After finishing my doctorate in music this month, I’ve found myself reenergized by the saxophone. Since I was 11, the instrument has been something I think about daily. I have spent countless hours practicing and performing and learning about myself through that process. The saxophone has been my voice for over 20 years and I continue to dig deeper into the possibilities of what I can experience through music and creative expression.
I’m inspired by all types of music and how the saxophone fits into that. Lately, I have been reminded of how much of an influence both jazz and classical repertoire have had on my personal playing style. I find myself playing music in both styles and have been seeking inspiration from performers and composers that straddle the line between classical and jazz.
The saxophone has a number of musical expectations associated with it, as well as a multitude of appearances in pop culture. Now that I’ve completed a DMA in saxophone, people often ask me to name my influences and often question the authority of a certain long, curly haired soprano saxophonist which I refuse to name. In order to squash the idea that the only thing related to the saxophone that exists is the album Breathless, the song Careless Whisper, and the former president of the United States, I would like to share some saxspiration with you. Here’s a list of saxophonists that have a profound impact on me.