Alain L – Tenor Sax
Greetings everyone. I’m a tenor saxophonist originally from Belgium but based in Canada in the Toronto region.
I’m a college professor locally so that I can invest in my jazz hobby 🙂
I have had an ear for jazz since I was a kid when my mom would play this cassette tape (remember those) with the label “Satchmo” on it. I couldn’t read a note or play anything (I never had a music program in my small schools).
Spending a few years in Houston, Tx and later in Montreal, Canada as a student, I was drawn especially to all jazz programming mainly in festivals. I even volunteered at the Toronto jazz fest for many years when it actually had solid jazz content. I would bump into many musicians and just chat when the opportunity presented itself. Some wondered if I played and since I didn’t, many encouraged me to just play.
After completing the formal education, and with time on my hands, and realizing that life’s too short, I started taking sax lessons and learning how to read music note by note. This was around 2003. I started with the Aebersold play-alongs and even attended jazz camp in my first year. Our combo instructor acted like a drill sergeant but luckily he didn’t destroy my interest in progressing. In fact, that end of week combo got me to improvise in a relaxed way and more so than others in the group. Of course, I would not want to hear that tape but it was a good start.
I played for a few years with a Latin Jazz group which was technically a class at the local conservatory. It was fun but the problem is that for years I had no direction or concept to improvise.
Thanks to the pandemic, I made a new concerted effort to deepen my understanding of jazz in the hope of becoming a better musician and improvisor. I follow the Kenny Werner approach and not put pressure on sounding the best or letting the ego dominate but to just play. As an academic, I thought that jazz theory would set me free but that’s not the reality. It can provide a framework to check what you learn.
I am in a jazz band with people who are not comfortable improvising but it’s my first post-pandemic stint.
I am hoping to incorporate my practicing and playing in the midst of the day job and hope to find like-minded people to play with on jazz standards and classic tunes.
Hope to make great strides this year. Let’s support and encourage each other in the new Steve Kortyka studio! I am hopeful for the direction and methodology to take us to our respective new levels.