Tuesday, 10 January 2012

No-one likes a saxophonist

I've been listening to a lot of jazz lately. Particularly Bitches Brew by Miles Davis. I had a Damascene moment the other day during Miles Runs The Voodoo Down about the nature of life. Such moments stick with you and make you more keen to include albums in top 10 lists when you're asked by The Record Mirror or Sounds.

I like Miles Davis records particularly because Miles was a trumpeter. Jazz is haunted by the spectre of the saxophonist and, as I was discussing with my ever-wise friend Ed at the weekend, no-one likes a saxophonist. "I find that knowing there's a saxophonist in a band's line-up actually puts me off wanting to listen to that band's output," he argued. He is not wrong.

ADOLPHE SAX (1814-1894) -
in many ways this is all his fault
I don't think there's anything particularly objectionable about the saxophone from the point of view of the way it sounds. Well, who knows, maybe there is. But I don't think so. However, there's something about saxophonists that is surely bound to set the teeth of any clean-living citizen on edge. Something about their hunched-over, eyes-closed, self-satisfied concentration that just makes you want to put a fish in their embouchure or a potato up their bell-end. Of their saxophone.

It's a pretty British attitude, I suppose. The saxophone is a bit of a peacocky sort of instrument and there's nothing us Brits like more than taking showy people down a peg or two. Nevertheless, the saxophone's COOL reputation continues to precede it. It's hard to know what is best to do. In fact it isn't. There's no problem with the timbre or range of the instrument itself, merely with the people who play it - so the only rational conclusion is to build an automaton, bellows up one end to make the sound come parping out and some hydraulic fingers to control the keys and the notes.

But what a bloody smug machine that would be. Another job lost to mechanisation and now the sodding thing is playing the saxophone!

No-one likes a robotic saxophonist.

1 comment:

bleep said...

pleased to have inspired you.

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