Sam Newsome

Sam Newsome
"The potential for the saxophone is unlimited." - Steve Lacy

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Taking The Soprano Path: The Road Less Traveled

Jane Ira Bloom
One of my favorite quotes comes from soprano saxophonist Jane Ira Bloom who said, "The soprano gives you the freedom of being under influenced."

She is a great example of this.

Jane is probably one the few players who lives in New York who doesn't sound like she does. Meaning her playing is absent of all of the sometimes cliche (ish) harmonic and rhythmic complexities that are prevalent in many New York players.

I'm almost certain that it's because she only plays the soprano.

The Four Brothers
Having been a soprano player from the beginning of her professional career, Jane probably didn't have the opportunity, and I imagine, nor the desire, to play hundreds or thousands of gigs as a side person, always learning other people's music.  And she probably didn't have the opportunity to form that saxophone bond that alto and tenor players seem to have, where they're constantly exchanging ideas, which can sometimes result in them sounding very similar.

After having decided to make the soprano my main instrument of focus, I often found myself in similar situations of isolation. Though lonely at times, it's was extremely liberating in that I felt totally free to do my own thing. Since there was no one else around,  I didn't have that hovering fear of always being judged.

Ironically, though, once you do get the courage to travel your own path, it too, can become congested with people following you--Coltrane and Bird being two of the more common examples. Which is fine. because now, you're leading the way.

Take the first step!

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