Charlie Parker once said, “Don’t play the saxophone. Let it play you.” These words, spoken by a master of jazz composition and improvisation, perfectly describe the style and spirit of this instrument.
Music lovers are enthralled by the mellow, soulful tones it adds to any piece of music and on Saxophone Day, observed annually on November 6, we are afforded an opportunity to pay homage to a celebrated musical instrument.
Patented in 1846, it has stood the test of time. Do not be fooled by its odd appearance, this humble s-shaped horn started more than one musical revolution.
First gaining popularity in military marching bands, the powerful tones of this woodwind could cut through the roar of a full parade. Half a century later, jazz masters Parker and Coltrane set the world of music on fire.
DJs add new elements to their mixes by including live saxophone players. Rock anthems feature blistering instrumental solos and today, we dance to the sounds of an instrument created before automobiles or light bulbs.
What’s so special about November 6?
Adolphe Sax, creator and namesake, was born on this day in 1814. Because of his creativity we can fully appreciate and enjoy the soundscapes of bebop jazz, dance-club anthems and arena rock.
There are a million ways to celebrate but the important thing to remember is Saxophone Day is a celebration of creativity. Musical instruments give us power to express ourselves in ways words can’t describe. Without them our world would be a little less colorful, a little less vibrant.
Take a moment to experience the joy, the heartache and the thrill music offers us then, send a mental thank-you note to the spirit of Adolphe Sax.