Soprano Saxophone Listening List

This coming friday (11/13) I will be performing two original solo soprano compositions in concert. As i’ve been preparing this week i’ve been listening to a lot of soprano players and i’ve picked out a few of my favorites to share.

This is one of my absolute favorite soprano recordings and it also happens to be one that a lot of people haven’t heard. Lol Coxhill was an English soprano player who was all over the map, playing many different styles. He played solo frequently, often at the cutting edge of what was sonically possible with the straight horn. In this recording he’s playing in duet with keyboardist, Steve Miller. I love the way he bends notes through his runs. In this recording it’s really effective because of the delay effect that he is using on the horn. I think this recording is so cool. It’s got kind of a psychedelic quality to it.


Jane Ira Bloom is one of my favorite living soprano players. She plays with such a rich, warm tone, and I think you’d be hard pressed to find a more patient improviser. I love the way that she plays into and out of the silences. This is one of my favorites from her ‘Mental Weather’ album.


It would be pretty weird to make any sort of list about the soprano saxophone and not include something from Steve Lacy. This is a live recording from the Knitting Factory of one of my favorite Steve Lacy tunes, ‘Cliches.’


One of the things I love about Steve Lacy’s playing and I think it’s particularly good here is the fatness of his sound through the middle of the range. This is a live recording and he’s clearly cutting above the drums in the middle of the register. Not an easy thing to do! I love how he goes from this sort of savage mid-range tone to this other floaty, pretty sound in the upper register. This is such a cool version of this tune. Really different from the original recording, much more rhythmic!