When one thinks of saxophonists in Popular Music, there is always something “old school “ to them.
They are usually side players or guys “blowing” but mostly blowing up, or they are seen as Kenny G wannabes.
The saxophone was a sexy - and even saxy - instrument. It was cool, it was all about Jazz and Bebop and creativity and the greats.
Today, with the emphasis on beats and auto-tuners and television talent shows, the saxophone - and most saxophonists - have become bit players.
An Australian who has paid his dues by gigging all around the world, he went to New York in the Nineties to hone his craft. And he chose some of the best in the world to make this happen: Wynton Marsalis and former Miles Davis alumni, George Coleman.
In New York, he also played for one of the greatest Jazz vocalists of our time in Miss Dakota Staton at Harlem’s famous Lennox Lounge.
Back in Australia, he became a member of James Morrison’s touring band for almost ten years, Morrison being the country’s foremost Jazz trumpeter and musical icon.
In Greater China, Blaine has toured and recorded with just about every big name in the world of Canto and Mando-Pop- Jackie Cheung, Justin Lo, George Lam, Leo Ku and so many more.
Now Blaine is set to release, “Twilight” his first release for Gold Typhoon, the largest independent record label in Greater China and also one of China’s biggest entertainment companies involved in concert promotions and artist management.
With Jazz making a huge comeback in China - especially, Shanghai and where new Jazz clubs open every day and there is the annual Shanghai Jazz Festival - “Twilight” features Blaine’s original Jazz-funk-type of recording on alto sax and Blaine’s unique take on songs well-known to Chinese audiences and with strong melody lines.
“China is an exciting market for ‘live’ music these days,” he says. “There are new clubs opening up nearly every day. Chinese music fans have quickly embraced Jazz. There is actually a Jazz movement there and I hope that my music and I can be part of this and try and push the creative envelope along- both in the music and also creating unique showcases for the ‘live’ gigs.”
For more info, visit: www.blainewhittaker.com