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Who has the best tone?

  • John Coltrane

    Votes: 8 6.4%
  • Sonny Rollins

    Votes: 10 8.0%
  • Stan Getz

    Votes: 28 22.4%
  • Dexter Gordon

    Votes: 30 24.0%
  • Lester Young

    Votes: 5 4.0%
  • Stanley Turrentine

    Votes: 16 12.8%
  • Michael Brecker

    Votes: 12 9.6%
  • Coleman Hawkins

    Votes: 2 1.6%
  • Joe Henderson

    Votes: 11 8.8%
  • Gato Barbieri

    Votes: 3 2.4%
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In a thread a couple of years ago, I stated that while I admired Coltane's tech skills, I did not care that much for his tone. Man did I get hammered! Yet Coltrane only got 6 votes for best tone. (I voted for Dex.) :scratch:
 

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In a thread a couple of years ago, I stated that while I admired Coltane's tech skills, I did not care that much for his tone. Man did I get hammered! Yet Coltrane only got 6 votes for best tone. (I voted for Dex.) :scratch:
I didn't vote on this one, and usually don't cast votes on these type of polls when they've come up.

I can love someone else's tone yet still not want that sound for myself .

Ever since I heard Coltrane on one of my Dad's LP's as a kid in the early 70's I thought he an incredible sound .

My Dad had 'Coltrane's Sound' on Atlantic records and 'Miles Davis plays Rogers and Hammerstein' which had Trane on there
also and I listened to those all the time so I never had any aversion to Trane at all since what .. 1972 ?!?!

Same with Charlie Parker or Dolphy .. to me they always sounded right but someone else prefers Phil Woods over either.

Just off the top of my head.. Booker Ervin's sound tends to grate on me, but I always knew he was a great player .
 

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As an alto player I'm offended the superior horn is left out, which leads to Stitt being left out since across horns he was the master to me. Plas Johnson as well...

I digress.

For tenor it's a close call for me between Joe Hen and Newk.
Yup, chopped liver.

Put me down for Kenny Garrett and Nobuya Sugawa.

I like John Coltrane on tenor to get people thinking about perceptions of "tone". He was projecting.
 

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Discussion Starter · #68 ·
The poll was a response to another thread in which the majority of players listed tone as the most important quality of sax playing.

The point is, there is no best tone. What I like best might not be what another player likes or any individual audience member thinks is best.

Expression and technique are what matters most to me, then tone. YMMV

Notes
 

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Discussion Starter · #69 ·
As an alto player I'm offended the superior horn is left out, <...>.
For me it's Paul Desmond - a tone as smooth as silk with zero honk.

But then there is the always bright Richie Cole and what about Earl Bostic or Louis Jordan
 

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+1.
Isn't that the great Plas Johnson on sax?
No, the great Lee Allen.

If I only could make my sax sound like Etta's voice...
Very good point - Lee was the master at solos that actually took the song and the singer into context, as opposed to, "here's my chance to do a solo" - it fit perfectly with the artiste and the song.
 

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Yes, Lee Allen was a master. He has that awesome growl in his tone
 

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Surprised Lester Young didn't score higher. At any rate it's so subjective. I am a huge Dexter Gordon fan but I wouldn't say his tone is necessarily superior to many other sax players I enjoy, just perhaps the one tone that speaks the most to me, if that makes sense. I love Lester Young and Ben Webster for their tone ( Ben Webster doing ballads...Is just...Lush) I like Trane, Joe Henderson, Booker Ervin and Getz too for their tone. One sax player I don't think gets much attention who I think has a lovely tone is Ike Quebec.
 

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Discussion Starter · #74 ·
<...snip...>One sax player I don't think gets much attention who I think has a lovely tone is Ike Quebec. <...snip...>
Ike Quebec IMO definitely deserves more recognition.
 

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Ike Quebec definitely! Fantastic tone, phrasing, melodic, soulful, drenched in the blues playing! And all those qualities come out even on relatively old recordings. I practically wore out that "Heavy Soul" album.

And yeah Reet you're right. Jimmy Forrest!

All these players being pointed out just goes to show there is no "best tone," just a wide variety of great tones. Check 'em all out...and enjoy.
 

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Gene Ammons.
 

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Gene Ammons.
Funny that you say that today. You know how much a Turrentine fan I am, but last night, as I faced a long, late trip home, I was going to cue up some '60s Turrentine in my car, saw "Gene Ammons" on the directory, and went for it. Yeah, Gene has some great tenor tone too.
 
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