Famous Catholic Saxophonists?

Good afternoon all,
Does anyone know of any famous Catholic saxophonists, or better yet, any saints who played? I tried looking for the patron saint of saxophones and nothing seemed to leap out of the search engine. I know there’s a fairly notorious lifestyle associated with jazz musicians which is often not compatible with our ethics, but there must be at least one, no?

The reason I ask is I received a tenor saxophone for my 30th birthday and really want to learn how to play. Now, I have dabbled in learning an instrument in the past: tried percussion and loved it, provided I were not the only one keeping time; Tried guitar and, quite frankly, couldn’t make it do anything heart-felt enough; Tried violin and recoiled from the sound it made, throwing salt over my shoulder for good measure - anyone who doesn’t believe the devil is real has to try learning the violin; Now this instrument really speaks to me - oh sure it makes my face tickle, and I feel like I’m going through adolescence again because of the out-of-control octave shifts, but I have a determined desire to control that.

For now I shall have to stick to asking St Gregory the Great and the other patrons of musicians to pray for me as I learn, but would be nice to find someone sax specific.

Thanks, and may you all have a blessed weekend.

Charlie (Yardbird) Parker was Catholic. He had lifestyle issues, of course.

The great baritone sax player Gerry Mulligan attended Catholic schools but this doesn’t mean he was Catholic of course.

Check out these links:



Thanks for those links - I like the idea of Gabriel blowing the final saxophone :slight_smile:

I am with you re Gabriel on Sax. I am glad you took up an instrument at 30. I played trombone in high school but it really wasn’t my ax. In my low 50s, I took up flute because both of my children played and we had a flute around the house. My experience with the flute was very much like yours on the violin. Two years ago, at the age of 58, I took up guitar. It was one of the best decisions I ever made. I wish I had done it when I was 30and had more supple hands. Good Luck with the sax! Maybe we can both jam with Gabe one day.

get some lessons, but be very careful about choice of teacher. at the beginning stage you need someone who will show you the rudiments, help you set up the horn, mouthpiece, reeds, ligature, make sure the horn is properly repaired, so that you’renot fighting it to make good sound. You sound like you specifically wnat to play commercial/jazz, so you want a setup that will enable that type of approach, rather than a more legitimate approach such as wind ensemble or small orchestral repertoire that saxophone is used for. these various applications use very different types of equipment in the area of mouthpiece especially.

I strongly advise against tying to learn without a teacher, unless you have previous woodwind experience, and already understand musical ideas. You seem to be motivated, but risk becoming frustrated if you don’t progress. progress takes lots of time and application, and you will surely want to have a guide to help you find the right keys to push.

Good luck! if you have specific questions PM me. Oh yes I am a Catholic sax player but definitely NOT a saint, LOL.

I heard that Blessed Notkar Balbulus played a wicked sax but don’t quote me on that…

Adolphe Sax invented the saxophone in the mid 1840s. Notkar B. lived circa 840-920 so I won’t quote you about his sax playing.

Adolphe Sax invented the saxophone in the mid 1840s. Notkar B. lived circa 840-920 so I won’t quote you about his sax playing.

Adolphe Sax invented the saxophone in the mid 1840s. Notkar B. lived circa 840-920 so I won’t quote you about his sax playing.

Adolphe Sax invented the saxophone in the mid 1840s. Notkar B. lived circa 840-920 so I won’t quote you about his sax playing.

A wind ensemble is more legitimate than a jazz group?!! I think Lester Young, Coleman Hawkins, John Coltrane, Paul Desmond, Joshua Redman, Gerry Mulligan, Ornette Coleman, Sonny Rollins, Eric Dolphy, Stan Getz, Johnny Hodges, Branford Marsalis, Wayne Shorter, Jane Ira Bloom, etc., etc. would dispute your point of view.

This sounds like very sound advice. One thing I am bad at is seeking assistance - I used to call it independance, but slowly coming round to the idea of my being too stubborn for my own good. Will have to look around for teachers after next month.

Not yet anyway :wink: Thank you very much.

Well, there’s this:


as a gen rule when jazz players refer to nonjazz music, especially “classical” music, and oftentimes wind ensemble music, a large portion of which is transciptions/adaptations of “classical” music, they will use the term “legitimate music”

I don’t know where the usage originates. But if you recall it wasn’t until 1938 that jazz broke the Carnegie Hall barrier, and there was no small controversy surrounding that event of Benny Goodman Band concert there. In those days the prevailing opinion of what were called “long hairs” was that jazz was illegitimate music, and maybe that is the beginnings of it. I always assumed that jazz musicians adopted the term as a way of setting themselves apart from the hoity toity, with pride, mind you.

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