Monday, March 17, 2008

Soothing the savage beast

Exciting news: I am probably buying a used alto saxophone tomorrow. I found the saxophone on Craigslist; the transaction is going down at lunchtime in front of Disney Hall tomorrow. The whole thing has a delicious, vaguely illicit haze hovering around it. The best part is that I will return from lunch with a saxophone.

I played the alto saxophone for about three years, starting in fourth grade, before upgrading (or downgrading, depending) to the baritone sax in junior high. I played the bari through the end of high school. To my eternal regret, I did not keep playing in college. It was an adjustment shifting to the bari, but moving out of the row of six alto sax players into my own special, unique baritone saxophone seat was well worth it. I don't miss the alto too much, but I do miss the bari; I would buy a baritone, but they're too expensive; no one has a used baritone sax to sell. Also, I don't know if I still have the necessary lung capacity or back and neck strength.

I think I'll work my way back on the alto for a little while and then move to the tenor, which I've never played. The market is flooded with tenors.

I'm a little worried about what kind of sheet music I can get for the alto sax. Most of the music I've seen for saxophone was written for bands. I've never really played the saxophone alone; I was always in band or jazz band or whatever. I may have to just improvise. I used to venture out on the occasional baritone sax solo in jazz band in high school. My solos were always sort of dopey and hulking with no hint of virtuosity; I used to tell myself that that was how bari solos were meant to be.

Anyhow, I'm very excited about this. When I was a kid and in a bad mood -- I was often in inexplicable, sulky, depressive moods -- my mom would send me to my room to practice the recorder (long story that I will tell some day) or the saxophone. She said I would feel better after practicing. And I always did.

Okay, that was cheesy, but I think that's okay.


David said...

i never knew this. looking forward to jamming someday.


Ranta said...

A suggestion: If I were you, I'd check out some solo/obbligato clarinet music to work with. Or you can get a basic lesson book from a music store.

Also, a quickie search turned up this page from Dale Wolford's site:

Octopus Grigori said...

Interesting. I've been working through a method book to remind me of the fingerings for the more exotic notes. I've also got a jazz improv book so I can try to remember the various blues and jazz scales.

Mrs. Octopus plays the piano; we're going to be working on some duets in the near future. Maybe I could use some of Dale Wolford's stuff. What I am really looking for, though, are Pink Floyd and Chicago songbooks. 8 ]

Ranta said...

Must learn to walk before run, Grasshoppah. First "Twinkle Twinkle," then "The Wall."