Here’s the list of nominees for Soprano Saxophonist of the Year by the 2011 Jazz Journalists Association, along with a few words from your truly.
1. Dave Liebman:
Lieb is without a doubt one of the true masters of the instrument. He, along with Branford Marsalis has one the most influential soprano sounds today. I think that they, more than any other soprano player, have made it a viable instrument in modern jazz.
2. Evan Parker:
I’m actually surprised when I come across saxophonists who aren’t familiar with Evan’s work. Here’s been the front-runner for a very long time in dealing with extended techniques on the instrument. He's taken circular breathing and triple tonguing to new heights. When I'm looking for new sonic possibilities, he's my go to guy.
3. Jane Bunnett:
Jane has a very personal approach and the kind of sound you can only get to when you play the instrument exclusively. Her approach is almost the perfect amalgamation of Steve Lacy and Jane Ira Bloom, but yet, still very much her own. I’m looking forward to hearing her play at the award ceremony.
4. Jane Ira Bloom:
Jane, by far, has one of the purest soprano saxophone-centric approaches. Even Sidney Bechet sounds like a clarinet player at times. When you hear Jane on soprano, it’s hard to imagine her playing any other instrument. Again, only something that can be achieved by total dedication to the horn.
5. Sam Newsome
No comment. I’m sure you understand.
6. Wayne Shorter:
Well, Wayne is Wayne. What can you say? Even in his seventies, he still has one of the most youthful and inspiring approaches today. He’s a rare breed.
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