Courtney Pine explores the history of an instrument created for the symphony orchestra, but which found its authentic voice in jazz.
After its invention by Adolphe Sax in the 1840s, the saxophone languished in obscurity until its fortunes were transformed by the genius of Sidney Bechet, Coleman Hawkins and Lester Young.
With the Bebop revolution, the saxophone emerged as the most important front line instrument in jazz.
The saxophone was ideally suited to freeform jazz and its fluid stream of consciousness improvising.
At the same time, by finding itself through jazz, the sax has now firmly established its voice in popular music and culture.