Classic Tenors

Coleman_Hawkins_(Gottlieb_03991)The saxophone is a relatively new instrument invented in the 1840’s by a Belgian instrument maker by the name of Adolphe Sax. The instrument emerged in the United States at the turn of 20th century and was popular in the large marching and concert bands of the period. The dance/jazz band musicians adopted the instrument in the early 1920’s. The saxophone represented everything that was new and different and became a symbol for American popular music in the 1920’s and 1930’s.

Classic Tenors - Episode 1

It took jazz musicians to show us its potential, starting with the C melody sax and eventually the great tenor and alto players in the 1920’s. The tenor sax in the hands of Coleman Hawkins, Ben Webster, Chu Berry, and Lester Young represent jazz at its best from this era. On this podcast I will play excerpts of Coleman Hawkins and Ben Webster, both originally from the Kansas City area.
CompositionArtistYear
Body and SoulColeman Hawkins1935
Sugar Foot StompColeman Hawkins and Fletcher Henderson1925
Chelsea BridgeBen Webster and Duke Ellington1941
CottontailBen Webster and Duke Ellington1940
LafayetteBen Webster with Bennie Moten1932

Classic Tenors - Episode 2

On this continuation of the previous podcast I will examine the playing of two other great 1930’s era tenor saxophonists, Leon “Chu” Berry and the inimitable Lester Young. Both of these great tenor plays left a great legacy, but in hindsight it might be said that Lester Young left the largest footprint of these four classic tenor giants.
CompositionArtistYear
Body and SoulChu Berry and His Little Jazz Ensemble1938
Sittin' InChu Berry and His Little Jazz Ensemble1938
Lester LeapsCount Basie with Lester Young1939
Jumpin' with Symphony SidLester Young Sextet1946