Sax on the Web Forum banner
1 - 20 of 33 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
2 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been playing trumpet for a couple of months and want to know which sax (tenor or alto) i should use to pair up with? I played in a heavy-rock band for 10 years and now want to start playing funk as it's more my style. So it'll be vocals, guitar, bass, drums, keys and then a 2-piece (for now) horn section. Alto sounds closer to trumpet so i thought it would pair fairly easy but because tenor is a deeper sound the two would give a fuller sound. Does it depend on the style/feel of the music you're trying to create or is it a personal preference? Any advice would be great guys, cheers!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,526 Posts
Tenor - hands down!!!! If the instrumentation was trumpet, trombone, & saxophone I might recommend Alto.

Good luck with the new band! :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,529 Posts
I suggest you look first for a tenor sax player - a tenor sax is generally more versatile for funk/rock/pop. Also, someone who has the experience you are seeking probably plays the tenor as his main sax or at least splits his time equally between tenor and alto. (I'm an alto sax player, by the way). But an alto sax can also work if you find the right player with the right approach.
 

·
Forum Contributor 2010-2016
Joined
·
1,708 Posts
I agree - TENOR. As well as the particularly pleasant blending of voices there is a significant side benefit. You can read the trumpet player's charts and it produces one of the loveliest sounds in music, namely, trumpet and tenor playing in unison octaves.

I don't read so well myself but I have played with my best friend, a trumpet player, for years and years. I know what he's going to play and, because I've played trumpet myself, I can read his valves. I love the sound we make.
 

·
Registered
Selmer MarkVII Tenor
Joined
·
816 Posts
I used to plat Alto sax as a"second vocie trumpet" and I tried to have a " trumpet" sound...so I feel that as a second voice an Alto Sax will be a better partner for a trumpet.. my two cents
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2016
Joined
·
19,000 Posts
The classic combo is Tenor ~ Trumpet. They complement each other because they contrast each other just enough.

You have two things going on here. One is Brass + Reed...

...the second is register + register.

Brass + Reed is always great because you are combining a general 'softness' of the trumpet with the brighter edginess of the sax. But if you do that with horns in a sonically similar register...it gets a bit grating, IMHO....

If you go with two saxes as your horn section, even Alto-Tenor, that sounds a bit grating too, because there's no softness to cushion the reediness. If you have ever heard a no-reed horn section (one of my favorite vocalists, Jill Scott, interestingly, used to tour with a Trumpet-Trombone 2-horn section) the sound significantly loses something in edginess/articulation/crispness.....

The most typical THIRD horn in a 3-horn section would be the Alto....but Tenor is the more traditional pairing with Trumpet for a 2-horn section. Just sounds fatter and richer.....
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
26,254 Posts
Soprano sounds fantastic with trumpet....
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
5,336 Posts
For me the best two horn sound has got to be the trumpet and tenor. In tune octave melodic lines or even riffs and fills behind a melody give a small group more of a big band sound. In a band I used to play in the piano player and I wrote the 2 horn arrangements. The keyboard would sometimes fill in the notes between the trumpet and tenor octave playing in octaves in a George Shearing style and the sound was huge for a quintet with vocals.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2011
Joined
·
13,189 Posts
tenor
 

·
Über Geek, Forum Contributor 2010 Distinguished SO
Joined
·
3,841 Posts
Tenor, but it never hurts to get a player who can double. That gives you access to the other voices...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,256 Posts
...the problem with trumpet and alto

trumpet is in Bb and alto is in Eb

when you harmonize or play in unison, some notes just dont lie well together in the overtone series...thats because youre playing on different overtone series!!!

so not only ,when playing trumpet and alto, does the musical/phrasing concept need to gel,but the intonation has to click as well....it's one of the hardest pairings
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,015 Posts
I dunno about all the votes for Tenor + trumpet. Nat and Cannonball Adderley had a great combination. Depending upon how the parts are voiced, they can sound like two trumpets or two altos.

The same holds true for Tenor + trombone. Depending upon the voicing... ditto... e.g.,Wilton Felder + Wayne Henderson.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,256 Posts
....cannonball was a monster!!!! with a BIG FAT sound

ill take 2 cannonballs with my trumpet over tenor any day!!
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2016
Joined
·
19,000 Posts
I dunno about all the votes for Tenor + trumpet. Nat and Cannonball Adderley had a great combination. Depending upon how the parts are voiced, they can sound like two trumpets or two altos.

The same holds true for Tenor + trombone. Depending upon the voicing... ditto... e.g.,Wilton Felder + Wayne Henderson.
Sure...and you can say that Parker and Diz were a classic combo, etc. etc. And heck, Pepper Adams & Thad Jones chose to use a Flugel on their quintet recordings, as opposed to Trumpet. I bet someone very talented can properly arrange a Marching Bass Trumpet with a Sopranino and make it work, too. Tons of combos and tons of textures are available.

But this isn't about all of the awesome Alto players who have played with a Trumpet player thru Jazz history...
...because you forgot to take into account the context which the OP mentions.

This is a Funk horn section of only 2 horns. Playing mostly riffs, counter-melodies, fills and punchy backup lines which really need to SOCK.

This isn't a frontline playing 'Bop/Straight-Ahead (although IMHO, I still prefer the FATness of Tenor-Trumpet even in that instance).

For a Funk horn section, you gotta get some bottom in there, some lower-register oomph. That calls for Tenor. An Alto just won't give that combo enough cojones....this is why the suggestion has overwhelmingly been Tenor thus far. It's just the tried & true combo.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
2,077 Posts
Brass + Reed is always great because you are combining a general 'softness' of the trumpet with the brighter edginess of the sax.

Huh?
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
2,077 Posts
...the problem with trumpet and alto

trumpet is in Bb and alto is in Eb

when you harmonize or play in unison, some notes just dont lie well together in the overtone series...thats because youre playing on different overtone series!!!

so not only ,when playing trumpet and alto, does the musical/phrasing concept need to gel,but the intonation has to click as well....it's one of the hardest pairings
Can you expound on that?
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2016
Joined
·
19,000 Posts
Brass + Reed is always great because you are combining a general 'softness' of the trumpet with the brighter edginess of the sax.

Huh?
Hmmm.....You are the first one to take issue with that...what's the problem, precisely ???? Do you not feel that the sound and 'edge' and articulation of brass is somewhat softer than brasswinds ???? Do you not agree that 2 saxes (as opposed to sax-trumpet) produces a harsher sound ?

...because I think most folks would tend to agree with that.....and I can point to the fact that the Trumpet-Sax combo has been overwhelmingly more prevalent in Jazz and Pop (and Funk and Latin and....) than double saxes are....and for a good reason....
 
1 - 20 of 33 Posts
Top