Recently, on a music discussion group, we started discussing the similarities of Roxy Music’s Avalon and Steely Dan’s Gaucho. Both were made in the early 80’s and both albums have an extremely smooth sound characterized by lots of saxophone. And both albums are great for driving along the coast and pretending you are a yuppie, talking on a huge cellphone and driving a BMW. Love it or hate it, saxophones are the sound of the 80’s. Why is that? Is the sax some bygone urban yuppie dream of cool? Or was there something more to it?
Maybe it is because the slow laziness of the sax is the ultimate antithesis of the pastiched high-speed computer-generated beat culture of today. To me the slowness of the sax represents the ultimate luxury. I once read a quote about “true luxury” being “an abundance of both time and space.”
I don’t think that even very many rich people have an abundance of time these days, or space. But those are things you can create for yourself. The sound of the saxophone seems to create extra time where there is none. I guess that is what they call relaxing.
Anyway I love the sax for it’s nostalgic feel. It’s the ultimate nostalgia. In the 80s the sax was evoking the 40s. Now it is just evocative of a time no longer present.