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The Alto Saxophone
allying a romantic lyricism with this harmonic and rhythmic complexity, has demonstrated that the history of the alto did not reach a dead end when Parker brought it to what seemed to be the ultimate peak in inspirational-technical accomplishment.
Prominent among alto saxophonists in recent years is Earl Bostic, a veteran who worked with many name bands in the 1930s and with Lionel Hampton from 1943-5, earning only moderate success and recognition. During the past decade, though still comparatively unfamiliar in American jazz circles, Bostic has scored success after success as a rhythm and blues artist playing in an orotund style that earned him great renown with Negro audiences here, and with many record-buying fans in England and on the Continent.
Europe has produced at least two expert exponents of the alto saxophone in Sweden's Arne Domnerus and England's Johnny Dankworth.
Younger alto stars, many of whom have begun to spread wings of their own after a Parker-inspired beginning, include Phil Woods, who impressed fans on three continents while touring with the Dizzy Gillespie band in 1955-6; Julian "CannonbalT Adderley, Sonny Criss, Jackie McLean and Herb Geller, all of the hard-bop Parker school; Bud Shank, Lennie Niehaus and Charlie Mariano, all Kenton alumni heard with many West Coast groups; Lou Donaldson, Ernie Henry and Gigi Gryce; and several versatile musicians who number the alto among their various media of expression, notably Zoot Sims, James Moody, Buddy Collette, Jerome Bichardson, Georgie Auld, Charlie Ventura and John LaPorta. Marshall Royal, lead saxophonist with the Basie band, though usually confined to a sectional role, is capable of first-class jazz solos in a pre-bop style.
Less individual, though capable of excellent work when the mood and the setting moves them, are Ronny Lang, heard for several years with Les Brown; Gene Quill, Lennie Hambro, Vinnie Dean, and Hal McKusick, one of the busiest free-lancers in East Coast circles.