The One Who Got Away

smilie fishing, smilie saxophone player, the one who got away, distressed smilie, fishing pole

If you’ve read my blog for a while, you may know that I have been fascinated with the saxophone backlash that accompanied our instrument’s exploding popularity in the early 20th century. For example, sax players found themselves: with limited practice space options as their neighbours complained to the police, the courts, and anyone else who would listen; the punch line of jokes; the subject of scathing editorials; or on the outs with many repressive regimes.

However, not all saxophone players were caught up in this web of saxophone bashing and saxophobia. Occasionally one slipped through the cracks as it were, and got away.

Today’s trip down saxophone memory lane, is the story of one such player. This lucky musician is the one who got away from the police as they raided a Baltimore nightclub trying to silence the saxophone player. It comes to us from the July 7, 1934 edition of The Lewiston Daily Sun.

newspaper article, Lewiston Daily Sun July 7, 1934, police raid nightclub trying to silence the sax player, he was the one that got away

I can’t help but chuckle at this story. In 1934 the saxophone was obviously playing acoustically. Sure, a saxophone could have been loud, but I suspect that the other two pieces of the trio—presumably drums and ?—would have been just as loud. Just how badly was this sax player playing, to cause such a fuss?

Don’t forget that in 1934 the electric guitar was not that far away. The 1930s and 40s were the decades when the instrument was invented and became a staple in professional bands and orchestras.1 Although I have not researched it, I would suspect that the neighbours of these nightclubs would have been calling the police more as the musical genres changed, and the electric guitar became the cornerstone of rock ‘n roll. But I digress…

Getting back to the one who got away, this fellow managed to get the court in Baltimore to levy a fine for future saxophone performances after midnight. According to the Inflation Calculator of the US Dept. of Labor, the $26.45 of 1934, would be $459.83 in 2013. I don’t know what the going rate for a sax player in Baltimore is, but around here a player would have to work about four gigs to pay off that fine. :saxy:


1 Source: Wikipedia page on the Electric Guitar

…this is just my blog. My “real” website is If you’re looking for sax info, you should check it out too.There’s lots there!

Returning Players: A Logic Model

Returning players: there are lots of them who share similar backstories

Over the past 10 or 15 years I have met quite a few saxophone players who have picked up the instrument again after taking many years off for a variety of reasons. During this same time period I have also chatted online or via email with many players from around the globe, who also have returned to playing saxophone after a many year hiatus.

All this chatting with returning players got me thinking last year about how so many of them had similar stories. Many had started playing saxophone in school. Then, for whatever reason, they gave up the sax, and concentrated on their families, careers, and lives in general.

Once the saxophone spark was reignited in these former players, their stories continued to be quite similar. A common thread in all their stories was the Internet, and very often the largest saxophone forum in the world, Sax On The Web (SOTW), featured prominently in their return to saxophone playing.

A logic model depicting the life of a fictitious returning player

These experiences of returning players inspired me to come up with a type of logic model that represents the saxophone-playing life of one such fictitious returning saxophone player. This model is based on the maps of the subway systems we see in cities around the world.

Although partially inspired by the life events of others, this is a work of fiction. No one person is represented in this diagram, and this is not based on any one person’s real life experiences.

Think of the following as a humorous logic model that makes us take a closer look at where and how our sources of information have changed over the past 15 or so years. I guess it’s the educator in me that wonders if all this crazy-large amount of info available to us is really useful, or if it’s just become a source of confusion and distraction. :scratch:

logic model, sax player's possible experiences, returning player, subway system-inspired map,

In hindsight, there is another area I could have added. Buying beater horns and getting into DIY horn repair is another area that seems to be a common theme for returning players. Oh well, transit systems do undergo expansions as required, and budgets allow. I’ll have to get in touch with the urban planning department. ;)

…this is just my blog. My “real” website is If you’re looking for sax info, you should check it out too.There’s lots there!

Sax On The Brain: Photographic Proof

Sax on the brain? I don’t think so. I’ve been way to sick for that.

On Saturday I finally got the “all clear” comment on my lungs. Meaning that after more than a week of such violent coughing that my abs are still sore, the seven days of crazy-strong antibiotics seem to have done their job, and I’m over my pneumonia.

Since our Christmas party on December 21, I’ve been out of the house exactly twice: once for Christmas dinner, and the second time two days later to go to the walk-in clinic. Somehow I also managed to pick up a secondary cold virus though, which is still hanging on. (My money’s on the walk-in clinic, where I shared the waiting room for 10 minutes with 20 people, who all seemed to have a respiratory ailment of some sort!)

Although I am getting a little bit better every day, I’m still not getting over this secondary virus, which means I’m at greater risk for the H1N1 flu virus that is currently spreading like wildfire in BC. Hopefully by the time I have an appointment with my doctor on the 13th this month, I’ll be well enough to get this year’s flu shot. Until then, I likely will be staying close to home, or only venturing outside with a gov’t approved mask….  ;)

biohazard mask, US government employees, biohazard suites

Courtesy of Oak Ridge National Laboratory, U.S. Dept. of Energy

Needless to say all this homeboundness has led to a wee case of cabin fever. Furthermore being as ill as I still am, it is also not conducive to playing saxophone. Hence the last time I played was way back in December.

Finally well enough to have sax on the brain again….

Over the past three or four days, as I’ve started to feel better, and haven’t needed to sleep so much during the day, I’ve slowly started to think about saxophone-related topics again. (Although I did fall asleep for two hours while writing this article yesterday morning, so perhaps I’m not over this illness as much as I thought I was.) Sadly, my brain is still too mushy to be able to take the one profound thought that I have had, and write a proper article about it. The concept requires some logic and research on my part—skills that still illude me to a large degree.

Nonetheless, I can say that I once again suffer from what many of us suffer from: sax on the brain.

sax on the brain, glass skull, Crystal Head Vodka bottle,silver saxophone pendant, black onyx, cyrstal,

As I shake of the remnants of the bacterial infection that has resided inside my lungs and sinuses since late last year, here’s to hoping that the rest of 2014 is much healthier for all of us. They predicted this would be a bad year for viruses, so let’s try to stay healthy.

I know many of you are buried under piles of ice and snow ATM, but I hope that this cold and flu season is a mild one for you. By all accounts, the winter certainly isn’t go to be. It looks like a good season to stay indoors and do a lot of sax playing—in between rounds of snow blowing and shovelling that is!

…this is just my blog. My “real” website is If you’re looking for sax info, you should check it out too.There’s lots there!