Rheuben’s thoughts & opinions 32624

History is one of the greatest resources we have, to help us learn! About music, life, the understanding of mankind, including our neighbor next door.

How important is the history of music?
Especially to us as saxophone players?

I hear young players talk about wanting to be jazz musicians and many of them have only listened to the modern saxophone players. This is why most of the modern saxophone players sound the same or at least close to the same. There is a wealth of great players from the past to be heard. To truly know a music styles, we must listen to all the great and many of the not-so-great players to truly understand to concept of jazz, classical or country music for that matter.

We must listen to the great saxophone players of the past if we play the saxophone and that includes players we do not want to sound like when we play.
*The popularity of the saxophone is dying down and the reason is everyone sounds the same. Producers are looking for something new and not the same saxophone solo for their projects. In the great days of the saxophone everyone had an original sound, concept and that was what made them interesting. Now almost every alto player cracks the High F-Sharp on every solo, very uninteresting. We have heard it enough!

The reason all saxophone players sound the same is it is easier to copy players that use the pentatonic scale in all their solos than create imitative solos with our own style and signature. Also, easier than trying to copy Cannonball or Phil Woods! I do not want to play like Ornette Colman or Sidney Bechet, but I listen to them and try to understand what they were doing.

We have become a country of mediocrity, everyone has tattoos, so they all look alike, musicians mostly all sound alike, we all want to be the Jones’s. Americans had different personalities, different dreams, and different lives when I was growing up. It was Ok to be a mechanic, and everyone did not dream of being an internet mogul or star athlete. Our dreams seemed to be attainable and realistic.

Again, “History is one of the greatest resources we have, to help us learn!” We can learn what has worked and what hasn’t worked.

There have been billions of people on the planet, and we are just here for a femtosecond in the history of the universe. We do not have much time to become the person we want to be and fulfill our dreams. We need to make every femtosecond count! We need to use our time wisely.
* Femtosecond: fem-to-sec-ond is one-millionth-of-one-billionth of a second (1/1,000,000,000,000,000)

Just my personal thoughts & opinions. Young musicians, governments and all of us can learn a lot from the study of history.