The summer between my sophomore and junior year at UC Davis, I was an ennui-suffering clarinet player in the Cal Aggie Marching Band-uh! At that time, I was good enough that the clarinet was just not providing enough challenge to hold my interest. I was looking for a change. And boy, I sure found one, in the suggestion of then faculty director Jonathan Elkus, who clued me in to the existence of a 1920's Buescher bass saxophone sitting idle in the music department. I acquired it, started playing it with the Aggie Band, and have been forever hooked on bass saxophones ever since.
I was fortunate enough to play that Buescher horn for 2 years, during which I learned to play it (without hyperventilating from lack of oxygen), high step using just a neckstrap during football shows and the like, sight transposed and memorized music hodgepodged together from sousaphone and bari sax folders, and enjoyed the sound of it and attention I would get whenever I would play. After graduation, I had thought I would never again have such an opportunity to be able to play such a wonderful horn.
Years later, I would be fortunate to acquire a Depression-era Holton bass sax, which today is still my absolute favorite horn to play. I play with several organizations, including the Cal Aggie Alumni Marching Band-uh!, California Repercussions and LSJUMB (Stanford Band). I have enjoyed playing in the annual San Jose Saxophone Christmas event for the past few years, and have managed to get myself recorded in various venues. I figure I had better play as long as I can, because at some point I know that hefting around a 19 pound horn with most of the weight resting on my right thumb might eventually become too much to do. I guess I could always switch to bari sax :-) Or piccolo lol.
I feel fortunate that I have been able to find a way to express myself musically that is both unusual and eclectic. It won't ever make me any great amount of money, but that's not what this is about. I love bass saxophones!