I may have mentioned once or twice that I like sax …
… based jazz; I think the saxophone is also a sadly overlooked instrument in rock music. It’s three years since Clarence Clemons the sax play in the E-Street band died and I thought I would take a moment to share with you my appreciation of Clarence and the saxophone in “rock” music and also play a few choice jazz pieces too.
The photo above is the “other half” of one of the most famous Springsteen albums: Born To Run, yep that arm resting on Clarence’s shoulder is The Boss.
Before we get into some of the best (once again my humble opinion) rock songs that feature stunning sax I’ll share with you a much-loved jazz piece. If you look up the top jazz saxophonists this person rarely figures; you’ll see Coltrane, Bechet, ‘cannonball’ Adderley, Getz and Rollins (one from him later) however the one that I turn to more often than not is Ben Webster and my favourite tune has to be Chelsea Bridge.
I could write a whole piece on jazz sax but this is about the sax in rock and popular music and how it adds a warmth and vibrancy that a guitar, well as awesome as it is just cannot.
First up well it’s Logical isn’t it? Supertramp and John Helliwell’s playing in The Logical Song.
Back to the early seventies and another incredible album, though I know that some Spillers have ‘issues’ with Pink Floyd but Us and Them from DSOTM really demonstrates the beauty of the sax, just drift away; it’s sublime. But who played those brilliant solos; it was Richard “Dick” Parry a friend of Gilmour’s.
To the eighties and Hazel O’Connor and Will You. The player on this is Wesley McGoogan. What have I found out about him, well he’s from Hastings and played with The Beat and Billy Ocean.
During saneshane’s recent J’s posting Billy Joel was nominated several times so here’s Scenes From An Italian restaurant and Richie Cannata: white, red or perhaps a rose instead?
Bowie’s Young Americans features David Sanborn a session player who started at 14 playing blues for Albert King but has a very long list of credits having worked with The Dead, Eagles, Paul Simon and hey guess who, yes Springsteen.
Arriving at Springsteen there are numerous sax ‘solos’ in his songs, one of the most well known is Jungleland, but what about Born To Run or a tune that’s heard less often Drive All Night.
Before Clarence died his nephew Jake Clemons also played with Bruce on tour so here’s a clip comparing their playing on Drive All Night and in the playlist the full version with Clarence plus those two other classic songs.
I’ll close off with another jazz tune, this time from one of the top 10 list: Sonny Rollins and Silk N Satin.