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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been trying to imitate Sonny Rollins tone on "You don't know what love is" (Saxophone Colassus). I wonder if anyone can suggest how to achieving that sound. His tone there has, to my ear, is strongly resonant and has a strong core, very vibrant. Take a listen. Suggestions? By the way a transcription is available in "Sonny Rollins: the Jazz Masters series" by Charley Gerad and published by Amsco Publications.
 

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What kind of equipment are you using? Obviously this is only the begining of the solution, but if you are using a Dukoff or something, some changes could be made that could help you out...
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I'm pretty sure the answer is not one of equipment, since I've heard Chris Potter get a similar sound. Something to do with blowing across the reed with a lot of air, perhaps, at least as I experiment. Don't really know.
 

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TJ Allen said:
I'm pretty sure the answer is not one of equipment, since I've heard Chris Potter get a similar sound. Something to do with blowing across the reed with a lot of air, perhaps, at least as I experiment. Don't really know.
Yea, air is probably one of the biggest factors.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
In another post I just read, LazySaxman describes Rollins' opening phrases in this tune as "metallic". The core sound is very hard, centered. Seems very Selmerish to me, but can be achieved on any horn, I imagine. Thoughts on how to do this?
 

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TJ Allen said:
In another post I just read, LazySaxman describes Rollins' opening phrases in this tune as "metallic". The core sound is very hard, centered. Seems very Selmerish to me, but can be achieved on any horn, I imagine. Thoughts on how to do this?
1. Use an Otto Link or HR Berg in at least a moderately open tip with medium-soft reeds (2.5-3).

2. Move tons of air.

3. Take in lots of mouthpiece.

4. Practice for several hours, every day for years and years.

I'm working on steps 2-4.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Well said. Rollins' sound is hard like Dexter's, but has more "higher harmonics". Do you agree? Dexter playing a Mark VI sounds a bit more like Rollins, than say Dexter on "I'm a fool to want you." (Billy Holiday sang both songs on her heartbreaking Lady in Satin, but I guess everyone knows this.)
 

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TJ Allen said:
I've been trying to imitate Sonny Rollins tone on "You don't know what love is" (Saxophone Colassus). I wonder if anyone can suggest how to achieving that sound. His tone there has, to my ear, is strongly resonant and has a strong core, very vibrant. Take a listen. Suggestions? By the way a transcription is available in "Sonny Rollins: the Jazz Masters series" by Charley Gerad and published by Amsco Publications.
No offense, but, don't waste your time trying to imitate Sonny Rollins; you should live so long. Woodshed working on your own thing. If you want to sound like Rollins, put one of his CDs on and pantomime. It's not so much equipment as it is your being/self.
 

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jazzbluescat said:
No offense, but, don't waste your time trying to imitate Sonny Rollins; you should live so long. Woodshed working on your own thing. If you want to sound like Rollins, put one of his CDs on and pantomime. It's not so much equipment as it is your being/self.
Agreed. How many imitation Sinatra singers are in the world? No offense, but even if you could sound exactly like Rollins, your phrasing likely wouldn't be, nor your artistic sensability. I would even hazard a guess that when people sit down to listen to you they want to hear you. If they wanted to go hear Rollins they could put on his CD.

Understand what he's doing by copying him or whatever, but don't obsess over it. Be you.
 

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"Imitate. Assimilate. Innovate"

Clark Terry


:D
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Even great writers have learned their craft by the practice of imitation. It is not an end in itself, but a means of finding one's own voice (writers also seek an inner voice). I also learn by studying the text (transcription), for technical reasons (to see how something works). I see imitation as an integral part of learning and improving. But of course it's only part of learning, not the whole of it.
 

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I know this post is old . I am only responding to it because I was searching for the opening pick up notes on Sonny Rollins' - You Don't Know What Love Is from Saxophone Colossus . In order to sound like Sonny Rollins , or anyone else for that matter , One Must Ask And Find Out "IF" The Person We Are Trying To Imitate Is Actually Trying To Imitate Someone Else ? How do you know that Sonny Rollins wasn't patterning "HIS" sound after someone elses' ? We must ask the artist who influence them and who's style did they emulate/imitate . That is the mystery of Chess Boxing !
 

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Sonny is a big dude and the sound matches. I've always heard his sound as someone who uses a tip on the larger side and a reed on the softer side. A lot of air and play loose.
 

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i'd hate to think that it was easy to replicate a master genius at the top of his craft.
 

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I've been trying to imitate Sonny Rollins tone on "You don't know what love is" (Saxophone Colassus). I wonder if anyone can suggest how to achieving that sound. His tone there has, to my ear, is strongly resonant and has a strong core, very vibrant. Take a listen. Suggestions? By the way a transcription is available in "Sonny Rollins: the Jazz Masters series" by Charley Gerad and published by Amsco Publications.
The best way to do it is to get rid of said transcription and then transcribe it by ear. Then, play along with the recording, play along with the recording, play along with the recording ....
 

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The best way to do it is to get rid of said transcription and then transcribe it by ear. Then, play along with the recording, play along with the recording, play along with the recording ....
FWIW, you are responding to a post from 2007.
 
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