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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Yes, why? When I say different saxes, I mean bari compared to tenor compared to alto.

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I have another question. Does it sound like I'm improving:

http://www.youtube.com/user/jjtyler21

I have solos from January, February, and this month. Am I getting better, how fast, and in what direction does it sound like I'm going?
 

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Interesting question. After reading your question, I find myself thinking the same of my work. I am originally a clarinet player, but over the years I have become a sax player more than clarinetist, if only becuase that's what's asked of me. A year ago I picked up tenor, and have since gotten a lot of work because of it. But I find my tenor improv lacking the nuances and technical "prowess" that my alto work contains. I think part of it is because I am still more comfortable with the size and response of my alto. I think the size of the instrument and lung power required are a factor as well. Two months ago I got a soprano, and the nuances are back and the lung power goes farther. The different finger patterns due to the key changes is also a factor, but I'm getting better every day. I think I am still working on "hearing in B-Flat."
 

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Yes, why? When I say different saxes, I mean bari compared to tenor compared to alto.
This is a good thing, because it means you are hearing and playing with different voices. I think it's important to work at making each sax sound unique, even to the point of finding mouthpieces that help bring out your unique voice on each instrument.

Randy
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Lessons page: www.beginningsax.com/Jazz Improv Lessons.htm
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I try to emphasis the differences when I bring out "the arsenal" (s/a/t) for live gigs. It really makes the audience feel there are three players on stage. For me the tenor is tough guy, alto is the sweetness, and soprano is the child prodigy running amuck.

B
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the quick replies. I have another question. Does it sound like I'm improving:

http://www.youtube.com/user/jjtyler21

I have solos from January, February, and this month. Am I getting better, how fast, and in what direction does it sound like I'm going?
 

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Possibly it's a matter of confidence. Are you more proficient on the horn on which you improvise best?
 

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I think it's a good thing.
I sometimes work with a stonking good alto player by the name of Steve Grainger. Some time ago he bought himself a baritone, and duly turned up to a gigs with it.
He played it exactly the same way as he did his alto - thus causing us (the other guys in the horn section) to shout "Nice alto solo" whenever he let rip.

It's no bad thing though - it's nice to hear players changing their style depending on what horn they're blowing, but it's just as interesting to hear those who don't.
It's all good.

Regards,
 

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Could this be to do with the history of the instrument as well? ie when a player is on alto they are hearing Parker and Desmond etc somewhere at the back of their mind and on tenor it's Dex, Coltrane etc? Just a possibility (??)
 

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Well, I am not a very accomplished amateur but I think that different horns make me play in a different way, perhaps because of some technical shortcomings of mine but also because different horns sound differently or are more ore less conducive to sound in a certain way.
So, when I play baritone, the horn I am least confident with, I tend to be much more rhythmical than I am with other horns, slur less, bend way less, and generally don't go too high up in the high register. When playing alto, I am Improvising quicker and more up and down the range of the horn, lots of bending there. Tenor is more thoughtful, I have a deeper and more round sound and I tend to stay in the singing regions of the horn. The soprano makes me want to play in the lower register more than any other horn, partly because I am not too confident high up there and partly because I really love subtoning on the lower register of the soprano.
So, all in all I love playing these 4 horns (to which I will be adding the sopranino soon) because they all teach me more about playing altogether and complete one another.
 

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I think most of the others have covered how GOOD it is to embrace the differences between saxes. I find that even my tone concept and vibrato change with the instrument. Picture someone who sings soprano singing a bass line or vice versa.

The sopranino stands out especially as it isn't a subtle instrument and to my ear requires a more exaggerated vibrato to sound "right". Long drawn out tones don't make it. It's a hummingbird dashing form here to there with only a brief pause.
 

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To me, the horns have somewhat different personalities, but this may be affected by my approach to them. The alto and tenor I consider general purpose horns for jazz. Either seems to work on almost all standard or jazz standard tunes. To me, I play alto a little more aggressively than tenor. I play more laid back, in general or tenor. I use soprano for sax quartets and for selected tunes with a jazz group. It seems that a lot of soprano players choose to play either aggressively (e.g. Coltrane or Leibman) or smooth jazz style (eg Kenny G). I play it in the middle but only use it on select tunes.
 

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It is a natural thing to improvise differently on different saxes. Part of good improvising is hearing what you are actually playing, and what it sounds like in the context of the rest of the players, and responding or continuing in a way that makes sense.
 

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For me it's about the range of the instrument. My harmonic ideas are often based on stacking upper triad structures.

For instance playing a Bmaj triad over a Cmaj7th chord or an idea based in F#maj7 over a Dmaj7 chord. Most of my playing comes from the piano like playing a chord in the left hand and playing the idea in the right. The alto and soprano fit this range better than a tenor for me. The same ideas on tenor sound sounded like substitutions rather than upper structure additions.
 
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