British saxophonist Art Themen has always been a huge inspiration to me. He is one of those players whose improvisations can go in unexpected, audacious harmonic directions that take your breath away, and who brilliantly uses the full spectrum of the saxophone’s timbre – from its harsh rawness to its tender soulfulness.
I somehow managed to miss this interview from 2010 in which he speaks to Henry Scott-Irvine about some of his musical influences. Unfortunately he doesn’t get a chance to talk about his great collaborations with Stan Tracey, but he does get to briefly discuss Sonny Rollins, Dexter Gordon, Zoot Simms, and John Coltrane.
The highlight, though, is at the end when he plays a short unaccompanied version of Hoagy Carmichael’s Skylark live in the studio. Magic!