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Today I was listening to Christian McBride's Live at Tonic. I found this little gem deep in on old box. I forgot I had this CD. I haven't listened to it in 5 years. The sax player on the album is Ron Blake. I really like how he plays on this album. I don't have any other recordings of him.

While I was listening to it today a funny thing happened that has never really happened to me before. What I heard tone wise felt really close to how I sound now. I always have a sound in my head that I'm striving for and I use various players for direction. Blake's tone sounded really close to some live recordings of a recent gig I did.

Has that happened to anyone else. I know we all have various brand name players we would love to sound like but has anyone unintentionally sounded like a different brand name player? Granted the guys in my mind are to to far off of what Blake sounds like it still trips me out.
 

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I know it is probably against some kind of rule, but I never really TRY to sound like anyone in particular. I often don't listen to saxophone players for long stretches, but when I play a tune (practicing or with a group), I do try to channel some of that player. Sometimes it is a sound thing, sometimes a playing style thing, and sometimes a bit of both...Of course my technical skills have a ceiling, but you know what I mean.

Funny story:

I have been playing for about seven years. I've taken lessons sporadically (once after about a year, then after about four years, then just this spring) to give me a push in the right direction and for fresh ideas. Each course of lessons has been 3-6 months, and the first two were with the same teacher. When I went to my first lesson six years ago he had me try to read a few things, play a few scales and then we jammed on a blues play along to see where I was in my development. The first thing he said was that I sounded an awful lot like Von Freeman. I had never heard about Von, so I ordered a CD from Amazon. When it arrived I put it on the stereo table and there it sat until I moved...never listened to it. Still haven't.

Fast forward about six years: I am at a gig a week ago with my funk/ acid jazz group. We like to get a little loose and see where things go on a lot of our tunes. Not completely free, but just loose enough to give the organ player and I a little extra rope. Anyway, we finish the first set and I'm standing up by the bar talking to a few people and up walks this guy. I know he is the alto player in a soul/ r&b band in town, so we start talking. We get through the usual introductions, and the next thing he says is how much I am sounding like Von Freeman!

I think someone has been trying to get me to listen to Von Freeman for about six years...I guess it is time to find that CD!

I have my first lesson today with a new teacher. One I will have for at least a year (maybe two) while I go to U Maine to piece together a four year degree!
 

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I try to sound like my guitar playing style to a large degree, believe it or not.

There are sax and guitar cliches that are just there because of the instrument but in general I play the guitar and sax in a similar way.

I can do Eric Clapton style blues all night but I don't like Eric Claptons playing but it's pretty easy for me to do even though I don't really like Eric Claptons style and prefer the older blues players.

I don't work on playing Eric Claptons style, it just happens to be a thing I can do if I want to for some unexplained reason.

I don't like playing in another persons style too much and I can't do it anyway for a lot of players.

Playing in Kenny G's style would be very hard for me and I don't think I could do it because that's not a style I could cope with playing.
 

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I recently have been listening to my live work and liking it for a change. I used to just be embarrassed even though I got a lot of work doing it. Now I hear the playback and sometimes I think it sounds just like a saxophone. It's an encouraging milestone. I still sound a lot less exciting on playback than I'd like but at least it's now recognizable.
 

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I have no idea who i sound like but I want to sound like a mixture of sonny stitt, sonny rollins, zoot sims, richie kamuca, al cohn, dexter gordon, gerry mulligan and charlie parker. Not just the sound but also the playing style.
 

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Playing in Kenny G's style would be very hard for me and I don't think I could do it because that's not a style I could cope with playing.
What would you do if somebody came up to you and gushingly said '"That was so great! Your playing reminds me of KennyG!"?
 

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I don't think that would happen but if it did then I'd have to play weirder or something to get totally away from Kenny G.

Of all the times I've played guitar in public no one has ever said to me that my playing reminds them of anyone else and I don't know if that's good or bad.

As I see it, any player goes from A to B with 12 notes and how they get from A to B is up to them.

The trouble with playing pre conceived licks or having a pre conceived other player tone as a base is that you yourself are not really involved much with how you get from A to B and most of the original sounding players on any instrument are themselves involved in a big way with how they go from A to B.

Everyone is different and improvising and just playing is self expression and that involves you and not Stan Getz or whoever.
Having Stan Getz and 3 other players concepts in my head when I'm playing is not for me, I just go from A to B the best way I can using bits and pieces of what I've picked up and hoping it all fits together and some nights it doesn't seem to and some other nights it seems to fit better and I don't think it will ever fit 100% 100% per cent of the time.
If people think I suck or sound ok, well that's how it goes.
 

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Someone on this forum wrote this awhile back:

"the more I play, the more I sound like myself"

B
 

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Someone on this forum wrote this awhile back:

"the more I play, the more I sound like myself"

B
You always sound like yourself, even if you sound almost the same as someone else you still sound like what you are: a copycat
 

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The trouble with playing pre conceived licks or having a pre conceived other player tone as a base is that you yourself are not really involved much with how you get from A to B and most of the original sounding players on any instrument are themselves involved in a big way with how they go from A to B.

Everyone is different and improvising and just playing is self expression and that involves you and not Stan Getz or whoever.
Having Stan Getz and 3 other players concepts in my head when I'm playing is not for me, I just go from A to B the best way I can using bits and pieces of what I've picked up and hoping it all fits together and some nights it doesn't seem to and some other nights it seems to fit better and I don't think it will ever fit 100% 100% per cent of the time.
If people think I suck or sound ok, well that's how it goes.

Makes perfect sense to me. I never recall ever wanting to sound like another sax player nor wanting to know who played sax in (insert name of song here). Most of what I play (and listen to) has no sax in 'the original version' so I have nothing to compare myself to. If anything I end up emulating lead guitarists instead of saxophonists. That goes against all the conventional wisdom here and I'm sure I could be a better player, but I'm not going pro and for what I do this works well.
 

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Makes perfect sense to me. I never recall ever wanting to sound like another sax player nor wanting to know who played sax in (insert name of song here). Most of what I play (and listen to) has no sax in 'the original version' so I have nothing to compare myself to. If anything I end up emulating lead guitarists instead of saxophonists. That goes against all the conventional wisdom here and I'm sure I could be a better player, but I'm not going pro and for what I do this works well.
What I don't understand is why do you want to play saxophone when you don't listen to any saxophone players?
 

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Charlie Parker is a huge sax player but if someone plays a lot of Charlies omnibook then eventually they might start playing like Charlie a fair bit as it all works it's way through the subconscious or whatever, but Charlies already done it and chances are no one is going to top Charlie playing Charlie so I just tend to learn a bit and move on, because I'm not going to be better than Charlie at Charlie and times are different and there are different styles of music around to experiment with and not just stick with bebop.

I think that listening to things that are not the sax can broaden things a bit.

I might try some Jennifer Hudson and Aretha Franklin things applied to sax and certain guitar things, keyboards, the list goes on.

I think David Sanborn mentioned Stevie Wonders harmonica playing ending up being a part of Dave's style.
 

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You always sound like yourself, even if you sound almost the same as someone else you still sound like what you are: a copycat
Not really sure what you mean by that but no one has ever said that I sound like a copy cat.

They have said that I sound like a "Cool Cat" sometimes. :)

B
 

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Not really sure what you mean by that but no one has ever said that I sound like a copy cat.

They have said that I sound like a "Cool Cat" sometimes. :)

B
it was a stupid joke. Even if you don't sound like yourself, then you sound like someone who is not sounding like themselves. The "you"was not aimed at you but it was a you in a general way.^^
 

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it was a stupid joke. Even if you don't sound like yourself, then you sound like someone who is not sounding like themselves. The "you"was not aimed at you but it was a you in a general way.^^
I knew that so I was being facetious.

B
 

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I've never tried to sound like anyone. I wouldn't know where to start, and for me anyway it seems like a waste of time. You do always sound like yourself. Just a guess, but I would imagine 90% of our sound is from embouchure and mouth cavity. For me it seems that it's subconcious. I've never tried to sound like Paul Desmond, but have been told several times that I do. I guess that 'Desmond' sound is a quality that I hear in my head. As for the Tenor, there is no one that I try to emulate. I play a 41' 10M, and I just let the Conn do the talkin'. That is with a Florida Link or Barone Hollywood. I guess the best way to describe my sound is Turrentine-early Sonny-Rouse-Mobely sort of a thing. That probably seems like a weird mix...

Good thread
 

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I have always wanted to "sound like" Art Pepper or Lee Konitz. Once people started telling me that I occasionally do sound like Pepper and/or Konitz, I stopped wanting to sound so much like them and more like myself. It almost started to be a bit of a turn off. I think that now I sound like a guy that was definitely influenced by Pepper and Konitz but not an imitation of either. I don't think we can help being influenced by what we consider "the correct way to play that thing".
 

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What I don't understand is why do you want to play saxophone when you don't listen to any saxophone players?
Because it belongs there! There was a thread a few years ago that asked where people got their solo ideas from and I believe it was Marty who said many of his ideas came from guitar solos. The only places I play are at church, at local events (in a couple weeks we'll be doing a benefit for the local food pantries), at friends picnics and places like that. We'll modernize 'hymns', do other Christian stuff or rock stuff depending on where it is. An upbeat 'It Is Well With My Soul' or Skynard's 'Tuesday's Gone' both sound absolutely awesome with a sax solo in it, as do many other songs that had none in the original version. Most of the time when I play there are rhythm guitar players but nobody who does lead well, so I'll do lead parts, solos, and fills.

As for the other part--it's not that I don't listen to sax players. I do listen to Stanley Turrentine, Joshua Redman, James Carter, Clarence Clemons and have gotten some ideas from them. It's just that most of what I listen to doesn't have sax in it--though it does sound great (so I'm told) when I play sax on that meterial. Hope that makes some sense.
 
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