The Devil's Horn: The Story of the Saxophone, from Noisy Novelty to King of Cool

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Macmillan, Oct 15, 2005 - Music - 324 pages
In The Devil's Horn, Michael Segell traces the 160-year history of the saxophone-a horn that created a sound never before heard in nature, and that from the moment it debuted has aroused both positive and negative passions among all who hear it. The saxophone has insinuated itself into virtually every musical idiom that has come along since its birth as well as into music with traditions thousands of years old. But it has also been controversial, viewed as a symbol of decadence, immorality and lasciviousness: it was banned in Japan, saxophonists have been sent to Siberian lockdown by Communist officials, and a pope even indicted it.

Segell outlines the saxophone's fascinating history while he highlights many of its legendary players, including Benny Carter, Illinois Jacquet, Sonny Rollins, Lee Konitz, Phil Woods, Branford Marsalis, and Michael Brecker. The Devil's Horn explores the saxophone's intersections with social movement and change, the innovative acoustical science behind the instrument, its struggles in the world of "legit" music, and the mystical properties that seduce all who fall under its influence. Colorful, evocative, and richly informed, The Devil's Horn is an ingenious portrait of one of the most popular instruments in the world.

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The devil's horn: the story of the saxophone, from noisy novelty to the king of cool

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

The traumatic birth of the saxophone from the fervent mind and acoustical craftsmanship of Adolphe Sax in Belgium and, later, in Paris; the instrument's role in connecting Brussels and scattered bits ... Read full review

Review: The Devil's Horn: The Story of the Saxophone, from Noisy Novelty to King of Cool

User Review  - Bill - Goodreads

As a guy who loves the sax but hasn't taken the time to get very good at it, I particularly dug this book. The other ties together his own journey in learning to play the sax with the history of the ... Read full review

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About the author (2005)

Michael Segell is an editor at the Daily News, an amateur percussionist and saxophone player, and a professional music lover. He lives with his wife and children in New York City and Long Eddy, New York.

Michael Segell's writing has appeared in numerous publications, including The New York Times, Rolling Stone, Sports Illustrated, and Esquire, where he wrote the popular column "The Male Mind" for three years. He has received two National Magazine Award nominations for his work.

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