Alto saxophonist, bandleader, record producer, source of energy Gilad Atzmon is off for the first time ever to China tomorrow, and I caught him just before he flies off. He was talking to me this morning about his dream of playing his Cadogan Hall with-strings date on November 6th on a Grafton alto saxophone. "I'm so looking forward to this date. Cadogan Hall, it's my Carnegie Hall."
Grafton saxes are made of acrylic. They were produced in London between 1950 and 1968. Atzmon has been trying one. Charlie Parker played one. John Dankworth played one. Ornette Coleman played one... Atzmon definitely wants one.....
"It's a speedy and responsive instrument, it looks and feels and sounds like milk. It's innovative, beautiful, and completely dysfunctional, just like Britain" says Atzmon, who can be relied on for a provocative quote. Every time.
Adrian Woods of sax.co.uk in Denmark Street has one which isn't for sale. " We keep it in the window for display, and people can try it. We're in the business of selling new saxes. We have 160 in Denmark Street and 450 in Crowborough." Grafton altos are the repairers' nightmare, according to Adrian Woods. "They crack very easily , especially the key guards, and they have coiled springs. "
If a reader has a Grafton sax in an attic, or a store has one for sale, please let me know. And watch out for the Cadogan Hall competition. There are other UK dates for this project, listed on Gilad Atzmon's site.