Want to improve your jazz playing on saxophone?
Although it can be overwhelming to know where to start learning to play jazz on saxophone, we have some brand new lessons to help you!
Brand new in the Sax School lesson library this week is a shiny new set of lessons on an original tune called “Rolling with Sonny”.
This song is written in the style of the classic recordings you might hear from tenor saxophone greats Sonny Rollins or Dexter Gordon.
Why sax players should learn jazz standards
I’m a huge fan of exploring all playing styles on saxophone. In fact I’ve made my career all about that – from performing with Symphony Orchestras, to playing pop gigs, conducting European tours with amazing Big Bands, playing club dates or leading a West End production show.
However, the common language amongst sax players is jazz standards.
This means that if you get the chance to hang out and “jam” with other saxophonists, there’s a good chance that standard repertoire songs, or jazz standards, will be the music that you all know and can share.
What is a jazz standard?
Now, the term “jazz standard” is quite broad – there are a lot of tunes that are considered “standards”. Generally though any popular jazz melody can be considered a Jazz Standard. And, lots of more commercial tunes are now often regarded as standards too. For example
Modern / commercial jazz standards
- “The Chicken” – Jaco Pastorius
- “Feels So Good” – Chuck Mangione
- “Mr Magic” – Grover Washington
(Check out this article on Wikipedia for a more extensive list of post 1950 jazz standards)
Best way to start learning jazz standards on sax
Always the first place to start your Jazz Standard journey as a saxophone player is with listening. Check out our list of favourite artists and tracks as a starting point. Spotify, youtube and Amazon Music are brilliant places to explore artists, albums and popular tracks by them.
Next step is to begin learning some classic songs and building your own repertoire.
In Sax School we have loads of jazz standard lessons to explore plus in depth lessons on songs like “Rolling with Sonny” that are written in the same style. These songs are important to learn because they are a brilliant way to become familiar with the correct playing style in an easy to learn format. This really helps our Sax School students to progress quickly.
What if I don’t like jazz?
I get it. Jazz isn’t for everyone. However the wonderful thing about being a sax player is exploring lots of different playing styles. Each one will help you to develop your skills, and that will quickly make you a more rounded and confident performer. In Sax School we encourage our students to try all styles from classical to pop, jazz to blues, ska to soul. You might be surprised at what you enjoy most!
Ready to start learning?
Rolling with Sonny is available now inside the Sax School lesson library. Members can find it here.
If you are not yet a member of Sax School, grab our free 14 day trial to explore these lessons, plus our entire library of other jazz standard, technique and song lessons PLUS get access to our tutor team, extensive Masterclass Archive and our worldwide Community of other learners.