On this Friday November 6, a Walloon is honoured on the homepage of Google. 201 years ago was born the brilliant inventor of the Saxophone.
Antoine Joseph, called Adolph Sax was born on November 6 1814 in Dinant, a Walloon city in the province of Namur, situated on the right side of the Meuse. Plunged in the music world from early childhood thanks to his father Charles Sax, a musical instruments maker, he was a musical instruments maker, a soloist, an acoustician, a compositor, a conductor, an instructor and an editor. Like his father before him, Adolph continuously looked for making new improvements to instruments. As a precocious child, he was 16 years old when he presented two flutes and a clarinet made of ivory during the industrial competition in Brussels.
Adolph Sax created the first saxophone, a baritone in fa in 1842. Thirteen years later, this new wind instrument was exhibited for the first time at the Industrial Exposition in Paris and in 1944, thanks to Hector Berlioz, a close friend of Sax and his “Sacred Music”, the saxophone took place for the first time in a musical orchestra.
The saxophone industry developed in the United States essentially, at the end of the XIXe and above all at the beginning of the XXe century. Symbol of the Afro-American music, it owes its popularity to the Jazz and to artists such as Charlie Parker, Sonny Rollins, Michael Brecker, King Oliver, Jelly Roll Morton, Louis Armstrong or even Fletcher Henderson. From the 20s and thanks to Coleman Hawkins, a member of the “Fletcher Henderson Band”, the saxophone progressively became an unavoidable soloist instrument.
Adolph sax is also the creator of several families of instruments like the saxhorns, the saxtrombas as well as the saxtubas. More than a talented musician, this Walloon was a genius and an outstanding inventor who durably influenced the music History and does Wallonia proud still today.