Some years ago I suggested to BBC radio that they adapt The Bass Saxophone, which they duly did with my music. Art Themen, best known as a tenor sax player, played the bass sax for the occasion. He owned a bass saxphone, which helped, but I asked him for this gig because–as I had seen in other collaborations with him–he had the rare ability to “act with his instrument.” This he did and the adaptation won a Sony Radio award.
The first time I heard Art play the instrument it shook the floor–and the people standing outside a nearby pub. I suggested that what I’d heard would do for the part where the boy in The Bass Saxophone was playing the instrument for the first time, but that for the final sequence–where he rides over the oom-pah band “like a dancing male gorilla”–he would need to practice. Which he did, and the end result was amazing. Art can be heard on bass saxophone in similar vein in my 1994 CD Charles River Fragments (Jazzprint).
Charles River Fragments is also available as a digital download.