Each year, there are over 1,500 nationally recognized days. I know what you’re thinking. That’s about four special days per day. That’s a lot of days. And while there are several with fairly significant meaning – Christmas and Easter come to mind – clearly, the day of all days is today. November 6 is National Saxophone Day. Why do we celebrate National Saxophone Day? The obvious answer is that I’m an old sax player. But there is actually more to it than that.
National Saxophone Day commemorates the birth of the woodwind’s inventor, Adolphe Sax. And as anyone knows, the sax is the most important instrument in any jazz band.
Mr. Sax was born on November 6, 1814. He invented several musical instruments, but the sax is the most significant. Sax constructed the sax in several sizes in the early 1840s, and on June 28, 1846, Sax received a 15-year patent for the sax. The patent encompassed 14 different versions of the fundamental design, split into two categories of seven instruments each and ranging from sopranino to contrabass.
After the patent expired in 1866, several saxophone and instrument manufacturers implemented their own improvements to the original design.
History has given us some magnificent sax players. Here are some of my favorites: Boots Randolph, Kenny G, Jimmy Dorsey, and Mark Denison.
That last name is oddly omitted from many of the lists of great sax players.
For me, it all started when I was 12 years of age. My dad brought home a tenor sax one day and handed it to me. Now our musical family was complete. Mom played piano, dad played trombone, and my brother played trumpet. Move over, Beethoven!
From junior high to senior high to college, I played a Selmer Mark VI, the best sax ever made. Later I added a beautiful Yamaha soprano to my collection. I used to sit two of my three saxes on stands in my office. I didn’t really play them anymore, but they made me look good.
Playing the sax gave me a love for music. I hope you’ll share this love today. Go find a sax player and thank him for keeping the tradition alive.
As for a formal celebration, you are encouraged to listen to some great saxophone music.
Thank you, Mr. Sax, for giving us the sax.