In 1841 Adolphe Sax had a dream of an instrument whose voice could command the heavens or make the angels weep with delight. He in visioned a horn whose basso-profondo voice would bridge the gap between the wind and stringed instruments. The lyrically exquisite instrument he created first was the bass saxophone. Though keyed in the key of “C” for orchestral use, it’s depth of character was everything Adolphe could have hoped for.
Now more than 150 years later the composer Jan van Dijk created a haunting showpiece for the saxophonist Andreas van Zoelen. This piece was written for the bass saxophone in its original intended home, the chamber orchestra. Van Zoelen gives life to the lines and weaves them into and out of the ensemble. While this piece is quite short it still displays Van Zoelen’s command of his instrument and his musicality. The bass sax tone is near to that of a bassoon at times yet still unmistakably sax’ish. It’s controlled and absolutely in tune with the rest of the ensemble.
TAKE AWAY: I hear hints of Gustav Mahler in the scoring but that’s a great thing. If ever there was a bass saxophone tone I would want to emulate it is this one. Turn up your speakers and enjoy. Actually, there is one other bass tone i’d emulate and that is of Bert Brandsma of the Dixieland Crackerjacks.
ONE MORE THING: Please, someone send this video to the folks at J’Elle Stainer and let them know that this is what a silky bass could sound like and to emulate it all the way down their line.