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The Devil's Horn by Michael Segell

I just finished reading this book and I have some mixed feelings. But before I throw them out there, I was wondering what everyone else thought. I had heard that there was some controversy and strong opinions about this book. Those of you that have read it, what is your take?
 

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bronzZoot said:
The Devil's Horn by Michael Segell

I just finished reading this book and I have some mixed feelings. But before I throw them out there, I was wondering what everyone else thought. I had heard that there was some controversy and strong opinions about this book. Those of you that have read it, what is your take?
I really want to read it but I haven't yet so I can't comment. For those that don't know its a book that covers the history of the Saxophone. From Nazi banning it because its sound was profane etc etc.
 

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I read it and really enjoyed it. I got a lot of info on Sax-related stuff that I had no idea about before. I didn't agree with everything, but enjoyed it immensely.
What did you take issue with?
 

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It was a nice read and I learned a lot from it. What are your issues with the book?
 

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Probaby the best researched history of the sax to date--but accessible and an excellent read, and written in a jazzy, witty style to boot. I especially enjoyed the section in which he discusses the instrument's legendary "parabolic bore", and provides a lot of documentation to prove that it's not just a theory--but fact.
 

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Excellent read. Loved the section w/ Ralph Morgan.

Very well written & would be enjoyed by any serious saxophone lover...amateur or pro.
 

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I knew a lot of the history etc. of our favourite instrument but this was a very good read, a real page turner, like a good Michael Crichton novel, which is the nearest analogy I can think of.

I liked that Segell interspersed the chapters with his own learning of the sax but he seemed to get caught up in the vintage sax biz very early on in his training!

I loved the book, I have thought about getting in touch with Segell, to show my appreciation for his non-stuffy book!
 

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Interesting, but unsatisfying. The basic theme is forced and not at all well sustained; in fact, the approach is really quite inconsistent. Add this to the inelegant writing and it is not the best of reads.

Am I glad I read it? Well, there was some worthwhile material, but a book of one third the length of this would have covered it.

BTW, there was a thread about this book about eighteen months ago; many more opinions can be found there. To be fair, I think most people enjoyed it to some extent.
 

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I generally enjoyed it, but as a classical saxophonist I found the book to be woefully biased in the classical sections and very poorly researched. If he would have done is job, the book could have been an important addition to the literature about the saxophone. Instead it will end up being an entertaining, though unimportant side note.
 

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Kevin said:
I generally enjoyed it, but as a classical saxophonist I found the book to be woefully biased in the classical sections and very poorly researched. If he would have done is job, the book could have been an important addition to the literature about the saxophone. Instead it will end up being an entertaining, though unimportant side note.
No, it's still an important addition to the literature. Just not great on the classical side of things.
 

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To all you "literary critics" on here -- I'd just like to see you publish a better book on the subject. It's easier said than done. :D
 

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I'm not a scholar of saxophone history, but I do know something about writing. Segell can write and writes very well about falling in love with our favorite instrument.

If you are enough of a scholar to read Devil's Horn and not learn something, I doff my hat to you. Whatever shortcomings the book may have, it is a great read.
 

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saintsday said:
I'm not a scholar of saxophone history, but I do know something about writing. Segell can write and writes very well about falling in love with our favorite instrument.

If you are enough of a scholar to read Devil's Horn and not learn something, I doff my hat to you. Whatever shortcomings the book may have, it is a great read.
Unfortunately the classical section of the book is riddled with factual inaccuracies and sensationlized portrayals. It may be a great read, but not a useful learning experience.

Paul Cohen
 

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Paul Cohen said:
Unfortunately the classical section of the book is riddled with factual inaccuracies and sensationlized portrayals. It may be a great read, but not a useful learning experience.

Paul Cohen
You, sir, are one of the people to whom I doff my hat. Thank you for your contributions.
 

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Grumps said:
Just for reference, what are some of these inaccuracies?
It has been a long time since I read the book; an unsettling experience at best. (I was sent an advance copy.) I don't need to relive the experience and may not even have the book anymore. At the time I used the book in my saxophone class on a lecture of the problems with saxophone scholarship and history. It was a two class lecture.

Paul Cohen
 

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Thanks for the scholarly analysis...meanwhile, Segell's laughing all the way to the bank.... ;) Say, did you hear it's now available in paperback? I think I'm going to go pick up my "beach copy" on amazon....
 
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