OVERRIDE

The Devil's Horn

The Story of the Saxophone, from Noisy Novelty to King of Cool

Michael Segell

Picador

In The Devil's Horn, Michael Segell traces the 160-year history of the saxophone—a horn that created a sound never before heard in nature, and that from the moment it debuted has aroused both positive and negative passions among all who hear it. The saxophone has insinuated itself into virtually every musical idiom that has come along since its birth as well as into music with traditions thousands of years old. But it has also been controversial, viewed as a symbol of decadence, immorality and lasciviousness: it was banned in Japan, saxophonists have been sent to Siberian lockdown by Communist officials, and a pope even indicted it.

Segell outlines the saxophone's fascinating history while he highlights many of its legendary players, including Benny Carter, Illinois Jacquet, Sonny Rollins, Lee Konitz, Phil Woods, Branford Marsalis, and Michael Brecker. The Devil's Horn explores the saxophone's intersections with social movement and change, the innovative acoustical science behind the instrument, its struggles in the world of "legit" music, and the mystical properties that seduce all who fall under its influence.

REVIEWS

Praise for The Devil's Horn

"Would someone please forward Segell the memo that states that books about jazz are supposed to be academic and soporific? . . . [A] freewheeling tribute . . . [with] exuberance that is everywhere to be found."--The New York Times Book Review
 
"[A] historical and deeply personal tribute to the saxophone . . . [The Devil's Horn] will reward and surprise readers who may have thought they knew something about the horn simply because they've spent a lifetime listening."--Baltimore Sun
 
"Segell has produced a minor miracle: a book on jazz that does not rely on largely unrevealing anecdotal tidbits, hip talk, one-upmanship . . . and dazzling (but superfluous) adjectives. . . . It is humorous, enlightening, instructive, and revealing to a degree that it may forever change your attitude toward the sax."--The Roanoke Times
 
"An excellent short course on the saxophone in jazz . . . [A] beguiling story."--Chicago Sun-Times
 
"[Segell is] adept at spreading the contagion of his own curiosities."--The News & Observer

Reviews from Goodreads

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • Michael Segell

  • Michael Segell is an amateur percussionist and saxophone player and a professional music lover. He is the author of Standup Guy, and his writing has appeared in numerous publications, including The New York Times, Rolling Stone, Sports Illustrated, and Esquire, where he wrote the popular column "The Male Mind." He has received two National Magazine Award nominations for his work. He lives with his wife and children in New York City and Long Eddy, New York.
  • Michael Segell Nancy Crampton
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Available Formats and Book Details

The Devil's Horn

The Story of the Saxophone, from Noisy Novelty to King of Cool

Michael Segell

  • Trade Paperback

BOOKS FOR COURSES AVAILABLE

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FROM THE PUBLISHER

Picador

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