the more "play it straight" band. The "play it straight band" also started asking me to do more and more on keys, and while initially resistant I have come to really enjoy it and it has helped my sense of theory very much. Both approaches are helping me develop my musicianship.
 

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When I was a kid, working in a grocery store, they used to play Muzak. Remember that? I recall the day a Jimi Hendrix tune done in 1980 Muzak fashion came over the speakers. Didn't work. But hey, let's give it a trophy anyway!!! yaaaaaaaaaaaayyyyy!!!!
Beauty is in the ear of the listener ... A few weeks ago we were jamming at an open mic / jam and all of a sudden it came to who had the craziest ideas for "standard" rock / blues songs. The keyboard player suggested we should do a reggae version of "Hey Joe" and we all switched to Jamaican accents. It was a blast and everybody started dancing. I thought it would be fun to do a flamenco version of Little Wing on a Spanish guitar ... same response and so on, we were rocking the house and there was not a single cover version played like the original. Not to mention the fun we had ...:whistle:
 

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Just point them to the Clapton / Crow Sanborn version of Little Wing. But, oh sorry I forgot, the original by SRV did not have any sax part in it - How many frigging times I have heard that, even ignoring the fact that it is a Hendrix song.

And then maybe get into Elton John and show them what Joe Cocker - Deric Dyer turned it into https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wDEQumKlwZ0 (actually my favorite rock sax rendition, very simple but dead on)
As far as Jimi Hendrix in general and "Little Wing" specifically, go directly to

Gil Evans Orchestra Plays the Music of Jimi Hendrix.

I agree that instrumentation is not, nor should it be, fixed. but I also agree that some songs/instrumentations WILL not sound good. I very seriously doubt whether tenor sax would be a quality addition to a traditional-instrumentation bluegrass group (banjo, buitar, upright bass, mandolin) or to an old-time group playing fiddle tunes.

So I go back to what I said earlier: the way you learn is to try stuff. If you try it with sax and it sounds like poo, don't do that any more. If it sounds great, do more of that.

Last I looked, no music of any genre was actually hauled down from Mt. Sinai by Moses with complete detailed arrangements chiseled into the stone tablets.
 
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