Recommended Saxophonists For Further Listening

There are many great saxophonists and tunes to start your listening so according to Mark Archer here’s a selection from Blowout Saxology.

All of these recommended tunes and players are taught at Blowout Sax Schools...CDs are recommended or you can check these out online on

King Curtis 13_1_King_Curtis.jpg
From the world of soulsax there is King Curtis..from Blowout The King Of SoulSax
King Curtis was both a studio and a live artist and because he's a Blowout Sax Soul Hero too I‘d advise you strongly to buy both his studio and live albums.
His best studio album is the double album King Curtis plays The Memphis Hits, and King Size Soul, on Koch records -- Koch-CD-8015. There are many ace sax recordings on it like ‘Last Night,' ‘Green Onions,’ ‘Ode to Billie Joe,’ and King's very own ‘Memphis Soul Stew’.
For a live recording check out King Curtis Live at Fillmore, on Koch records. It has a hair-standing-up-on-end version of ‘A Whiter Shade of Pale,’ which was used to telling effect for the opening scene of the British classic movie Withnail and I. Also check out his rip-snorting rendition of Led Zeppelin's ‘Whole Lotta Love.’

Stan Getz
Next up the ‘beautiful sound’ of Stan Getz..From ‘Blowout the Pure the Beautiful and the Poet Of Sax.’
For a good general introduction to Getz get hold of The Very Best of Stan Getz on Verve, and there are all his lighter massive Bossa Nova hits, including other personal favs include O Grande Amor, One Note Samba, and Desafinado. A top suggestion is to put a pair of headphones on and wallow in that sound.

Paul Desmond
The ‘pure’ sound of Paul Desmond… from Blowout the Pure the Beautiful and the Poet Of Sax.

The Best of Paul Desmond CD (on Columbia) is wondrous, featuring his hits like ‘Take Five’ and ‘Take 10,’ 'Desmond Blue,' and 'Black Orpheus.' So grab yourself a copy of this album, relax, pour yourself a really really ‘dry martini,’ (that was the sound Desmond was trying to emulate) and listen to Paul ‘The Stork’ Desmond.

Lou Donaldson
The Boogaloo sound of Lou Donaldson ... from Blowout Grandpappys Of Boogaloo And Soul Makossa Sax
My Favourite track is ‘Midnight Creeper,’ because of its hooky head riff, its fat boogaloo Hammond organ driven groove, and its classic Lou D alto sax solo. With its repeated phrases and clear lines, the sax solo can be followed easily by the listener. But don‘t neglect to check out the guitar, trumpet and Hammond solos as well.
The whole track is one supergroovy groove.

There are many top Lou Donaldson tunes, ‘Alligator Boogaloo,’(a little tune sold man, made a lot of money’) ‘Blues Walk,’ (where Lou shows off his very accomplished technical pedigree) and The Blowout Sax School favs ‘Sassie Lassie’ and ‘Sassy Soul Strut.’ Buy The Best Of Lou Donaldson, Volumes 1 and 2. CDP 72438 3774524.

Junior Walker 13_2_Junior_Walker.jpg
The roughhouse soul of Junior Walker , from Blowout Blue Sax.
Amongst the cascade of the greatest of Junior Walker tracks is ‘Shotgun’. This compulsive hit had the kick of a mule and the greasy feel of a pigs feet dinner! Raw and uninhibited, the track features helter-skelter horns, sledgehammer rhythms and dramatic interplay between Hammond organ and vocal chant. There are many more greats -- ‘Roadrunner,’ ‘Cleo’s Mood, ‘Cleo's Back,’ and ‘These Eyes,’ - to name just a few. Junior Walker just made so so much good time music.‘ Junior Walker and The All Stars: The ultimate collection. 314530628.

Hank Crawford
The searing, blues-rooted sax style of Hank Crawford..From Blowout Brother Soulsax.

My favourite is on his Anthology, his gospel take of Rev. Dorsey's ‘Precious Lord’. The track is melodically straightforward, yet Hank plays with increasing intensity and joy. In addition, his spine-chilling take of the old jazz classic ‘Angel Eyes’, accompanied by just a brass section, drums and double bass and no piano, really demonstrates the alto sax in all its brilliance. As does his very own ‘Lorelei’s Lament’ and his Chicago blues-flavoured ‘Mr Chips.’ All these amazing tracks can be found on Heart and Soul: The Hank Crawford Anthology./B> Rhino Atlantic< R 2 71673.

Maceo Parker
The pulse of sax-funk Maceo Parker
…From Blowout FatFunkSax There is an abbreviated live take of my all time favourite tune ‘Children's World’ on the album Live on Planet Groove (on Verve) and many classic funk tunes like ‘Shake Everything You Got’ and ‘Pass The Peas.’

Eddie Harris
The innovative saxophone genius Eddie Harris ….From Blowout Saxperimentalists.

My favourite track is ‘1974 Blues’ from Eddie Harris’s Anthology (Rhino 8122-715142). Set up with a driving piano based groove, Eddie plays the main theme and then takes a solo using one of his many electronic effects, throwing in the odd wild high note and then steps out for a top piano solo before giving us the main theme again and a stab ending. On this album there are many other standout tracks and each one has a different style – ‘Boogie Woogie Bossa Nova,’ ‘Sandpiper,’ and the sublime ‘Without You.’

One of my earliest memories of jazz was as a teenager playing a tape from a charity shop of Les McCann and Eddie Harris -- an impromptu live gig at Montreux -- and being blown away with the vocal track ‘Compared to What,’ followed up with a first outing of now-classic ‘Cold Duck Time.’ Still sounds great 25 years later. Buy it on Atlantic Jazz 7567-81365-2, under the title Swiss Movement.

Manu Dibango
The African sound of Manu Dibango.. from Blowout Grandpappys Of Boogaloo And Soul Makossa Sax My favourite track is Dikalo ‘Salt Pop Corn.’ Manu said of this track: I wrote a brilliant screaming instrumental piece, which mixed rhythm and blues, a little funk and a pop sound behind it. This was the track that brought him into the public eye. It is jam-packed full of hooky phrasing, virtuosic articulation, and implores your body to dance.

Other Manu classics with a more obvious African vibe are the immortal ‘Soul Makossa,’ the biggest African hit of all time beloved of Aristotle Onassis amongst millions of others. ‘Hot Chicken’, ‘Big Blow’, and ‘Wakafrika,‘ (written on his 60th birthday) are all winners too.
African Soul. The Best of Manu Dibango. Mercury 534766-2.

Dexter Gordon 13_3_Dexter_Gordon.jpg
The Sax titan sound of Dexter of The Blowout Sax Titans.
One of the many favoured Dexter tracks is his take of Sinatra's ‘I'm a Fool to want you.’ It is clever because of the way he keeps the melody to the fore yet brands each phrase with the unmistakable Dexter Gordon sound. Other great Dexter pieces taken from this Ballad album include my favourite original Billie Holiday tune ‘Don't Explain’ and his original take of the jazz standard ‘Body and Soul.’ His ‘Shadow Of Your Smile,’ is special too. Ballads Blue Note CDP 7 96579 2.

Tommy McCook
The Glorious Lion ska and reggae sax sound of Tommy McCook: From Blowout Kings Of Jamaican Sax. Tommy McCook’s musical palate drew on the whole history of Jamaican music from ska and rocksteady to dub and reggae. His saxophone tone possessed both a percussive directness and a deep mellowness which is as warm as a human voice.
Many of McCooks titles ‘Jah’, ‘Glorious Lion’ and ‘He of Zion’ arose from his Rastafarian beliefs. The musical themes of his tracks have distinctive hooks which are often hummable after a first hearing and which are easily remembered by the listener – hit tunes are ‘catchy’. His solos are usually straightforward and uncomplicated but, as he displays in ‘Riding West', he possessed the very highest technical ability and could play fast, red hot jazz. The album to buy is Blazing Horns/Tenor in Roots ..on the Blood And Fire label… also has other top favourites ‘Lamb’s Bread’, ‘Mine eyes’ and ‘Everyday sax’ on it too.

Jan Garbarek
The poet of sounds Jan Garbarek..from Blowout the Pure the Beautiful and the Poet Of Sax
My favourite track is the fabulously titled piece ‘Brother Wind March’ from the album Twelve Moons. Garbarek builds from a simple initial theme to extraordinary musical intensity with searing heart-thumping middle-eastern sax storm and soaring high notes before the piano brings some balm to the ears and returns to the main theme. There follows one of Garbarek‘s typically subtle codas. This is sublime music from a Norwegian Saxmeister. Two other pieces from Twelve Moons which are wholly different from the saxophone norm are ‘Arietta’ and ‘Witchi-Tai-To’.

If you enjoy Twelve Moons, then another great Jan Garbarek album you should check out is Visible World with standout pieces like The Survivor and The Creek.

All these extracts from Blowout Saxology book:~ 25 ways To become a Great Sax Player

 Love Sax

 Recommended Saxophonists

 Top 20 Sax Tunes by Mark and Craig

 Top 40 Pop Sax Tunes

 Top Sax Gigs Attended

 Original Tips to 'The Beautiful Sound'

 Blow Your Own Sax Articles

 Students Playing At Their Own Weddings

 Golden Rules - Buying a Second Hand Sax

 The Best Sax Technician

 The Saxophonic Journey of Suzie-Suz.