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An emblem of soulful, stylized music, the saxophone has earned a place in classical, jazz, and marching band music since its invention in 1846. The alto saxophone is the favorite of many admired musicians from classical virtuosos like Marcel Mule and Sigurd Raschèr to jazz musicians like Art Pepper and Charlie Parker. Regardless of the genre, Woodwind and Brasswind has a wide selection of alto saxophones for any level and style of musician.
Considered the founder of the French Saxophone School, Marcel Mule learned to play the saxophone at a very young age from his father who himself had learned the instrument during military service. Like his father, Mule played in the military band during World War I. After Mule’s military service, he played with numerous orchestras and later formed a quartet called Quator de la Garde Républicaine. Since there was no music written for saxophone quartets, Mule transcribed music from Mozart and other composers to fit the sound of his group. Soon popular composers like Gabriel Pierre, Florent Schmitt, and Alexander Glazunov became inspired by the quartet to create music for it. This quartet did much to establish the voice of the saxophone and led Marcel Mule to head the saxophone program at the Paris Conservatoire and also to tour with the Boston Symphony playing some of the best pieces for the saxophone such as Jacques Ibert’s "Conertino da Camera" and Henri Tomasi’s "Ballade."
While musicians like Marcel Mule established the saxophone’s voice in the classical world, the saxophone also captured the imagination of jazz musicians. Exceptional alto sax players like Charlie "Yardbird" Parker did much to increase the popularity of this instrument. An uncompromising artist, Parker moved in and around Kansas City, New York City, and Chicago as he played with various jazz groups or as a soloist. While working a stint as a dishwasher in a New York restaurant, Parker met Biddy Fleet who taught him about instrumental harmony. As Charlie "Bird" Parker’s music matured he became involved with acts in Harlem like Dizzy Gillespie and Thelonious Monk. He also can be heard on memorable jazz recordings of songs like "Serpian Bounce" and "Confessing the Blues." Charlie Parker is known as one of the founders of be-bop.
Whether your aspirations with the alto sax are to become the next Marcel Mule or to succeed the greatness of Charlie Parker, a variety of instruments are available to enable you to achieve the optimal sound. Among the most popular are Yamaha alto saxophones. A company dedicated to constantly improving their product, Yamaha has recently introduced an evolved version of their popular 875 alto saxophone. The Yamaha YAS-875EX Custom Series Alto Saxophone is redesigned after extensive research and professional musician input. The result is a responsive instrument with a colorful sound well-suited for the classical player. Another time honored saxophone brand is Selmer Paris. Their Series II Model S2 Jubilee Edition Alto Saxophone features a thin, beautiful design and is 100% French handmade. For the finest quality among alto saxes, you need look no further.
Professional musicians aside, Woodwind and Brasswind also offers a plethora of student saxophones, intermediate saxophones, and marching instruments so as to offer the perfect alto sax for any player. If you need help selecting an alto saxophone, be sure to read our Saxophone Buying Guide. If you need help with accessories, we have a Saxophone Mouthpiece Buying Guide and a Saxophone Reeds Buying Guide. You can also gain a wealth of knowledge through our saxophone articles like Tips for Becoming a Saxophonist and Saxophone Essential Care and Cleaning.
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