Alto Saxophonists

Thomas Owens

in Bebop

Published in print October 1996 | ISBN: 9780195106510
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199853182 | DOI:
                   Alto Saxophonists

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This chapter focuses on those “children” whose musical resemblances to their “father” are easiest to assess, the alto saxophonists. Edward “Sonny” Stitt was among the first of these “children.” Miles Davis, who heard Stitt in 1943, reportedly said that Stitt was already playing in much the same way that he played years later, but the recorded evidence suggests that Stitt copied Charlie Parker. William “Sonny” Criss, clearly was another of Parker's disciples. Other players mentioned in the chapter are: Phil Woods, John Lenwood “Jackie” McLean, and Julian “Cannonball” Adderley. The three most prominent non-members of the Parker school were Art Pepper, Lee Konitz, and Paul Desmond. The alto saxophonist least likely to be labeled a “Bird child” is Lee Konitz. Konitz consciously avoided using Parker's vocabulary because in the late 1940s there were already many Parker imitators.

Keywords: alto saxophonists; Edward Stitt; Sonny; Charlie Parker; William Criss; Phil Woods; John Lenwood McLean; Jackie; Julian Adderley; Cannonball; Art Pepper; Lee Konitz; Paul Desmond

Chapter.  9130 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: American Music

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