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Artist’s Choice: Lauren Sevian’s Favorite Baritone Sax Solos

The performer urges listeners to give an overlooked instrument some attention

Lauren Sevian
Lauren Sevian (photo:

I was playing alto saxophone when I was growing up and was not really connected to it. I didn’t want to switch to tenor, so my teacher suggested the bari. I said, “What are you, crazy? I don’t want to carry that thing around!” But the first time I tried it, three notes in I was connected. The first player he hipped me to was Pepper Adams, who became my biggest influence in terms of sound and approach. Then came Cecil Payne and Gerry Mulligan. As far as what makes an effective solo, something has to come to my mind when I’m listening to it, like I can almost feel what the story was that they were trying to tell. The baritone saxophone is often overlooked, but if you want something new to transcribe, why not do a bari solo?

Listen to a Spotify playlist featuring most of the selections in this Artist’s Choice:

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Lauren Sevian

Lauren Sevian can be seen performing as a bandleader around the New York area with the LSQ (Lauren Sevian Quartet) and LSAT (Lauren Sevian Alexa Tarantino). As a side musician, she plays regularly with the Mingus Big Band and other groups, notably the Dizzy Gillespie All-Star Big Band, Christian McBride’s Big Band, Robin Eubanks Big Band, and the Count Basie Orchestra. Sevian’s latest album, Bliss, was released on Posi-Tone in 2018.