My Dad forwarded me this link last week. Understandably he was blown away by it being a saxophonist himself. I watched it, then rewatched it and watched it again! It features Colin Stetson, an American saxophonist who has played with Arcade Fire, Tom Waits, Feist, Laurie Anderson, LCD Soundsystem, The National, David Byrne and Lou Reed. Colin has also released solo recordings on saxophones, clarinets, cornet, french horn and flute.
As can be seen from this video, Colin’s technique is remarkable and he achieves his sound without loops or overdubbing. He uses circular breathing (given that he’s performing on a bass saxophone I have no idea how he doesn’t pass out) and also taps the keys on the sax to create percussion sounds. Truly phenomenal. Check it.
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later, saxophonist Ornette Coleman used this brand of plastic sax in his early career. A story recounts that Parker had sold his alto saxophone to buy drugs, and at the last minute, he, Dizzy Gillespie and other members of Charlie’s entourage went running around Toronto trying to find Parker a saxophone. After scouring all the downtown pawn shops open at the time, they were only able to find a Grafton, which Parker proceeded to use at the concert that night. This account however is disputed, especially because Parker in fact owned two of the Grafton plastic horns. At this point in his career he was experimenting with new sounds and new materials. Parker himself explains the purpose of the plastic saxophone in a May 9, 1953 broadcast from Birdland and does so again in subsequent May 1953 broadcast.