By Michael Segell
In The Devil's Horn, Michael Segell lines the 160-year heritage of the saxophone-a horn that created a legitimate by no means earlier than heard in nature, and that from the instant it debuted has aroused either confident and damaging passions between all who listen it. The saxophone has insinuated itself into almost each musical idiom that has come alongside seeing that its delivery in addition to into tune with traditions millions of years previous. however it has additionally been debatable, considered as an emblem of decadence, immorality and lasciviousness: it was once banned in Japan, saxophonists were despatched to Siberian lockdown through Communist officers, and a pope even indicted it.
Segell outlines the saxophone's attention-grabbing historical past whereas he highlights lots of its mythical avid gamers, together with Benny Carter, Illinois Jacquet, Sonny Rollins, Lee Konitz, Phil Woods, Branford Marsalis, and Michael Brecker. The Devil's Horn explores the saxophone's intersections with social circulate and alter, the leading edge acoustical technological know-how at the back of the software, its struggles on the earth of "legit" tune, and the magical homes that seduce all who fall less than its impression. colourful, evocative, and richly trained, The Devil's Horn is an inventive portrait of 1 of the most well-liked tools within the world.
From Publishers Weekly
The saxophone has become synonymous with 20th-century tune, let alone all issues cool: jazz, cocktail lounges, hip cats etc. Segell (Standup man: Manhood After Feminism) lines the software again to its eccentric Belgian writer, Adolphe Sax, an acoustical craftsman who survived affliction, injuries or even assassination makes an attempt from his instrument-making rivals. simply 10 years after Sax accomplished the 1st prototype of the saxophone in 1843, the shining horn had traveled all around the U.S. and all through Europe. song could by no means be an analogous back. Like its author, the sax used to be innovative, an software whose very sound—which has been defined as "carnal" and "voluptuous"—caused it to be banned by means of Nazis and Communists; non secular leaders—including the Vatican—deemed the tool "profane." As Segell recounts the saxophone's historical past, he concurrently illuminates a lot of its popular avid gamers, particularly jazz greats Benny Carter, Sonny Rollins, Lee Konitz and Branford Marsalis. An novice musician himself, Segell has a private dating with the horn, which provides a stirring feel of immediacy to the narrative.
Copyright © Reed enterprise details, a department of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
"A minor miracle. . .a ebook that might attract either jazz musicians and jazz enthusiasts alike." -- Rob Fishburn, The Roanoke Times**
"A tale as a lot enjoyable to learn as hearing a sax master." -- Kirkus Reviews
"It's transparent [Segell] grasps the jazzman’s dictum that it’s the adventure, no longer the destination." -- Dave Itzkoff, The long island instances ebook Review**
"What a well suited tribute Segell has written to that time-bending musical continuum that also holds such a lot of in its thrall." -- Tom Nolan, The San Francisco Chronicle**
"[A] historic and deeply own tribute to the saxophone." -- Jonathan Bor, The Baltimore Sun**
"[Michael Segell] courses us on an interesting journey." -- Matt Schudel, * The Washington put up booklet World*
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Additional resources for The Devil's Horn: The Story of the Saxophone, From Noisy Novelty to King of Cool
It became a big hit in the patriotic wind bands of Patrick Gilmore and John Philip Sousa, a workhorse in vaudeville, the favored instrument in the home music-making movement of the early twentieth century, and a catalyst of the dance-band craze of the teens. In the decade following the Great War nearly a million saxophones were sold in America, a phenomenon then described as the “saxophone craze” and equaled since only by the popularity of the electric guitar in the late sixties. An entire city—Elkhart, Indiana—evolved to support the manufacturing and sale of the saxophone as it went on to become the most innovative instrument in jazz and the go-to instrument in rhythm and blues, rock and roll, Motown, funk, and soul music.
Disappointed and disgusted, Sax had packed his belongings, carefully wrapped up his mangled creation, and fled Brussels. When he arrived in Paris he had thirty francs in his pocket. It was the first of many attempts to suppress this intrusive latecomer, this interloper, which, unlike wind instruments with ancient roots, could trace its lineage only as far as the revolutionary design specifications of a visionary acoustical scientist. Like every subsequent injunction over the next century against the saxophone and its “carnal,” “voluptuous” sound—by heads of state, local police, educators, symphonic conductors, film censors, and a host of other moral arbiters, including the Vatican—it failed.
The characteristic of the human, too, a free and intelligent being, is it’s possible to be the demon or the god, to choose between the bad and the good. So the saxophone becomes capable of expressing the most extreme aspects of the human condition. It can be coarse or it can be delicate, it can sound like a prostitute or a virgin. ” Only a few instruments are invested with such human qualities, he says, including the oboe (the alto of the family is called the oboe d’amore) and the ancient aulos, a double-chambered reed-blown conical pipe that was the instrument of orgiastic dances and of the Spartan army—an accompaniment to both loving and fighting.