Edgar Winter: The Raunchiest Alto Sax Of Them All
By John Ferreira
One of my favorite all time musicians is Edgar Winter. He's one of a very few alto sax players that inspired my playing as a tenor saxophonist. He's one of those guys that get's a really good, big raunchy rock & roll sound on the alto sax. When people talk about rock & roll sax it's almost always referring to a tenor player, but Edgar just screams and wails as bad as any rockin' tenor.
I've talked to people that knew of Edgar Winter and didn't even realize he was a saxophonist. Truth is he's so multi talented he doesn't even need to pick up his horn. The guy sings and plays keyboards just as well. Some of his big hit songs from the 70's like "Free Ride" and "Just Hangin Around" didn't even have sax in them so it's understandable how that could get by the casual fan.
Remember his big hit "Frankenstein"? Didn't sing in this instrumental but displayed his amazing talents on the timbale solo, synthesizer solo, and sax section solo. The same year Frankenstein came out Edgar Winter & The White Trash put out a live album called Roadwork. This album is great on so many levels. Besides the band leader on vocals, piano, and alto sax, there was another great singer named Jerry Lacroix who also played sax (tenor) and Jon Smith who played most of the rockin' tenor sax solos.
While the Frankenstein record was being played on all FM radio stations in North America the Roadwork album came out and was completely different. White Trash played R&B, rootsy rock & roll, gospel, and funk flavored tunes. You couldn't pigeon hole these guys like you could every other artist that was on the radio in those days, I guess thats why I like them so much, they really were different.
A little later in 1974 The Edgar Winter Group released "Shocktreatment", a rockin' album full of great pop songs. A good example of Edgar's sax sound is on a great Dan Hartman song "Easy Street". Hartman was a talented songwriter and the bass player in this group's line up. This Edgar Winter alto sax solo is nothing short of perfect!
Johnny Ferreira is an award winning saxophonist, international touring and recording artist. Advocator of saxophone music that rocks, jumps, and swings. For more information, music, and articles including audio samples visit http://johnnyferreira.com/