Ornette Coleman
Happy Birthday, Adolphe Sax!

Happy Birthday, Adolphe Sax!

Today marks the 200th birthday of Adolphe Sax, an event being celebrated with challenging quizzes and the revisiting of iconic public performances.

Here at NMBx, we also took the occasion to go digging through the archives in order to revisit some of the wise words and remarkable talent that players of this instrument have brought to our site.

Ornette Coleman

Ornette Coleman
Photo by Andy Newcombe, via Flickr

“The sound is made from the instrument. The ideas are made from your brain. The ideas and the sound actually meet. They don’t necessarily meet to make love. Sometimes they’re meeting to make war. What I mean by war is that I can take my horn and play something and if the note that I’m playing doesn’t match the other note, but I like the note that I didn’t play, I can’t go back and erase that.”

–Ornette Coleman: Freedom of Expression

Read the full interview


“The saxophone is always going to be at the core of everything that I do because the saxophone taught me a lot about feeling and emotion and connection. The saxophone, the alto in particular, connects to people in a way that the other saxophones don’t sometimes. I remember Henry Threadgill talking about how he switched from tenor to alto. He was playing in church revivals and realized that the alto brought the Holy Ghost to people. I need the saxophone as an anchor. When I’ve tried to unanchor it, my life has gone insane. It is my tool to work through things, and when things get too overwhelming, I’m also able to shave down and go right back to the alto, and it’s like, okay, this is the heart of everything. It’s the heart of everything that I do.”

–Matana Roberts: Creative Defiance

Read the full interview


“Many artists themselves are caught up in ego trips. They want to be the next star. They want to be the next ‘it’ phenomenon. And so they put their chips into the basket of the big forces and don’t see themselves really as opposition, as subversives, as guerrillas.”

–Fred Ho: Turning Pain Into Power

Read the full interview

NewMusicBox provides a space for those engaged with new music to communicate their experiences and ideas in their own words. Articles and commentary posted here reflect the viewpoints of their individual authors; their appearance on NewMusicBox does not imply endorsement by New Music USA.

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