I’ve always wanted to play saxophone. I’d heard it in jazz, blues, and rock, three kinds of music that I really liked, and thought that, of all the wind instruments, it would be the easiest and would blend well with other instruments. The big question for me was, what kind would be the best? They come in soprano, alto, tenor and baritone (there are many more, but those are the most common), but for most kinds of music, alto and tenor were probably the most flexible. A lot of the jazz players I heard, like Bud Shank, Phil Woods, and Paul Desmond, played alto, while the rock and blues players, like Eddie Shaw, A. C. Reed, and King Curtis, preferred the tenor. Fred Lipsius of Blood Sweat & Tears played the alto, while Walt Parazaider from Chicago primarily played tenor.
Anyway, that was part of the reason I never ended up picking either. I still love the sound, though, which is part of the reason I decided to run this Battle. The song is "Harlem Nocturne," written by Earle Hagen, who has written some pretty famous TV themes, including those for The Andy Griffith Show and Mod Squad. I’ve chosen versions played on the alto and the tenor. Give them both a listen.
Bud Shank: Bud played the version used as the theme song for Mickey Spillane’s Mike Hammer.
Illinois Jacquet: Jacquet is best known for the solo on "Flying Home," generally regarded as the first R&B solo.
Those are the contestants. Here are your instructions:
- Listen to the two songs.
- Decide which song you like the best.
- Vote for your favorite by leaving me a comment with your choice. If you feel like telling us why, feel free.
- Then, visit the other participants and vote in their Battles:
I’ll count the votes and announce the winner next Tuesday, June 22, so be sure and get me your choice by then.
The lines are now open. Good luck to Bud and Illinois!