Alto – played as it was meant to be !

There is a conception, shared by me, that real saxophone players are tenor players. Despite some valid exceptions, altos are the domain of girls, students and Charlie Parker.   I found this recording of the Doobie Bros., Long Train Running, with one Marc Russo on alto.


This has changed my view… He plays alto as the sax was meant to be played, despite looking like the sort of chap who has a dog on a string & asks if you have any loose change. Absolutely brilliant in my view, what a player -his solo starts about 1 minute thirty into the clip
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5 Responses to Alto – played as it was meant to be !

  1. Lewis Pelham says:

    Surely the only consolation is that the band is playing in C. This must have been in deference to the sax, because the Doobies usually play Long Train Running in E.
     Had Marc Russo been playing in his C# then I think that I would have jumped on my saxophones & taken up bowls.  🙄

  2. alan says:

    I have no doubt that Marc could have handled it in C#, but in A he was possibly a little more fluid with the high harmonics…:lol:  It needed to be an alto to scream above the sound – notice how well it fitted on top of the ‘keyboard‘ brass/horn section in the second part of the video !  Luvverly….

    Did you see this other Doobie Bros’ from 1976 on YouTube  ?  Same tune, longer hair, no sax….  No contest, I echo your 🙄

  3. Mal-2 says:

    I don’t know what key they usually play it in live, but this is the studio recording key.

    What threw me for a loop were all the Tower of Power horn licks. It was a chuckle at first, then I realized that he’d be doing this the whole song. I just wonder if this was designed in, or if they just told him "this wasn’t written as a horn tune, make something up".

    I bet he can scream like that on tenor as well, but he has a nice, full sound on alto, so it probably makes it easier to do it this way (despite the extra sharp).

  4. Gandalfe says:

    Geesh, the next thang you’re gonna do is "discover" Maceo Parker". 😈

    Alan, I stealed this again for my blog. You do find great stuff.

  5. alan says:

    Gandalfe – I can’t claim the credit for this one, look under the title ( Lewis’ postings, lewis @ 10:55 am … )

    Yes. this is a co-author blog 😉  Always open for requests to be an author here, I’ll even do the fancy layout if needed – just give me the info and links – saves me racking my brains to find another topic 😆

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