Another in my “Famous Belgians” series of entries is the story of Adolphe Sax, the inventor of the saxophone.
Born Antoine-Joseph Sax November 6, 1814, in Dinant, Belgium, Sax came from musical instrument inventor parents. As a child he submitted improvements to the flute and clarinet, which won him some acclaim as a musical instrument designer.
Sax was also known as a man who nearly died from a litany of accidents and mishaps. An early biography lists the following scrapes with death: a three story fall, swallowed a pin at age 3, accidentally drank poison, burns from hot cast iron pan, nearly drowned in the local river, among others.
Between hospital visits, Sax relocated to Paris in 1841 and began work making notable improvement to the bass clarinet and valved bugels that led to the creation of the first flugelhorn. A few years later, in 1846, he patented his design which he most renowned, the saxophone.
Sax acquired a position at the Paris Conservatory teaching saxophone lessons. He spent the rest of his life in litigation with other instrument makers who challenged his company’s patents. Sax died penniless in 1894 and is buried in the Montmartre Cemetery in Paris.
Thank you Adolphe Sax, for without you the world might have been deprived of the genius of Charlie Parker, John Coltrane or Thelonious Monk. Then again, had you left well-enough alone, we might also have been spared the plaintive strains of Kenny G softly violating airspace in hotel lobbies, dentist offices and elevators around the world.
But we’ll have an opportunity for you to come and hear the true music for Sax’s own instrument on Saturday, April 30 for our 2nd installment of the Boom Room Jazz series.
Brad Bellows & Company will make a return to the taproom for this next concert to entertain you for the evening. As always, there is no cover and music will begin promptly at 7pm. A tapping of our newest Rotator beer, which I hear is a spring saison, will occur during the performance. Come out for fresh beer and fresh jazz!
More info on the next Boom Room Jazz can be found here: April Jazz