I’m still on the Prince train, and I don’t see any sign of it slowing down any time soon! This time it’s the live NPG version of the incredible ballad “Nothing Compares 2 U”.
The liner notes don’t actually say, but I’m reasonably certain that the sax soloist is Brian Gallagher again. I read somewhere that it was Kathy Jenson (from the Hornheads), but I’m pretty sure that’s not true. I’m only familiar with her as an Alto/Bari player, and not tenor.
I really wish I could do this one justice. It’s a monster of a solo! The 5th bar is what really killed me, so I mercifully cut out the worst of the audio from my track and ducked the rest. But I got back on track the next bar. I can (barely) hit that high F#, but I can’t get up and down from it nearly as gracefully as Brian can. It’s amazing how fluidly he does it.
Interestingly enough, Candy Dulfer hits the exact same concert E her solo. It just fits. It’s high on Alto, but much easier to play than on Tenor (for me).
This is another solo that’s virtually impossible to read – you have to listen carefully and slow it down to really internalize the rhythms. The lines that he creates are so ornamented and intricate that there’s no other way.
- Artist: Brian Gallagher
- Album: Prince – (1992)
- Track: Sexy MF (Explicit Lyrics)
- Instrument: Tenor Sax
I can’t believe that we lost Prince this week. I’m still in shock over it. So I process the loss of this artist like I always do: by immersing myself in their music. I could write for pages about what his music meant to me, but I’ll save that for another time.
I wanted to find a suitable sax solo from his catalog for the blog. Prince worked with many great horn players over the years (Maceo, Candy Dulfer, the Hornheads), but he doesn’t often feature saxophone solos on his studio recordings.
I was familiar with the tenor solo on Sexy MF, but I had always assumed that it was Kenni Holman (from the Hornheads) playing it. But when I did my research, I found out that it was Brian Gallagher, who also passed away very recently at far too young of an age.
The track (and solo) are very funky, with a hard driving rhythm. When Doctorfunk was in the studio working on our album “Second Opinion“, we were having a hard time getting the track for my song “Better Get Hip” to come together. Jeff Tamalier, our producer, told the guys to think of the groove from Sexy MF. They didn’t even have to listen to it. Everyone knew exactly the type of feel and energy this track captured. I’m sure that you can hear the influence if you listen back to the track. I hope we did it justice!
Because Prince was so protective of his copyright (and because the lyrics are so explicit), I kept the volume on the original track very low, just loud enough to hear the solo in context. There is a radio-friendly edit of the track, but it doesn’t include the sax solo. I also age-restricted the video on YouTube just to be safe.