Saturday Night Tunes: Happy Birthday to Adolphe Sax

Yesterday was the birthday of the inventor of the saxophone, Adolphe Sax (1814-1894), and since I happen to love the saxophone I thought we could take a(nother) one-week break from our Miles Davis Prestige series and highlight a few examples of great jazz saxophone playing. Since four of Adolphe’s wide range of instruments (there are apparently saxophones that range all the way from sopranino to subcontrabass) wound up getting regular jazz play, I thought we’d look at at least one great tune featuring each of them, with maybe an extra alto and tenor number thrown in because those are the most popular and then one bonus track because I feel like it. I’m not claiming that any of these is the single greatest recording of any player on that horn ever (well, maybe “Crescent,” but I digress); these are just a few that I like and that came to mind quickly.

Soprano Saxophone: “My Favorite Things” by John Coltrane

Alto Saxophone: “Now’s the Time” by Charlie Parker

Alto Saxophone: “Autumn Leaves” by Cannonball Adderley

Tenor Saxophone: “Song for My Father” by Horace Silver (Joe Henderson on tenor)

Tenor Saxophone: “Blue 7” by Sonny Rollins

Baritone Saxophone: “Moanin'” by Charles Mingus (Pepper Adams on baritone, bonus Jackie McLean on alto and Booker Ervin on tenor)

Bonus: “Crescent” by John Coltrane (tenor saxophone)

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