Saturday, December 5, 2009

Top 5 Christmas Saxophone Solos

With hundreds (thousands?) of Christmas songs to choose from, there are a seemingly endless number of ways to classify them and lots of "Top 5 This" or "Best of That" lists to be made. This is the first of a few unorthodox classifications I'll be adding to the pile this year.

I realized a while back that there are quite a few Christmas songs containing truly great saxophone solos. The saxophone is one of those incredibly instruments that has been almost universally neglected by post-1970s mainstream music with rare exceptions by Dave Matthews and Bruce Springsteen. Nevertheless, the horn's ability to express emotion is rarely topped by other instruments, as anyone who has ever listened to classic jazz music can attest.

Fortunately the saxophone comes out of hibernation for Christmas and takes its rightful place in the alternatively joyous, wistful and nostalgic sounds of holiday music. A well-executed sax solo goes beyond a few pleasingly placed notes that complement the melody. The best saxophone solo will stand out from the rest of the song and say, "Notice me!", and you do. The length of the solo can vary, but long or short, you can feel it.

Surprisingly, some of my favorite saxophone solos appear in some well-worn Christmas tunes. Take a fresh listen and be blown away by the musicianship of the saxophonists.

Unfortunately, didn't have one of my all-time favorite saxophone solos in an embeddable form, so I had to go to the mixed bag of YouTube. Fortunately, the song was available. In typical YouTube fashion, however, Harry Connick Jr.'s version of Blue Christmas is inexplicably the soundtrack for a music video about Star Trek Voyager's Janeway and her addiction to coffee. Enjoy the solo!

P.S. Am I missing any awesome Christmas sax solos? Leave a comment and let me know!


Joezilla said...

Not anymore!

P.S.- Word of the day: "rousit"
Definition: The security word it gave me when I posted this comment.

"secret agent" said...

I've heard it said, there's this virtuoso they call Jujube...