Jazz Saxophone Solo
If you are part of a jazz band, you know how important teamwork is. Everyone in the band has to work together, lay brick after brick in order to form a solid performance and most likely, no one can stand out too much or this will ruin the foundation. As a jazz band, you stand out as the collective group instead of standing out as individuals. But when you go in alone, performing a piece of jazz solo… things are extremely different.
Two things pop into anyone’s mind when hearing the phrase “jazz saxophone solo”. First, there’s the distinct group of jazz individual players that are not in a band or don’t use any additional members and instruments as support to their music. The second meaning of the phrase is that of the part of a song where the band and all instruments go to a full stop, while the saxophone player goes “acapella”. It’s often the peak of the song, which is a more intense portion, but it can sometimes be a soothing, conclusive part to a full instrument section of the song.
Again, if you are a member of a jazz band and you are given the task of performing a solo, you will understand how hard this position is. It’s extremely difficult to perform a jazz solo mostly because the pressure you get is doubled, all eyes and ears targeting you. And whereas during the rest of the song, you will have your band members to cover up your slight flaws or missed notes, during a solo every single and insignificant flaw will be easier to spot.
This is where your own improvisation, talent and hard practice come into play. A jazz solo is probably the peak of any player’s performance and if the band director or manager chooses you to perform the solo, take it as a gesture of confidence in your skills. There are many books that can help you in perfecting the technique of jazz saxophone soloing, most of them written by very famous lead saxophone players with many solo bits over their careers. Joe Kast’s “The true jazz saxophone soloist realbook”, or Arnie Berle’s “How to create and develop a jazz sax solo” are just two of the most important titles, but there are virtually hundreds of other similar ones out there.
1. John Coltrane, "Giant Steps."
2. Coleman Hawkins, "Body and Soul.
3. Stan Getz, "Autumn Leaves."
4. Charlie Parker, "All the Things You Are."
5. Cannonball Adderley, "Autumn Leaves."
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