Important people in saxophone history

contributions to technique and tradition contributions to instrument design and manufacture associated repertoire/texts
Adolphe Sax
1814-1894
Belgium, France
First professor of saxophone at Paris Conservatory, 1858-1871. Inventor and instrument maker: invented the saxophone, made major improvements to the bass clarinet, invented the saxhorn family.
Jean-Georges Kastner
1810-1867
France
First composer to include the saxophone (bass) in an official public performance, the opera Le dernier roi de Juda. Wrote an early saxophone tutor?
Elise Hall
1853–1924
USA
Amateur saxophonist and promoter of the instrument and its repertoire. Commissioned works by Debussy (Rapsodie), d’Indy, Schmitt (Legende), and more.
Rudy Wiedoeft
1893-1940
USA
Might be considered the father of American saxophone playing; largely responsible for the American saxophone craze of the 1920’s. Virtuoso player and popular recording artist. Played primarily C-melody saxophone. Wrote an early tutor and many ragtime-influenced solo pieces.
Sidney Bechet
1897–1957
USA
Jazz clarinetist and soprano saxophonist. Known for powerful sound and distinctive vibrato. Only significant soprano saxophonist in jazz until Coltrane in the 1960’s. One of the musicians who helped to spread the New Orleans jazz sound throughout the world.
Marcel Mule
1901-2001
France
Founder of the French school of saxophone playing. Inspired by jazz players to incorporate vibrato into the classical saxophone sound. Soloist with Garde Republicaine; founder of the Mule Saxophone Quartet. Wrote many etude and exercise books; arranged and transcribed many works for saxophone. Many pieces composed for him, including Villa-Lobos Fantasia, Desenclos Prelude, Cadence, et Finale, Bozza Aria and Improvisation et Caprice, and Bonneau Caprice en Forme de Valse.
Cecil B. Leeson
1902-1989
USA
Important early concert soloist in the USA. Taught at Northwestern and Ball State Works written for him by Creston (Sonata), Moritz, Stein, and more.
Jimmy Dorsey
1904-1957
USA
Clarinetist and alto saxophonist, bandleader. Leading figure in white jazz and dance bands and recording scene. Influenced Lester Young and Coleman Hawkins.
Coleman Hawkins
1904–1969
USA
Influential jazz tenor saxophonist. Early association with Fletcher Henderson. Known for a big sound, fast vibrato, harmonically complex improvisations, and rubato; in early career, also slap-tongue and other vaudeville effects, later abandoned for a more legato style.
Larry Teal
1905-1984
USA
Concert saxophonist and pedagogue. Taught at University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, 1953-1974. Students included Donald Sinta, Steven Mauk, John Sampen, and Joe Henderson. Dedicatee of the Heiden Sonata.
Sigurd Rascher
1907-2001
Germany, USA
Concert saxophonist, founder of the Rascher Quartet. Taught at Juilliard, Manhattan School, Eastman. Known for fluent use of the extreme altissimo range. Works written for him by Glazounov (Concerto), Ibert (Concertino), Husa (Elegie et Rondo), Hindemith, Milhaud, and many more.
Lester Young
1909–1954
USA
Influential jazz tenor saxophonist. Well-known associations with Count Basie, Fletcher Henderson, and especially Billie Holiday. Swing style; later began to transition into bebop. Known for the light, delicate tone that characterized his early career, and for a motivic approach to improvisation.
Charlie Parker
1920–1955
USA
Influential jazz alto saxophonist; one of the foremost figures in the development of bebop. Associations with Jay McShann, Billy Eckstine, Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis. A prolific composer, but more important for his brilliant improvisation, which often included complex harmonic devices, remarkable technical ability, blues elements, and witty musical quotations. Composed many early bebop tunes.
John Coltrane
1926–1967
USA
Influential jazz tenor (and later soprano) saxophonist. Regarded as the most important jazz saxophonist except Charlie Parker. Associations with Hodges, Monk, and especially Davis. Known for astonishing technique, “sheets of sound,” elaborate harmonic explorations, and, later, timbral explorations, motivic development, and free/avant-garde experiments. Prolific jazz composer.
Gerry Mulligan
1927–1996
USA
Influential jazz baritone saxophonist. Associated with the “cool school.” Known for associations with Miles Davis and Chet Baker, and for stylistic versatility: cool jazz, big band, bop, Dixieland.
Julian “Cannonball” Adderley
1928–1975
USA
Influential jazz alto saxophonist. Associations with Miles Davis and with brother Nat. Regarded as a spiritual heir to Charlie Parker, though his style was more chromatic and favored longer lines and a more aggressive tone.
Phil Woods
1931-
USA
Prominent jazz alto saxophonist. Known for straight-ahead bebop and for studio work.
Jean-Marie Londeix
1932-
France
Prominent classical saxophonist and pedagogue. Student of Mule at Paris Conservatory. Taught at National Conservatory in Bordeaux. Many works composed for him, Including Noda Improvisations I-III.
Eugene Rousseau
1932-
USA
Prominent classical saxophonist and pedagogue. Student of Mule at Paris Conservatory. An organizer of the World Saxophone Congress (1969). Works written for him by Orrego-Salas (Partita), Feld (alto Sonata), Heiden (Solo), and more.
Frederick Hemke
1935-
USA
Prominent American classical saxophonist and pedagogue. Student of Mule at Paris Conservatory; was the first American saxophonist to win a premier prix. Saxophonist with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra from 1962 to 1982. Professor at Northwestern University since 1964.

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