As Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band fans mourn over the passing of their soulful sax man, Clarence Clemons, it has become quite clear that we may never hear another sax player in rock.
David Hinckley of the New York Daily News wrote an excellent eulogy for Clemons, but also decided to mourn the saxophone’s disappearance from rock composition. His history, more or less complete, notes that while saxophone is naturally an element of even modern jazz and fusion, the saxophone used to be a major driving force for rock and R&B as well, a sound that become lost overtime as bands decided to get dumber and crank the guitars way the hell up.
Hell, even the Stooges had SOME saxophone in some of their compositions. The Stooges, people!
So in honor of Clemons, as you’re spinning “Born to Run” for the umpteenth time since yesterday, be sure to take a note of what the saxophone does for rock and roll. And be sure to consider some of the least likely places you’ll find a great saxophone performance in rock.
And be sure to list some of your favorites in the comments section.