Last Saturday night, Britain’s Got Talent crowned its new victor, but to the surprise of many around the globe, it was not Susan Boyle. No, the amazing Scottish singer, whose performances have been viewed on YouTube over 250 million times already, and who propelled the show to international audiences, came in 2nd to a dance troupe named Diversity.
But what is perhaps even more surprising than Susan Boyle coming in 2nd, is that soprano saxophonist Julian Smith came in 3rd. If you haven’t yet seen one of Smith’s performances, you can check out his smooth jazz rendition of Eric Carmen’s power ballad, All By Myself.
But as sure as spring follows winter, it was inevitable that as soon as Smith appeared on the radar screen, “pundits” on sax discussion boards would be offering up their opinions about Smith, his playing style, his use of electronics, his tone, his use of vibrato, his style of dress, etc, etc. Needless to say, most of the comments were not flattering of Julian Smith’s style.
To get a sampling of what I mean, just do search for Julian Smith on SOTW; you’ll soon get the idea. There are a number of threads which mention him, and the ones I’ve seen all seem to contain at least a few posts that diss Smith in one way or another.
In one of these threads about Julian Smith, saxophonist, recording artist, collector of rare horns, and repair tech Randy Emerick, offered up the following thoughts regarding this dissing phenomena:
…it is interesting that professional saxophone players tend to destroy other sax players who become successful, even when they are competent, when they achieve commercial success.
Kenny G is a good example. Commercial music is full of saxophone players, from the best, like Paul Horn, Plas Johnson, King Curtis, Pete Christlieb, to others, who can’t even produce a good sound on their instrument. Why pick on Kenny, who is surely not the worst of the successful players?
There is a market for saxophone players on top-40 records. Let’s not destroy the few who get the gigs.
Thank you Randy.
Let’s all contemplate this while we go to our respective woodsheds and go through our daily practice routines. After all, as saxophonists, isn’t that what we really should be focusing on?