Tenor Saxophonists

Thomas Owens

in Bebop

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

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During the 1940s and 1950s, bebop alto saxophonists could have been listed as “Charlie Parker and others,” but tenor saxophonists had no comparable single influence. Instead, most tenor players drew in varying degrees from three players: Parker and two tenor greats of the swing style, Coleman Hawkins and Lester Young. Hawkins had been the primary role model for tenor saxophonists of the 1930s, and continued to influence young players in the 1940s. During his tenure with the Fletcher Henderson band, he recorded extensively, developed his mature style, and built an international reputation. Young made his first recordings in 1936. The first tenor sax players to gain reputations as bebop players were Dexter Gordon and Gene Ammons, partly because they played in Billy Eckstine's bebop big band of 1944–5.

Keywords: tenor saxophonists; Charlie Parker; Coleman Hawkins; Lester Young; Fletcher Henderson; bebop players; Dexter Gordon; Gene Ammons

Chapter.  10941 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: American Music

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