Here's a short story by Alfred Philip - (What Made Me Start Playing the Saxophone at Age 54), one of our saxophone community member. It's never too late to learn and pick up saxophone. I hope his story will motivate all sax players as well.
My mantra has always been: I will start playing the Sax when I retire from work, but when I met this young and talented saxophone player during the afterparty of last year's Curacao North Sea Jazz Festival, he changed my mind. I talked to him after his gig and before I knew he sold me an Antigua saxophone of Chinese make for only $400.
Long before this, however, I was raised in a musical environment: My dad played records of Nat King Cole and he mastered the harmonica, the guitar and keyboard, my brother played the sax (Martin) but stopped and continued with percussion and singing in a band, my elder sister played the flute when she was in secondary school, my youngest sister sings in a salsa band and is a salsa instructor and yet another sister is a good samba and salsa dancer. I was in fact the only sibling of 5 that didn't actively dance or play an instrument, but this didn't mean I didn't like music. I loved it, especially soul, rhythm and blues and jazz music.
The other tunes and beats of music I can remember from an early age, were the ones I heard from my elder brother's record player and Akai tape recorder. He used to throw these great parties during the late sixties and I always loved listening to the horn sections in the likes of James Brown, Atetha Franklin, Otis Redding (sitting on the dock of the bay)Wilson Picket, Sam & Dave, that reached me all the way up in the attic where I was supposed to sleep.
When I was about 13 years old I went to the flea market at the Waterlooplein (Waterloo square) in Amsterdam and after I had strolled around for a few minutes I heard the sound of a saxophone! I sharpened my ears to be able to hear where the sound was coming from and in a while I found this artist that sold wooden saxophones. I was in awe: never had I seen such a beautiful sax made from bamboo wood.
He had not one but several of these extraordinary saxophones that were for sale. I informed after the price and it was quite a lot of money: 200 Dutch florins (In those days the currency was still guilders which would now be the equivalent of a $100). I didn't know what I know now: I should have bought the saxophone so I would have had a very exclusive saxophone and be an advanced player instead of a middle aged man struggling with titlesongs of movies like the Titanic “I will go on”.
Since that time I have never seen a saxophone made out of wood again and that's why I regret not having bought one even though I had to borrow the money to buy one at the time. Maybe I should Google one on the internet to see what it looked like, because I have no idea whether I will recognize one when I see one. What I do remember is the sound: everybody was listening when this saxophone builder played his self-built saxophones.
Next time I will tell about listening to Spyro Gyra at full blast on an eight track recorder in my very first car: a small Datsun Cherry heading for Narbonne in the south of France.
PS: This is one of the pics I found:
None of them looks like the ones I saw back then.