Baker's Dozen

Artists discuss the 13 records that shaped their lives

3. John ColtraneA Love Supreme

This Coltrane album was the first jazz album I ever bought, and I hate to admit this, but I bought it for the cover because I thought it was such a sick picture of him. I thought it had to be good because he looked so militant on it, with his suit and dour expression. At the time, I didn’t know shit about jazz. I had read about how Coltrane was meant to be the one to go to, but I actually got into saxophone through luddite sax players like those in Psychedelic Furs or Theatre Of Hate. I didn’t gravitate towards jazz first, I gravitated towards sax first through these post punk bands, which in hindsight is sort of tasteless!

How old were you when you started playing saxophone? And why did you end up picking it up?

I was probably 15, and it was probably because of those bands I just mentioned. My father was a clarinet player and my grandfather was a saxophone player. The point at which I knew I was connected to music was when I was four or five and my parents went to Ireland. It was the only time I ever met my grandfather. He used to be a saxophone player in a jazz band in Ireland, but he had an industrial accident and lost his arm, which meant he couldn’t play the sax. I vividly remember that me and maybe three of my cousins were in the lounge of his house and he suddenly opened this box with this golden gleaming instrument in it – his saxophone. He said to us that whoever could get a note from it could have it, and I was the only one that got a note. But then he laughed and said he was just joking. I was heartbroken, crying my eyes out. I really trace my connection to sax and to music back to that room.

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