Music is a spiritual reflection capturing the melody of the heart, mind, and spirit of B. Courtland Saxon. Described as a musical prodigy, Saxon is well-schooled in the jazz masters and has diverse influences ranging from Eddie Harris, John Coltrane, Sonny Rollins, and Miles Davis to Billie Holiday, Nancy Wilson, Ella Fitzgerald, MOTOWN, and Drake.
His love for all instruments, especially the saxophone, began when his band teacher in middle school asked the students to select their instruments. B. Courtland was drawn to the trumpet but didn’t connect. But once he blew into the tenor saxophone, he was smitten. As a seventh grader, Saxon’s original composition, Saxophrenic won first place for the Parent Teacher Association’s Region Award. Prophetically, the two were destined to make music and be forever joined by his legal surname. His hashtag, #SaxontheSax is also Sax-on-the-Sax.
A graduate of Jackson State University, Saxon’s formal training includes studies at the prestigious Indiana University graduate program at Jacobs School of Music and Berklee School of Music. At JSU, Saxon became a Dean’s List Scholar, a member of the National Alpha Lambda Delta Honor Society, a member of the International Association of Music Education, and a member of the JSU’s Jazz Band and Jazz Vocal ensemble.
The Augusta, Georgia, native values his informal education as well: The education he received by listening to, studying, and absorbing the works of the jazz greats. Innovative, technically gifted, and soulful, Saxon’s deep-rooted grasp of the essence of jazz legends is reflected in his versatility with different genres. In 2018, B. Courtland released his debut solo project, Trend$, a musical journey that reflects varied decades, genres, and sounds. “Through my interpretation, each piece is composed for the listeners’ enjoyment. I am persuaded that this project will continue to take jazz in a contemporary mode.” Its featured single, Bubble Gum, debuted at #7 on the Indie DRT Billboard charts and #22 on the National 200 DRT.
Jazz extraordinaire trombonist, and native Augustan Wycliffe Gordon makes a special appearance duetting with Saxon on the title track. Former backing for Madonna, Niki Haris shares her vocal prowess on Outstanding. One of Saxon’s original compositions, Cleopatra’s Needle is included on JSU’s 2010 Jazz Lives Cd project and was the winning composition at the Annual North Texas Collegiate Jazz Festival, in which Saxon was named Outstanding Composer, Arranger, and Soloist.
In addition to creating and performing his own music, Saxon captivates audiences throughout the nation and the world as a “stand-out” musician for Carnival Cruiselines. His travels include: the Bahamas, Barcelona, Spain, Belize, Bermuda, Croatia, Greece, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Honduras, Malaga, Spain, Malta, Italy, Monaco, Portugal, Romania, Rome, San Juan, Puerto Rico, Turks and Caicos, and the Virgin Islands. Moreover, as an event musician – saxophonist and flautist – for Blue Sky Atlanta Music and Entertainment, he instinctively creates a convivial ambiance for all varieties of events and participation. Saxon has appeared in the 2018 Carnival Horizon: The Musical and on ABC’s Ocean Treks with wildlife conservationist Jeff Corwin: Spanish Seaside Adventure in Barcelona.
Saxon is continually in demand as an all-around musician and performer for tours, performances, and showcases. Saxon served as saxophonist, composer, and horns arranger for the Funk You Band “Apparitions” Tour; guest saxophonist at the Sumter, South Carolina, Opera House with Nashville’s singer-songwriter, Patrick Davis and the Midnight Choir; and saxophonist, flautist, and horns arranger for the Tony Howard Traveling Motown Show. As an alumnus, Saxon enjoyed annual travels to New York and Toronto with the AAJC/HBCU (African-American Jazz Caucus/Historically Black Colleges and Universities) Student All-Star Big Band, travels to Japan with the Gospel Voices of Jackson and, during the historical inauguration of President Barak Obama, he performed with the JSU Orchestra at the Library of Congress.
Not surprisingly, Saxon has received his share of recognition for his talents and efforts: Second place for the Sound Check Online Radio Jingle Competition Theme for Radio Show, New York; Outstanding Jazz soloist at the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame Collegiate Jazz Festival; Outstanding Jazz soloist for the Alcorn State Collegiate University Jazz Festival; and scholarship recipient to participate in the Centrum Jazz Festival, Port Townsend, Washington.
John Coltrane once noted, “With music, there is never an end. There are always new sounds to imagine, new feelings to get at. And always the need to keep purifying these feelings and sounds so that we can really see what we’ve discovered in its purest state.” This ideology captures Saxon’s musical approach as well. As Saxon states, “I try to make it happen, bringing everything together, the theory and technique, to create a body of art that stands the test of time.”
And he does. And it will.