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The Birth of Jazz was somewhere around the 1910’s. The saxophone was patented in 1846 and by the 1850’s lots of saxophonists began to play the instrument in the European military bands because of the considerable volume it could produce compared to the other woodwind instruments. At the same time, classical musicians, picked up the new woodwind instrument and began to write for it and play it in a classical style.
One of the earliest classical pieces written for the saxophone was in 1860, called “Fantasie for Saxophone and Piano”, by Jules Demersseman, who was an early virtuoso on the instrument. It took a while for more serious classical composers to begin to use it in their works, but Debussy used the saxophone in 1901 and Ravel in 1903, which was several years before jazz was born.
Besides Adolphe Sax himself, there were a number of saxophone players who made the saxophone famous before jazz. For example, this is rare footage of a couple of saxophone virtuosos (Rudy Wiedoeft and Benny Krueger) who were playing saxophone in a Classical/Ragtime style. For anyone who has an interest in the beginning stages of the saxophone, this is guaranteed to make you smile!