20 Recordings Every Saxophone Student Should Own-Part 3 of 4
King Curtis was a multi-talented musician, bandleader and arranger who played soprano, alto and tenor sax equally well. Originally from Fort Worth, Texas, King was known for his incredibly soulful rhythm and blues style. He made many recordings as a leader, however early in his career he did some terrific studio work with both The Coasters and Sammy Price, among others. The King went on to become Aretha Franklin's bandleader, there is companion recording to this one entitled Aretha-Live At Fillmore West. Both recordings show off not only Curtis' fantastic saxophone playing, that leans into some rock stylings at times, but an incredible band that features Bernard Purdie, Jerry Jemmott, Cornell Dupree and Billie Preston. A great cross section of blues, soul, and rhythm and blues music on this set, a perfect collection to move you into the funky side of things that came along in the the 1970's.
Saxophonist and composer David Liebman has made many recordings in his storied career, but none better than this. Lookout Farm is notable in a number of respects, not the least of which is this terrific band. Featuring Ritchie Beirach, John Abercrombie, Jeff Williams and Frank Tusa, this recording is an episodic voyage through a fascinating variety of styles and forms. There is fine form Liebman on soprano sax at various points, and the collective rollicking to and fro of this recording is terrific. It's a group effort that highlights a vast talent pool, and the saxophone is integrated magnificently. To my knowledge this has not been reissued on CD, so find a vinyl copy if you want to hold this in your hot little hands. This is a very significant early ECM recording, and it's simply too great to be ignored.
You can hear the title track here:
There is also a live concert recording here for further listening:
Ritchie Beirach describes Lookout Farm in the very beginning of this interview, very interesting to hear his perspective. He goes a bit too far into his relationship with ECM, so don't let that distract you from the Lookout Farm history:
1975 Atlantic Records
This is one of the great recordings in the jazz canon, and Rahsaan Roland Kirk is one of the great characters and mystics of the jazz world. This recording blends psychedelia, funk, blues and jazz in ways not heard previously, along with some amazing audio and studio effects. My favorite track from this recording is this funky/bluesy version of Scott Joplin's The Entertainer, which you can hear here:
Known for his high profile studio credits alto saxophonist David Sanborn has recorded with most if not all the chart topping artists of the 1970's and 1980's including Stevie Wonder, Carly Simon, Paul Simon, James Taylor, David Bowie and the Eagles, just to name a few. Sanborn really hit his stride with this, his fifth solo studio recording on Warner Brothers. David's playing is still very inspired and informed here by his rhythm and blues roots and the sophistication of his New York studio musician friends that permeate this record. This is a well produced, definitive collection of his work that shows off his often imitated commercial alto sax style and sound with great results. You will immediately recognize his saxophone voice and I find this one of a couple of his most satisfying recordings. This is the sound of the later 1970's, it brings me back to my high school days as an aspiring altoist.
You can hear the iconic title track Hideaway here:
This recording was a comeback of sorts for Joe Henderson, who inarguably is one of a few post Coltrane tenor saxophonists that took the instrument into uncharted territory. For sheer virtuosity and improvised creativity this recording is the standard to judge all other saxophonists by. Recorded live at the Village Vanguard with an incredibly supportive and sympathetic rhythm team of Al Foster on drums and Ron Carter on bass, these two volumes are required listening. Challenging, engaging and above all just incredible in its always changing musical directions, Joe shows here that he was a towering influence on so many saxophonists including Michael Brecker, Bob Mintzer and Chris Potter.
As always, thanks for stopping by my Blog. Markos